I need to correct one statement I made to Post Independent news editor Dennis Webb regarding nonmotorized recreation on the White River National Forest. The Sloan’s Peak Non-Motorized Recreation area on the south side of the Fryingpan does, in fact, extend far enough east to include the Rocky Fork Trail that starts below the dam at the west end of Ruedi Reservoir. This is an important “quiet use” asset that is relatively low in elevation and doesn’t demand extreme athleticism in order to reach the beautiful hidden valley up behind Ford Peak.
Nor is my litany on the shortcomings of the revised forest plan meant to imply that the White River hasn’t made any progress toward a more balanced approach to recreation. It has. The Dinkle Lake area at the base of Mount Sopris is now closed to snowmobiles, giving cross-country skiers one good place in the lower valley to find peace and quiet in the backcountry.
However, Fourmile Park above Ski Sunlight and Basalt Mountain, which would make better and more accessible cross-country ski areas, are dominated by snowmobiles. Yes, I can ski there, but it’s like riding my mountain bike on a well-used back road instead of on a single track. The place and the experience just aren’t the same.
The Forest Service, under the leadership of Gifford Pinchot, was founded on the notion that “conservation” meant planned development to maximize long-term resource extraction. In the 1920s, the service decided that driving for pleasure fit that model and went on its first road-building binge.
Rangers such as Aldo Leopold, who saw equal or greater value and freedom in wilderness preservation and un-motorized recreation, grew frustrated with the agency’s single-minded approach and left the Forest Service to help found the Wilderness Society.
The industrializers had the upper hand then and still do today. And we are still working to redress the imbalance that they bequeathed to us. This isn’t a movement to exclude anyone from any place, but to help bring us all back to our senses – senses that can be developed only through proper exercise of mind and body in an environment that supports all living beings.
Thank you to everyone who helped make the 3rd Annual Grand River Gallop a success! Thanks to both area businesses and the community, it went very well, and we doubled the amount of money raised from last year’s event. We are thrilled to be able to help Suzanne Geren by hosting this fund-raiser on her behalf.
We hope that the community will support us again next year, and we look forward to benefiting another health cause in the community!
Director of public relations
Grand River Hospital District
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