Warnick: County should seize land to protect Ophir Mountain
April 26, 2014
County should seize land to protect Ophir Mountain
Regarding the upcoming Forest Service clear-cut near Ophir Mountain, the Summit Daily News reported (April 20) the Forest Service's Cary Green as saying, "The decision has been signed." Therein lies the solution — the county can help the Forest Service out of the contract.
The county commissioners, a group that includes a forestry expert, recently seized the 10-acre Hunter Mine parcel for "conservation values and recreational opportunities that needed to be protected for open space purposes." The landowner was not clear-cutting, unlike the planned Forest Service clear-cut to destroy biological diversity and wildlife habitat in a prominent visual and recreation corridor. With the Hunter Mine seizure, the county gained experience with special meetings and eminent domain court proceedings. With that experience the county can protect the land near Ophir Mountain as open space.
The Forest Service's plans are contrary to community values as reflected by repeated letters to the editor of this newspaper. Considering the county's recent Hunter Mine seizure, it would be outrageous if the county commissioners fail to act on the planned clear-cutting near Ophir Mountain.