From the rice bowl to Montezuma Bowl: an independent trip |

From the rice bowl to Montezuma Bowl: an independent trip

Two years ago, I found myself hiking down a remote footpath in rural Yunnan province in Southwest China. With only limited Mandarin skills and a sketchy map, I had managed to get myself deep in the heart of the Huengdong Mountains.

The remote villages have neither roads nor electricity, and the tribal people do not accept American Express. Fortunately, they are friendly enough and they even know a little Mandarin. Rumor has it, if they like you, you will be treated to a nice meal. However, if they don’t like you, you might be the main course.

That’s how it seems to be with reporters. Friendly enough, might even speak the same lingo, however S

As a public official with the U.S. Forest Service in Summit County, I find myself being contacted by various reporters wanting information on land-management issues. It is part of my job to provide accurate and timely information. Recently, I have felt like the main course in a series of articles related to the possibility of skiing in Montezuma Bowl. Based on some of the quotes attributed to me, it seems that I would have been better off speaking Mandarin.

This letter to the editor is an attempt to clarify some points that I found to be very misleading in recent articles appearing in the Summit County Independent. The possibility of snowcat or lift-served skiing in Montezuma Bowl is at best, preliminary. A lot of discussion and study is required prior to development of a proposal for Montezuma Bowl. Any proposal then would go through a public participation process to help identify potential issues, concerns and opportunities.

As for linking A-Basin with Keystone, it may be possible but highly improbable. Management activities within the prescribed forested landscape linkage area (between A-Basin and Keystone) must be designed to be compatible with the movement, migration and dispersal of forest carnivores and other wide-ranging wildlife species. These areas were designed to provide security from intensive recreational and other human disturbances.

In spite of the inherent risks involved with hiking the Huengdong Mountains, the benefits were well worth it. In the same way, the benefit of open public discourse is worth the risk of candid discussions with the media.

Thank you for this opportunity to clarify a few points.

Michael Liu

acting district ranger

Dillon Ranger District

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