Tree-clearing for Pandora’s is not best for Aspen
It is obvious that the group behind Pandora’s is very well organized and pushing hard for this expansion. They have done a lot of work to get their views on Pandora’s out to the public.
I feel that they are twisting the truth just a bit, especially in promoting it as something to help climate change. I fail to see how taking down that many trees can help climate change, for one thing. We have lost an inordinate number of trees this year due to beetle kill. All one has to do is look up at the mountain anywhere, and that’s more than obvious. As trees are one of our best means of taking carbon out of the atmosphere, this loss is already a problem and cutting down more healthy ones just adds to the destruction.
Additionally, the area is one where elk migrate through. The construction will be disruptive as will the actual running of lifts and skiers. This area was zoned rural for a reason, and I feel strongly that once we start the slippery slope of changing zoning because a major developer wants it, we will lose the unusual open space that Aspen has preserved. If one goes to a place like Bozeman, Montana, one can see what happens when there is no zoning, or when zoning gets changed like this. Ten years ago the town was surrounded by rural area; now it’s been allowed to sprawl so that it’s virtually mushed into the next town. Zoning is put there for a reason, and Skico’s desire for bigger and bigger use of land is not a good enough reason to change it. How many parcels of “protected” land will then begin to fall to the same arguments?
Aspen has been overrun with tourists these past two years. I don’t know anyone who is happy about it. Most of the town is unrecognizable as a “real” town anymore. Adding more ski runs will bring in more tourists, more cars, more crowds. It’s hard to believe this is what is best for Aspen. Aspen-Snowmass has so much ski area. Do we really want to cut down trees and take away land that was supposed to remain untouched?
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Kudos to Laurine Lasselle for her well-written, well-researched article interpreting the data from the 2020 census (“2020 census data highlights relationship among resort communities, downvalley locales,” Aspen Journalism).