"No good deed goes unpunished."
That saying is certainly being proven correct in the proposed Emerald Mountain land exchange. All that the people at Emerald Mountain Partnership are trying to do is make it easier and less expensive for the federal government to administer lands in Routt County, open up a 6,300-acre parcel of land to public use and send millions of dollars of private money to public schools.
And yet Rebecca Rolando would have you believe that partnership members are evil people doing evil things.
To answer just a few of the misguided comments in her recent letter:
Yes, the Sleeping Giant BLM parcel has been excluded from the exchange. It has scenic, historic and cultural value to the people of Routt County, to the early pioneers and the Native Americans who named it and we agree that it should be protected. It is true that the Monger family does own land adjacent to the parcel, but the decision to exclude it and keep it in the public domain was made by the BLM.
Where will people hunt in Routt County? How about on the 78,000 acres of BLM land that are unaffected by the land swap? Or the more than 500,000 acres of National Forest land?
Where will your children and grandchildren go for recreation? How about on the 670,000 acres of public lands that exist in Routt County or the 1.125 million acres of Routt National Forest lands?
And one final question for Rebecca: Why hasn't she told the public that she is adjacent to one of the parcels that's involved in the trade? A parcel that has no public access, but is only accessible by her and adjacent land owners? Could it be that this is more about her continued private use of "public" lands than it is about the public's benefit?
I think the public deserves an answer.
Carol W. O'Hare
A helping hand
This past weekend my wife and I participated in a great craft show "Art in the Park." Unfortunately, it ended very abruptly when horrific winds picked up our tent, display and art and cast them aside.
We would like to thank the residents of Steamboat Springs for their help in every respect after the dust settled. Many people gathered and collected our art, which was scattered wide. A couple of young girls went around the area collecting all the hardware that we use to set up the display. People came from nowhere when it began to sprinkle and retrieved the tent sides from under the pile of debris to cover the art.
While still stunned by the events that had happened, not knowing where to start and not accepting any help, there was one person who would not take no for an answer when I declined his help. Steamboat Pilot & Today photographer Tyler Arroyo realized that I needed to concentrate on the broken art and he took over disassembling the tangle of grid work, tent, shelves and sides. I would still be untangling the mess if I did not have his help.
We would love to come again to "Art in the Park" if invited.
Guy and Barbara Beals
Blossoms of the Rockies Inc.
Benefits for all
In response to Ms. Rolando's letter in Wednesday's Steamboat Today, I wish to make several points.
The preservation of Emerald Mountain is important to all of Routt County. If it isn't put into BLM ownership through the proposed land exchange facilitated by the Western Land Group, it will be sold to the highest bidder and probably developed.
While I am sympathetic to the loss of publicly accessed BLM land in West and South Routt, those parcels being used in the exchange were slated by the BLM for disposal in 1989. The future ownership of those parcels was unknown.
The Emerald Mountain Partnership is hopeful that its proposed management plan for Emerald Mountain will be adopted by the BLM.
It will ensure the protection of wildlife, the continuation of agricultural uses and opportunities for public recreation.
The benefits of the exchange are for our current and future residents.
Martha Drake Young
Silence not golden
Although I live on the East Coast, Hayden will always be home for me. I spent an evening revisiting the fields where I first experienced nature. I paused before heading out, as the first nature lesson I learned was being swarmed at twilight. I pressed ahead and soon discovered that there wasn't a single mosquito to be found.
My pleasure from a walk not spoiled soon changed to an uneasy stroll in a too quiet night. There was no life among the grass, the cattail slues were silent, no frogs could be heard.
In my youth, the same slue was the nosiest place at twilight, with hundreds of red-winged blackbirds settling in for the night. Other than lush green fields and pretty lawns, Hayden is a biological desert.
The inconvenience of living around biting insects is heightened by the fear of West Nile virus and other possible diseases. But to make the best choices possible concerning a pest control program, all factors should be considered, all tradeoffs weighed.
Is the absence of mosquitoes worth the sterilization of your neighborhood? The aerial spraying going on is an indiscriminate poison, killing all insects, good and bad. Without this critical block of life, the living system has collapsed.
I pay no taxes here and will soon be back in another town with its own issues. Perhaps I suffer from nostalgia, but I loved the swallows swooping out from under the bridges, the frogs croaking, the first bat seen at evening.
I write this letter with the hope it will stimulate the residents of Hayden to discuss this hidden tradeoff that has been made in the town's pest control policy.
The silence is not golden.
State College, Pa.