Letter to the editor: Save the Peaks Trail; stop the odious Ophir plan
The July 4 Summit Daily News Reporter Notebook included a small article saying work would begin on the Ophir Mountain “thinning” project between Frisco and Breckenridge. This highly controversial plan would clear-cut vast swaths of national forest along and around the iconic Peaks Trail.
Why try to slide such news in under the radar? How can using giant machinery to mow down all the trees be called “thinning?” Their stealth holiday news release strategy and misrepresentation warrants the name the Forest Disservice.
The ill-conceived Ophir Mountain Forest Health Plan was proposed and approved in 2011 before the beetles even hit here. The eight years since have reinforced its folly. What forest hasn’t been cut yet remains beautiful and getting more so with desirable young spruce and fir growing up underneath the few dead trees. If there isn’t a sunset clause requiring reevaluation of plans after so long a time, there certainly should be.
Hike up the Colorado Trail through the Gold Hill national sacrifice area. This sun-baked disaster zone of stumps, weeds and highly flammable grass used to offer cool, dark forest in summer and welcome shelter from winter winds. Turn left on the Peaks Trail and enjoy while you can this lovely forest and immensely popular trail. All could soon share the fate of Gold Hill.
Summit County: We have a new congressman and a new county commissioner. Ask them to demand a public review for the clearly unwise and outdated Ophir plan that benefits no one in Summit County. Tell them we don’t want our tax dollars spent to mow down forest miles from any development. The endangered forests will not grow back in the lifetimes of our children or grandchildren.
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