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Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

I was saddened by your report on the toll which habitat loss has taken on the Avalanche Creek elk herd. I hope the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails Board read your article, and realized how their proposed Potato Bill Open Space would decimate one of the elk herd’s last refuges.

Pitkin County’s proposed alternative to the land swap proposed by Leslie Wexner would create new access to land which currently provides great wildlife habitat because it is almost completely inaccessible to humans. You have described this area as being “on the north flank of Mt. Sopris,” giving the false impression that this is land which we currently cross to hike in the area. A better description would be “the gnarly cliffs behind the BRB.”

If we trade this BLM land to Wexner in exchange for the Sutey Ranch, it will be preserved for wildlife habitat, with a permanent conservation easement on it. Although careful planning will be necessary to ensure that elk and deer can still thrive on the Sutey land also, the wildlife will fare better with this land in public ownership than if it stays in private hands. Without the land swap, as many as 200 homes will be built on this lovely old ranch, and the wildlife will be doomed.



Although Pitkin County likes to think that this is their land and their decision to make, it is as much your land and my land as it is the County’s. It is up to Congress, and mainly Rep. John Salazar, to determine what is best for all of us, not just one County government. As owners of the land, your readers may express their opinion of the land exchange by calling Congressman Salazar’s Grand Junction office, at 970-245-7107.

Nancy Smith



Carbondale

Oh, the humanity! The American pika is in the global warming alarmist’s crosshairs. This time, the fishy doomsday junk science agenda is courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, part of the Department of Interior. Both are fat cat governmental red-tape bureaucracies who are shameless in gaining more of our taxpayer dollars to perpetuate global warming agenda-driven codswallop.

The research cited is a 2003 study. Research that is 7 years old is far from being valid in any “scientific” study. The agency’s own research lacks logical reason and conclusive evidence. The study indicates that while some pika populations are in the West are declining, other populations are not declining, and thus, the pika missed being placed on the Endangered Species list. The agency says that the pika’s widespread habitat is such that global warming does not threaten the long-term survival of the species. Yet it also “knows” that summertime temperatures in the pika’s habitat are expected to be 5.4 degrees warmer in the next century and too warm for its survival in the “foreseeable future.” This is pure speculation and lacks scientific merit.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Natural Resources website, a 2008 study places the pika at a “least concerned” threatened status. It references several studies, including outdated and biased global warming research, that provide other reasons for why some populations are surviving and others populations are declining. For example, the pika shares its habitat with free-range and feral cattle that overgraze on the pika’s vegetation food source. Competition for food causes a decline in the pika’s population.

The research and data presented cites nothing about the pika sharing its habitat with several predators and the mountain goat sharing the same vegetation food source as possible causes of decline in populations. A biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity blames the Obama administration for taking a “head in-the-sand” approach to the problem. A lawyer disagrees saying the pika has plenty of non-threatened habitat for survival. However, there is one point of agreement in the pika conundrum: They are sure cute little critters.

Chris Mecham

Glenwood Springs

Betty Scranton whips many words into a souffle of a letter that deflates as it comes out of the oven much like the tea party agenda itself. That this is a time of uncertainty is not in doubt. The tea party people have a vague message based on a distrust of government, mostly President Obama, upon whom we must “hang our hopes” because of the special interest, do-nothing Congress, Democrat and Republican alike. Betty’s ” thinking vs. reacting with blind negativism” is a dictate I would like to scream in Congress’ ear, especially to the party of no, (no corporation left behind) the Republicans.

Putting in office people like Senatorial candidate, Andrew Romanoff, who will take no corporate contributions, would be a step in the right direction.

Please Betty, stiffen your argument with examples of how you believe our President is not upholding the Constitution; and as a person of religion and good will, pray for the President to untangle this hideous mess. He’s a better bet than Congress, or your tea party.

Cook up something with substance.

Barb Coddington

Glenwood Springs

While the administration’s proposed budget may be controversial, a significant proposed funding increase to the 45-year-old Land and Water Conservation Fund shouldn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.

Best known for helping to protect national parks, LWCF also provides matching grants to help communities create and enhance parks, trails, playgrounds, and ball fields – critical funding at a time when state and local governments are trimming budgets. For example, Carbondale, Rifle and Garfield County have received a combined $415,000. Regionally, LWCF funds have been critical to enhancing and protecting special areas.

The President’s new budget asks that more than $2,500,000 be allocated for expansion of Canyon of the Ancients National Monument in southwest Colorado. In previous years, more than $9,300,000 has been allocated to the White River National Forest and the South Canyon Trail. $1,500,000 in LWCF funds went to the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area and another $440,000 to the Colorado National Monument, both near Grand Junction. In excess of $6,000,000 has helped preserve critical habitat in Gunnison County, assisted programs in the Black Canyon National Park and Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area.

The combination of LWCF and Colorado Lottery funding has directly helped complete a large number of recreational projects that otherwise would never have been completed. All of western Colorado benefits from these expenditures, which not only improve our quality of life but assist in attracting businesses and creating and retaining jobs in our outdoor, tourism and hospitality industries.

With leadership from the administration, our elected officials in Congress, and especially longtime Land and Water Conservation fund champion Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, we can ensure that this investment continues to produce economic and recreational benefits for our communities, and most importantly, for our children and grandchildren.

Bob Elderkin

Silt

Regarding Ross Talbott’s column of Feb. 8 and the unseen or unknown costs heaped upon us by government. I bought a used car in October of last year, I had no intention of using it right away but it was a good deal.

I went to register my vehicle last week and was floored by the “late fee” of $75, what was I late for! A vehicle sat in my backyard for 4 months, how does that affect the State of Colorado!!

What kind of garbage is this? I am honest and correct in filling out the title and paperwork and presenting it in good order and I am slapped with a “late fee”. If I ever buy a vehicle again you can be sure there will not be a date on the title or bill of sale until I am ready to register it.

What did I learn? Honesty doesn’t pay for me, but the State makes a killing! Add insult to injury, the Department of Motor Vehicles (the State) requires a 2.7% “fee” for using a credit card. When was the last time any of you paid a “fee” for using your credit card?

Most merchants accept that sometimes you don’t have a check or do not carry cash, the State knows this, after all what are we going to do, register our vehicles at their competitors store?

Gary Kirchberg

New Castle


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