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Stop the land grab

Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to Sen. Mark Udall.

Dear Editor:

I live in Eagle County, work in Pitkin County and am an avid user of our backcountry (every week) all around the state, and I pay my permit fees religiously to be out there. You will be doing a grave disservice to all Coloradans by shutting down the reason that most of us live here!

This country has more than enough wilderness as is. If these proposed areas did not meet the criteria needed to become wilderness in our country’s history, then how can you justify it now? This all boils down to the people with deep pockets who hold the “not in my backyard” card.

When was the last time any of the people wanting these designations actually got far out there and used this land besides to see the proposal? How did you get 50 miles out to see the land? Walk? Doubtful.

We all came here and stay in this beautiful state for a reason: our mountains. If you continue to take away those reasons, why will anyone stay, and what will happen to the state if people leave and our tax dollars are taken elsewhere? When approving wilderness, take into account that this is forever, not just your life. This will impact your grandchildren’s grandchildren.

None of us wants to see big business and oil rigs in our backcountry (albeit we do need another source of local energy in this country), so use a more reasonable designation, more of a restricted use. Why cut out recreational groups that pay to be there?

The Forest Service does not have the manpower to manage the land it has now. How is it supposed to take care of this proposed wilderness without the manpower or funding? And if you do plan to add more rangers, is this really the correct way to spend our state’s much-needed tax dollars – by watching over areas where people won’t be able to access? Sure, the public can hike in, but who is going to hike in 75 miles plus?

How much money will you lose during hunting season when the hunters hunt in other states because they will no longer be able to retrieve and bring back their kill without a motorized vehicle? Not everyone has horses. How do you remove an injured hiker or camper deep within the backcountry without the help of vehicles or helicopters?

How do you justify allowing sheep and cattle to graze our back country and then try to tell us that a motorized vehicle does more damage? I am not an advocate to expel grazing, just confused by the logic when grazing basically is a form of vegetation clear-cutting. I am a multi-recreational user of these areas and can tell you first hand that the environment is not being damaged by motorized vehicles; the majority of the jeep roads stem from the days of mining; and the single tracks have been established and in place for decades.

Go out there and see for yourselves: People are not having a free-for-all cutting new trails and roads; the people in the woods respect what we have and want to keep it!

As far as the animals are concerned, I see wildlife every time I go out there. Guess what? The animals are still there. Telling people we are hurting the animals’ environment by sharing the woods is just plain silly. Herds of deer and elk, etc., stand by and watch vehicles go past. They don’t run away and they don’t scatter in fear; they share the land. Why can’t the humans?

If I am missing some hidden aspect or data please inform me as I have tried to educate myself on this topic and feel that this is setting the public up for failure.

To reiterate, we do not want more wilderness. Keep public lands public. Stop the land grab. It belongs to all of us.

Thank you for your time.

Adam Platt

Missouri Heights


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