Letters to the editor

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No to gravel pit
The Yampa Valley's vast expanses of open space and agricultural land and its wilderness backdrop have helped make the valley one of Colorado's most spectacular.
I have been photographing this neck of the woods for more than 30 years, from the Sarvis Creek Wilderness all the way up the Elk River Valley and into the Mount Zirkel Wilderness.
The Yampa River still is considered one of the most wild, natural flowing rivers in the state.
My favorite single river-meander in the state was recorded on film over four seasons in my 1982 book Colorado's Hidden Valleys. Unfortunately, it was flooded with the construction of the Stagecoach Dam. A major gravel operation would be further desecration of the beautiful Yampa by interrupting its natural flood channels, alluvial plain and irreplaceable wetlands.
Don't be fooled: Once the damage is done it will never regenerate and be natural again.
As a conservationist, and progenitor and original board member of the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund, I have valued the efforts that the residents of the Yampa Valley have made to preserve their agricultural lands. Routt County is the home of the Colorado Cattleman's Land Trust and the Yampa Valley Land Trust , two of the most successful in the country, and also has been a pioneer in preserving land through conservation easements and land preservation subdivisions.
The valley floor just south of Steamboat Springs is a network of preserved agricultural lands that define the history and heritage of the valley. To place an industrial zone in the middle of this area would spoil its surroundings, destroy the agricultural heritage, the visitors' vistas and the hard work of many generations of Routt County residents who wanted the valley floor to remain beautiful. It would be antithetical to the reason why visitors spend so much money in the valley.
For the reasons above, I ask the residents of Routt County through their elected board of county commissioners to reject the River Valley Resource application.
This is absolutely the worst possible place to locate the pit. It is imperative that you find another less impactful location.
John Fielder
Arapahoe County

Pits necessary
I recently received a flier regarding the Lafarge pit. This flier was oriented at stopping the pit from existing.
It would seem to me that if we are to continue building roads and houses, and providing gravel for roads in winter, we need to have gravel pits.
If we shut down Lafarge, do we only have one concrete company in town? I saw what that did for asphalt last summer. Asphalt prices pretty much doubled when one company had a monopoly in the area.
Keeping the Lafarge pit not only would stop that from happening in concrete but bring another asphalt company back into town.
The Lafarge pit has been on Colorado Highway 131 as long as I can remember. We need gravel pits in the Steamboat area. They may not be the most attractive sites, but I am sure all measures to screen the pit as much as possible are being taken into consideration.
I think that if the pit is not allowed it will cause a lot more problems for the Steamboat area than the visual impact it already has.
Pat Berka
Steamboat Springs
A worse eyesore
I am diametrically opposed to the construction of yet another Lafarge gravel pit along Colorado Highway 131.
There are at least two presently along the west side of that road. What Lafarge is requesting would be a worse eyesore to that area than the ugly dirt mounds that line MacArthur's "water ski park" along U.S. Highway 40. And, ironically, it will have the same effect on the wildlife that was forced to move to the present site on Highway 131 by the "water ski park," which devastated the original rookeries of the herons.
There are only a very few tall, old-growth cottonwood trees along that stretch of the Yampa River, the preferred nesting place for the great blue herons. If the "pit" is approved, it will destroy the rookeries, small as they are, and probably will end the habitation of this section of the Yampa River by those most beautiful and elegant birds.
Surely tourists would prefer to see these magnificent birds in their natural habitat than one more gravel pit and cement plant. Please, please take into consideration the more than 91 percent of the area's population who said no to another Lafarge pit in the
Pilot & Today's question of the week.
Camille A. John
Steamboat Springs

Pit objection
I strongly object to the approval of a gravel pit at the base of Rabbit Ears Pass.
I believe this would have serious detrimental consequences for the Yampa Valley and Steamboat Springs regarding visual impact on the tourists, safety for people driving on Colorado Highway 131, noise and dust for adjacent land owners, and displacement of wildlife.
Please consider the many objections that you will hear at the meeting April 22 and realize that your decision will affect this valley and town for many decades in the future. Thank you.
Billy Kidd
Steamboat Springs
Pit support
My family has lived here -- Pleasant Valley to be exact -- for five generations so when it comes to changes such as the south valley gravel pit I take it very seriously knowing my family will continue residing in Routt County for many more years to come.
I support the gravel pit 100 percent. In the future, I would much rather my children be looking at a pond or small lake rather than another subdivision.
It is very frustrating hearing people sound off against this gravel pit when they have no idea what they are talking about.
Kristi Kuntz Wille
Steamboat Springs
No, no, no
My reply to the gravel pit and concrete plant at the base of Rabbit Ears is emphatically no, no, no.
The logic for justifying this pit is the most idiotic thing I've heard lately. Hopefully this won't be like the new courthouse that we voted down and got shoved down our throats by a retiring judge.

Terry Noble
Steamboat Springs

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