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Supporting open space

Dear Editor:Back in 1990, we voted to tax ourselves by creating the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails program. The intent was to preserve and protect vital open areas, protect trailheads and build vital trail links between and from our communities.To that end, more than 14,000 acres of ranchland, wildlife habitat and scenic open spaces have been protected, and hundreds of miles of trails improved and protected for future generations. Places like Smuggler Mountain, the Moore Open Space, Hunter Creek properties, the Rio Grande Trail, the Harvey Ranch and the Windstar Conservancy come to mind, just to name a very few. Today we may take these special places for granted, but all these purchases took a great deal of time, money and perseverance.The job, however, is not done; indeed, we cannot rest on our laurels. I wish that the development pressures that have striped other communities of their open spaces would stop at our county line … but that will not happen.We need to keep the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails program well funded and the volunteer trustees active. The great feature of this program is that as property values increase, the buying power of the program grows at the same rate. If we feel as a community that a property is better protected in the public domain, we can buy it. In addition, we need to maintain the nordic trails throughout the valley, and to authorize the Open Space and Trails Board to purchase mineral and water rights when those rights are critical.Please vote yes for Referendum 1B, if you feel as I do.Craig WardAspen


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