Monday letters: Support the trail, end of oil, wildlife overpasses, read that book

Support Redstone trail

I am very proud of the work that our public land managers — the White River National Forest, and Pitkin County Open Space and Trails — have done to bring this long-desired and much-needed trail and safety project to fruition.

The West Elk Loop Scenic and Historic Byway, a.k.a Highway 133, unites communities, brushes four diverse wilderness areas and is a testament to the natural beauty of Colorado. It is also an unmitigated speedway, often with barely a shoulder alongside. This effectively relegates all but the most daring of cyclists or pedestrians to view this treasure from inside a car at 55+ mph, cut off from the details of nature.

Members of local communities near Redstone to McClure Pass Trail project currently use the old Forest Service routes in the area year-round for hiking and off-leash dog walking. These unmanaged trails likely have a larger impact on habitat than the current proposal which includes pairing an upgraded trail with winter seasonal closures. Pitkin County Open Space and Trails will manage this new amenity, and they have a strong track record in this area as they have both the resources and authority to enforce such closures.

The net effect of this trail project is the improved management of wildlife habitat during the critical winter seasons, and vastly improved safety for those wanting to experience the glory of our public lands.

Please take action by submitting your comments in support by Feb. 22. Search for “Redstone to McClure Pass Trail #56913” in your browser to find the Forest Service’s comment form and more details about the proposed trail.

Maureen Gaffney


End of oil era

It’s the end of an era for me. It is time to look at solutions and change. I will never buy another gas vehicle and it feels great. No poisonous exhaust causing cancer and asthma in my neighborhood from me.

The Deepwater Horizon oil platform disaster in 2010 was the largest oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The human release of aerial chemical agents to breakup the oil floating on the surface had problems. Out of sight isn’t out of mind, it still existed. Thirty percent of the oil on the surface broke up into little droplets suspended under the surface.

Plankton, the foundation of our marine web of life that supports us, didn’t like these little toxic poisonous droplets. They released a sticky slim coating those little oil droplets and the droplets sank coating the bottom creating a whole different set of environmental problems. Biologists called it a “dirty blizzard.” The corals and the fish dependent on them were devastated.

Birds, shorelines and the human economies dependent on them were also decimated by the surface pollution.

Tom Mooney


Build wildlife overpasses

Your Jan. 28 article says there is no easy solution for keeping animals off the roads. With winter taking its toll and this crazy idea of 6-foot high fences running along our highways supposed to keep the critters off the roads, it’s no wonder.

Maybe I imagined it, but I heard Colorado had funds to build wildlife overpasses. I do know they are excavating a lot of rocks and dirt out of the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon. The timing couldn’t be more perfect, there’s even a loader backhoe working in the area near (mile posts 80 or 81) that could start work on the project. In fact that would be a good spot for an overpass.

I have plied the river in a kayak in that area and there are herds that stay around. In fact Fish and Game knows where the greater risks are, and cameras prove that the animals soon learn where the passes are and use them. In case your readers are unfamiliar with the concept, there are many wildlife overpasses in Canada, Nevada and Montana. In fact, there are over 1,000 wildlife crossings in the U.S.

With hunting and other aspects of our wildlife being a huge source of revenue for locals, let’s get with the program. Fish and Game are taking comments until the end of February. Let’s inundate them with letters and save some lives here; could be your own.

Tricia Cleis


Let’s all read it

I’m writing in response to Marl Hillman’s 2/16 column, “History Back’s Lincoln’s role as… “

I haven’t read “The 1619 Project,” though I think we all agree it’s currently having a major impact on American thinking.

I have, however, read a lot about Abraham Lincoln and based on that, I suspect Mr. Hillman is cherry-picking facts to suit his version of reality; a version that is very different from mine and from that of most minority Americans.

But, not having read the book, I can’t really do much more than “suspect.” So, I’ve ordered it and I am going to read it. Whatever your beliefs, I recommend you read it, too, before agreeing or disagreeing with Mr. Hillman.

It would be great for Garfield Libraries to make this book a county-wide read and host some public “book-club” forums that include divergent points of view and media coverage.

Ron Kokish


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