What is the big picture of the riparian destruction in the Roaring Fork Valley? I have a problem with the cutting of large established trees along the riverbank – bird-watching is one of the pleasures in this valley. All winter, my husband and I report to each other in which trees along the river we’ve last seen the resident bald eagles resting or nesting. Some of those trees are large snags, or dead trees. If we cut out all the dead trees and other riparian, where will those large raptors go? Small changes to the ecosystem can have cascading results. Think about this – there are large subdivisions all over the valley where the prime riparian has been ripped up entirely to support exclusive subdivisions, malls and golf courses. If we are going to restrict individual homeowners from landscaping their own property, when will we legislate to control the total destruction of the valley? I don’t find golf courses, shopping centers and parking lots a positive addition to the environment. All that manicured green grass, asphalt and chemical warfare has replaced the oak brush, sagebrush, and the natural habitat. The irony is the new pavement is named Heron Circle, Eagle Court, Hawk Lane, yet we’ve destroyed the birds’ actual habitat. We are all looking for our own patch of paradise, and alter the environment to suit our needs. But is it necessary to turn our unique community into “anywhere USA,” that has been properly groomed to allow the masses easy access and big-box conformity? We homogenize the wonders of the wilderness into an amusement park to calm it down and make it safe so we can make a buck, instead of see a buck. Will we continue the destruction/construction until every inch of the valley is covered in concrete or asphalt, including the riverbed, then mourn the loss of beauty and wilderness that we all came here for? Robbi O’MearaGlenwood Springs
I did a double take when I read that Sen. Wayne Allard and his allies in the U.S. Senate want to “increase domestic energy production by removing barriers to oil shale leasing in the Western United States.” Allard claims that we need to lease hundreds of thousands of acres for commercial oil shale development right now. What’s the rush? The industry is not ready, and anticipates decades of research before oil shale might be commercially viable.Allard also called for expediting natural gas development on the Roan Plateau. He must not have taken a good look around the Western Slope lately. Ninety percent of the federally owned natural gas is already open to leasing, and is being developed at a feverish pitch. Even in the Roan Plateau Planning Area, half the land is either owned or leased by the industry.What are the barriers Allard perceives? Our streams are being sullied and poisoned, and deer and elk habitat is being bulldozed and fragmented. The “barriers” he speaks of are ones that protect Colorado’s valuable wildlife habitat, watersheds, fisheries and communities.Domestic energy production should not come at the cost of our hunting and fishing heritage, or threaten other uses of our public lands for future generations of Coloradans. Allard and his allies in the Senate seem to have no concern for our grandchildren’s children in his myopic push for energy production, disregarding any other values or uses of our land and water. None of the “solutions” Allard proposes will reduce prices anytime soon.Coloradans and sportsmen need to respond with a unified voice before folks in Washington lay waste to our lands and rivers. Domestic energy production must be balanced, ensuring the protection of the other treasures our public lands provide. There is nothing “harsh” or “extreme” about this “agenda.” If we don’t speak up now, Allard and his friends will see to it there will be little left to speak up for.Ken NeubeckerCarbondale
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