Opposed to Wildernest-Frisco road | SummitDaily.com

Opposed to Wildernest-Frisco road

Kent and Yvonne HigginsWildernest

This is an open letter to the Summit County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), Frisco business leader proponents, and the Wildernest and Mesa Cortina Property Owners in regard to today’s public meeting and discussion of a “Wildernest-Frisco Road Connection.”As property owners in Wildernest we are firmly opposed to any road development between Wildernest and Frisco. Our position is based on the following: • Any connection road between Wildernest and Frisco would cross National Forest lands;• These National Forest lands, recommended for excluded from the U.S. National Forest Roadless Lands in Summit County, by the Summit County BOCC, while the majority of Summit County and State residents wanted the lands to continue to be included and thus protected;• National Forest Lands in Summit County are currently suffering the most significant lodgepole pine beetle kill with estimates of up to 60-70 percent of the lodgepole pine trees killed and more to be infected when the beetles fly again in July;• The dead and dying Lodge pole pines are providing a substantial fuel load of dry timber – ideal for a catastrophic up-slope forest fire into the Wildernest and Mesa Cortina areas;• A fuel reduction project is underway, but the National Forest lands surrounding Wildernest and Mesa Cortina will not start until the spring of 2008;• Traditionally, Wildernest and Mesa Cortina property owners have opposed such a road;• Funding for such a road does not exist; while, it is proposed if such a road would be built the funds could come from a local improvement district encompassing Wildernest and Mesa Cortina property owners – the people who oppose such a road;• If funds existed for such a connecting road, estimated at $5 million to $15 million, on the surface, it appears the greater beneficial use would be to reduce the fuel loads of forests threatening dwelling in Summit County due to potential forest fires;• If such a road is seen as beneficial by Frisco business leaders, one must ask “why are they not coming forward to propose funding such an endeavor?”; • If such a road existed, the additional traffic and the public in general would enhanced the probability of litter, noise and air quality pollution, wildlife disturbance, and potentially fires, in a forest with fuel loads exceeding what the Forest Service recommends; and• If such a catastrophic up-slope forest fire would occur into the Wildernest and Mesa Cortina areas, the property destruction and obvious reduction in property values would have an overall impact on the tax base for all of Summit County.In respect to a “WildernestFrisco Road Connection,” we ask the Summit County BOCC to consider the negative impact on Wildernest and Mesa Cortina residents, the lack of any funds for such a project, and the significant long term consequences including increased pollution, wildlife harassment and forest fires – which would reduce the Summit County property values, resulting in a reduced property tax base and a loss of sales tax revenues.

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