Eagle County Commissioners to back some pieces of Hidden Gems proposal
The Eagle County Commissioners aren’t sending a letter to Congressman Jared Polis to endorse the Hidden Gems proposal, but the commissioners are expected to support portions of the proposal, while opposing others.
Commissioner Jon Stavney told the Vail Town Council that after hearing a lot of input from both supporters and opponents of the proposal, the commissioners decided the only way they could provide input to Polis would be to examine each specific site in the proposal.
The Hidden Gems proposal is seeking to get the U.S. Congress to designate 379,600 acres in Colorado as wilderness, with 198,600 of those acres in Eagle County. The commissioners asked the Vail Town Council for input on the areas proposed near Vail, Spraddle Creek and Lower Piney.
“We’re looking for input on where the proposal might infringe on people’s historic use [of those areas],” Stavney said.
Commissioner Sara Fisher said the Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign organizers originally asked the commissioners to write a letter of support to Polis, but after hearing the public speak out, the commissioners realized that wasn’t possible.
The letter they will write will just be to inform Polis on the input they’ve received locally, based on the analysis done on the various areas in the proposal.
“Because we didn’t feel we could write a letter of support as requested, but we could provide informational background for Polis,” Fisher said.
Vail Town Manager Stan Zemler said the Hidden Gems supporters have asked to present more information to the Town Council in early April, which is when the Town Council will likely talk about whether council members see Spraddle Creek and Lower Piney as valid places for wilderness designations.
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