Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
After reading the scare mongering recently about the Hidden Gems Wilderness proposal, I should be terrified I am about to lose my rights. According to one poster, the only activities allowed in wilderness are hunting, horseback riding and hiking. Since I don’t hunt or horseback ride, I’ll only be able to hike. It listed about 20 things I won’t be able to do: snowmobile, mountain bike, cut firewood, hang glide, etc.
I do a couple of those 20 things, particularly cut firewood and mountain bike, but I’m not overly concerned. In fact, with the exception of snowmobilers, nobody has to give up much of anything in order for us to protect critical habitat.
Why is that? The land under consideration, in order to be designated wilderness, has to be wilderness. That means no roads or development. When I’m getting firewood, I’m not hiking a half mile into the wilderness looking for a dead tree. I want it near the road.
As a mountain biker, it’s true that a couple of trails now open to bikes might restrict them – but hundreds or thousands of miles are left open. The same is true for snowmobilers – but the problem is that they don’t stick to trails. They can go anywhere they want over the top of the snow – which is a problem. Wilderness designation would restrict them to the thousands of miles of trails that are open to them, and the hundreds of thousands of acres that isn’t designated as wilderness. While they don’t like that, it would be nice to know that there is some place where wildlife and humans can go and still appreciate the land as it’s been for millions of years.
It’s scary to me that in the past 100 years – and mostly in the last 25 – we’ve scraped, paved and impacted so much land that there’s only a tiny fraction left that can even qualify as wilderness. Let’s not give that up to scare mongering about issues that don’t even exist.
This letter originally was addressed to the Garfield County commissioners.
I have a dream, that some day, our local county government will act more like the EPA. Currently, it seems as though our local county government has acted more like the CPPA (Corporate Profit Protection Agency).
The health and safety of the people of Garfield County depends on our elected officials’ ability and desire to serve and protect the public. This can and should be priority No. 1.
It is on this note that I ask all of our county commissioners to support and endorse DeGette’s Frac Act. Without this act your constituents will continue to be at risk without the protection of the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. There is no reason why oil and gas should have this exemption. Let’s all play by the same rules.
Mr. (Commissioner John) Martin, I have heard you say that not one politician on the Western Slope is supportive of this legislation. The facts that I am aware of, are as follows: The Frac Act has 27 co-sponsors all across the nation. Locally on the Western Slope, Durango City Council has endorsed it, Glenwood Springs City Council has endorsed it and New Castle City Council has endorsed it. Tresi Houpt is in favor of it. I am sure that other Western Slope politicians stand in favor of this as well (politicians that believe it is their duty to protect the health and safety of their constituents).
Nothing could please me more than all three of our county commissioners standing up united to be counted as protectors of our public health and safety. Please, support our health and safety.
James E. Golden
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