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Make a stand on roadless areas

JULI BLASSSilverthorne

In a recent SDN article, it was reported that our Board of County Commissioners have recommended removing the roadless designation from the 632 acre parcel of land known as Ryan Gulch. This parcel includes the Salt Lick Trails.I am a homeowner in the Wildernest area and have been since 1988. A major concern I have of the BOCC’s recommendation is that Salt Lick has been labeled “critical elk habitat” by the Division of Wildlife. What will hapen to this “critical elk habitat”? Can assurances be made that, “The underlying forest management allocation” – in this case, elk habitat – “will govern the use of the area?” How do we know that “removal of the roadless designation” won’t “automatically mean roads will be built in the area”, as reported in the May 28 edition of the SDN. I am greatly distressed that if the roadless designation status is removed from Ryan Gulch this will promote and progress the effort(s)to build road(s) and possibly other development expansion on this very unique parcel of land.As to the concern/worry by the BOCC regarding the welfare of the people up in Wildernest, I have the following question: Why is there an unmanned fire station at the crossroads of Ryan Gulch and 20 Grand, especially during high-fire season? It seems to me that that is a very strategic location for a fire station, i.e., right up on the mountain! What would it take to get it up and running? Let’s use it! It was printed in the SDN that “Ryan Gulch is one of the few local areas where the Forest Service has completed the required studies for forest health work, and some mitigation work has already been done in the area.”My husband and I live in the Wildernest area and have since 1993. Over the years, we have enjoyed a multitude of outdoor activities year round, friends and family included, in the currently roadless area of Ryan Gulch: Mountain biking, hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, bird, beaver, fox, deer, moose and elk-watching. Wildernest is a place where friends and families from all over our state, country and the world come together to recreate, enjoy and appreciate nature, minus the noise from motorized vehicles.You are so right, Commissioner Long, we do need to make our best effort regarding this matter. I urge each and every one of us to write a letter to the Governor’s Roadless Task Force before June 21. The Caribbean (and other) coral reefs are disappearing at an alarming rate. Are we unwilling to protect our National Forests too? Please, let’s take a stand on an issue that is so important to us and to our children.There will be a meeting in Glenwood Springs on June 21 with the Govornor’s Roadless Task Force where people can express their concerns and desires for the future of roadless areas on the White River National Forest. Please submit your roadless comments to The Keystone Center, ATTN: Roadless Areas Review, 1628 Sts. John Road, Keystone, CO 80435, and also e-mail a copy to sandy@rof.net of C-RAD, or mail it to: C-RAD, P.O. Box 1257, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601.


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