Not always best
Although we all like to think that we are doing the best thing for everyone, it does not always turn out that way. When I finally found out the federal land that borders on two sides of my property was going to be sold, I was, to say the least, extremely distressed and surprised, as were many of my fellow neighbors throughout Routt County. Yes, Rebecca is my neighbor and we both border the same piece of federal land, something that none of us has kept secret from anyone, including the Emerald Mountain Partnership. This piece of land is very accessible by the Elk Head River.
Although you may think, and maybe have even been told, that Emerald Mountain will be open for public use, there are no guarantees and no management plan at this time. The money that will go to public schools will be dispersed throughout Colorado, more than likely Routt County will see very little. The same monies also would be generated if the land was sold at competitive prices.
Although the Sleeping Giant may have historical and cultural value, so do many parcels of federal land that have been used by generations of our ranching community, the real backbone of this county. These people are coming forward every day to express their dislike for this project. We have more than 450 people so far who have voiced their opinion, and that number continues to grow. They are from every community in this county, including Steamboat Springs. Our concerns are not about Emerald Mountain. Let it be preserved. We do not want to see the federal land in our county disposed of to accomplish that feat.
I have yet to see how the Emerald Mountain preservation will benefit all of Routt County. I have yet to speak with anyone who will travel from his or her community to recreate on Emerald Mountain. Even people who live in Steamboat want to find places far away from the crowds.
I would suggest that Carol O'Hare (Letters, Steamboat Today, July 16) may want to research some of the Acts of Congress regarding federal land and find out what the public is really going to end up with.
Thank you, Diane Brower, for writing about the lack of coverage in the Pilot & Today about matters that are of importance to all of us.
More roads should not be built on federal land. In the first place, the public would have to pay for construction of the roads. In the second place, the new roads would be used by timber companies to get the best and biggest old-growth trees. Part of their profits will be earmarked as contributions for the present administration's political campaign.
During the past century, approximately half of the world's forests and wetlands disappeared with an accompanying lessening, and in several cases, loss of animals. Our grandchildren may never see many of the remaining species of animals and birds that we take for granted today. It is not commercial loggers but industrial polluters and poachers who are hastening extinction of wildlife.
In regard to our many national parks, they are being hurt in another way. The current administration has been underfunding them, resulting in deteriorating infrastructure and overcrowding. For example, more than half the school tours going to Yellowstone have been turned away because of a shortage of staff. The roads in Glacier National Park are in such poor condition that it is dangerous to travel on them. Grand Canyon National Park has very severe traffic problems while key environmental staff positions go unfilled.
Today, our park system suffers from nearly $5 billion in backlogged maintenance needs. Less than 8 percent of the need for new funding has been met in the past three years. Ranger budget cuts make the park less safe for tourists. Funding also is needed to prevent private inholdings from being commercially developed.
The deception, euphemisms and outright untruths so characteristic of this administration are hurting the majority of our public dramatically. For instance, the so-called Clean Waters Act has resulted in 30 percent of our waters being clean today compared with 50 percent last year. The same is true of the Clean Air Act.
One important matter we also should be considering is whether it is advisable to construct new nuclear energy plants. The energy produced by them is more costly than any other kind. They are especially inviting as targets for terrorists. We still have problems concerning how and where to best store the waste of the original ones. Why not appropriate funds to finish the half-completed tunnel in Texas to allow scientists to search for energy produced by fission, which has no waste, rather than by fusion?