Hidden Gems Campaign advocates focus on each separate piece of their proposal, but when considered as a whole, it may have significant implications in terms of economics; negative impacts to many businesses, property owners, communities and recreationists; and it will permanently prevent most active management of resources or any possibility to adjust land use in the future that could become necessary due to changed conditions or public need.Advocates obviously believe deeply in Wilderness and the idea that the White River National Forest should be managed primarily as Wilderness and not for multiple uses as originally intended. They are quick to note that 2% of the public lands across the country are designated Wilderness. They fail to mention that 33% of the 2.3 million acre WRNF is already Wilderness or that their current proposal includes an additional 308,130 acres of Wilderness on the WRNF, plus 149,234 on other public lands. This will result in more than 46% of the WRNF being Wilderness. In the future they intend to propose another 206,355 acres of the Flattops. That would total 55% of the WRNF as being Wilderness and off limits to many of the multiple uses for which National Forest is intended. The WRNF recently inventoried its roadless areas, evaluated wilderness values of these areas, and recommended some for Wilderness designation in the 2002 Forest Plan. It was an arduous formal public process that was open to full disclosure of impacts, opportunity to comment and final appeal. The Gems proposal is not a formal process; it has no requirement for discloser of impacts and no assurances that comments will be considered or analyzed; or if there’s any opportunity to appeal.Ranchers, outfitters, property owners, communities, many recreationists and others will be impacted. There may be significant unintended impacts to resources and most management options will be prohibited. National Forest users and residents should be aware of this proposal and its implications. Become engaged, ask hard questions and make your opinions known.Mike KenealyGlenwood Springs
I am upset about the changes to the ski passes for Aspen Ski Company as many others are also. I have a hard time believing their prices are necessary to stay in business, especially when you compare them to their competitor Vail Assoc. Here is what you can get at Vail for the next season: A Epic Pass which gives you unlimited & unrestricted access all season to Vail, Beaver Crk., Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin for $599. Where Aspens Premier Pass is $1,499, why such a difference? At Vail a Summit Pass gives you unlimited access to Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin for $399. A Colorado Pass gives you unlimited access to Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin plus 10 times to Vail for $449. So how is it that Vail can offer these passes and Aspen can’t? I guess Aspen Ski Co. doesn’t appreciate it’s locals as much as Vail does. Go to snow.com and check it out for yourself. Maybe we need to send Aspen Ski Co. a message by skiing elsewhere.John Korrie Glenwood Springs
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