Walk in our shoes
September 11, 2009
We are long-time hikers and mountain bikers in the Roaring Fork Valley, and have hiked or rode nearly all the trails in the Hidden Gems Proposal. As avid hikers and mountain bike enthusiasts, we are adamantly opposed to the current Hidden Gems Proposal to add more Wilderness Designations to the National Forest.
The Wilderness Workshop (WW) and its supporters are presenting a proposal which guarantees they lose nothing in the Hidden Gems proposal process. The WW has asked people to look at higher values in the health of the ecosystem and wildlife rather than their own recreational pursuits regarding the loss of mountain bike trails, climbing areas, and other existing multi-use trails or areas. These comments are easy to make and justify when your “user group” isn’t losing recreational access privileges. If hikers and equestrians were to lose prime trails with this proposal, then their tune would be much different. The tone of “My recreational pursuits are OK, but yours are not” does not fit into the spirit of why we all choose to live and play in the Rocky Mountains.
If it’s really best for the ecosystem and wildlife to eliminate exposure and minimize disturbance in any wilderness areas, then we should talk about closing existing wilderness trails to hikers and equestrians to include American Lake, Cathedral Lake, Conundrum, Maroon, Capitol, Snowmass or any of the other hundreds of wilderness hiking trails that are currently off limits to other users. If the suggested closures were to be enacted, the WW and its supporters would be outraged at the loss of “their” trail use and their user designation. Maybe then they would see the real impact of their proposal on fellow users of our public lands, eliminating us from their chosen user system.
We have more in common than the WW leads people to believe. We support the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association’s goals to limit the loss of prime mountain biking trails and responsible utilization of the proposed areas as multi-use as they were originally intended.
G. D Derosier, Randy Dahl, Tom Schramer, Scott Miller, Mike Tache, Jim Pokrandt, Pete Anzalone, Bill Madsen, Joe Farrell, Andre Schwegler, Dave Garaffa, Dave Pietsch, Jaclynn Derosier, Blake Nelson, Art Burrows, Scott Hicks, Erik Hendrix, Louie Dawson III, Wade Livingston and Eric Falhaber