Citizen Telegram Letters to the Editor – Feb. 13, 2014
A difference between “won’t” and “can’t”
Lately, our board of county commissioners have made headlines regarding their stand on certain road issues that are at odds with individual property owners.
Residents that live or have business on Four Mile Road do not want it widened or improved to accommodate big rigs. Why would they? Who wants heavy equipment rumbling past their houses/businesses at all hours of the day? To paraphrase our commissioners, “We can’t stop the federal government from using any road they want,” and, “The improvements have nothing to do with revenues, we were going to do them anyway.”
Last month, representatives from Encana requested that several roads crossing their property be labeled “private” on county maps. They are not denying access or changing how the roads are used. They merely want them labeled “private” on county maps. Garfield County’s response: “On all our maps, they are labeled as county roads so Encana will have to prove differently.”
My situation is the opposite. The strip of land bordering my yard has been a dedicated road since 1964, accepted by the commissioners on three different plats as a road, and appears on county aerial maps as a road. But because there is a large sinkhole/erosion problem they may have to fix, the county attorney says it’s privately owned.
How come mine is private and Encana’s is public? The answer is simple: It sounds more empathetic to say it is “privately owned” so they CAN’T help me rather than they WON’T help me. Just like it sounds better to tell Four Mile Road residents they CAN’T stop the government instead of WON’T. So to save my rapidly disappearing yard, I have to go to court to prove it’s a road?
The bottom line seems to be they WON’T help instead of they CAN’T help.
A sportsman’s take on Thompson Divide
Since retiring about 15 years ago and moving to the Redstone area, I have spent a lot of time, in all four seasons, in the Thompson Divide area. I have hiked, hunted, birded and fished much of the eastern and central portions of the divide. It is truly a unique treasure, unlike any of the many places I have recreated on Colorado’s Western Slope.
First, it has tremendous diversity, in elevation, in habitat and accessibility. These allow a wide range of activities: Hiking of all sorts, partial-day grouse hunting and big-game scouting, day-hunting deer and elk and multi-day pack-in hunting.
The other major draw for many of us is its relative tranquility. Little of the area is accessible by motorized vehicle, and much of the area is far from heavily used roads. As a result, most of the area remains relatively quiet and peaceful.
More days than not, I can hike or hunt all day without seeing or hearing another person. This is not common on most public lands today, even in areas classified as wilderness. Indeed, the relatively small human footprint is one of the primary reasons, along with the diversity in habitat, that make it such a good home for elk, deer, bear and moose throughout much of the year.
To preserve sporting and other recreational opportunities that many of us rely on and enjoy, we need to take a balanced approach that recognizes some areas just aren’t appropriate for development. The Thompson Divide area is certainly one of those areas. It should be protected for the enjoyment of future generations as well as for the wildlife that live there.
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