Letter: Retain funding for Open Space and Trails | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Retain funding for Open Space and Trails

Dear Open Space and Trails board and staff,

Wilderness Workshop fully supports reauthorization of Pitkin County’s Open Space and Trails Program, gives permission to Open Space and Trails to list Wilderness Workshop as an endorser, and will encourage our members and the public to vote yes on Referendum 1A to extend the program for another 20 years.

The Open Space and Trails Program has played a critical role in the larger efforts to preserve land, protect important wildlife habitat and provide trails and access to the outdoors for the public in Pitkin County.

Of particular importance to the Wilderness Workshop and our members are the program’s efforts to preserve wildlife habitat in the valley. Much of the critically important valley-bottom and low-elevation habitat in the Roaring Fork watershed has already been developed. Consequently, Pitkin County Open Space acquisitions and management has a crucial role in preserving the remaining habitat unimpaired. While we are supportive of the dual mission of the program to preserve both open space and provide trails, declining wildlife populations and an already-extensive trail network in the valley speak to the need for the program to emphasize habitat preservation in both acquisition of new properties and management of existing properties.

To that end, we applaud Open Space and Trails for adopting a policy on the “Protection of Natural Biodiversity and Management of Human Use.” We look forward to the implementation of this policy and stand ready to work with Open Space and Trails on ensuring it is enacted across all current and future properties.

Sloan Shoemaker

Executive director, Wilderness Workshop

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