"There is no hunger like land hunger, and no object for which men are more ready to use unfair and desperate means than the acquisition of land."
-- Clifford Pinchot, Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, 1898-1910
I ask the people of Routt County, residents and visitors, and the BLM to consider what open spaces mean to our nation and our heritage. "Are they commonwealth, or a mere commodity, a resource? Is it right to use public land as currency? Are they a permanent legacy to protect and expand upon, or an asset to be liquidated, bartered, disposed of?
I believe that most of us would like to see Emerald Mountain preserved. But does this need to happen at the expense of other open space? Should we not be trying to preserve as much open space as possible?
I believe as residents of Routt County and Colorado we would want to retain as much of our public land as possible. There is very little land on Emerald Mountain that is suitable for development. There are very few people who will benefit from this sale. The biggest beneficiary being the Western Land Group, who will be receiving a very substantial monetary reward, a group of land barons, and a small group of people in Steamboat Springs, who either chose to use their control through public office, or those with strong financial backing.
What will it be like if the BLM takes control of Emerald Mountain? Will they tell the public who can use public land and what you can do on it? Will this be public, because you will be paying taxes for its use? Will it be discrimination if one type of recreational activity is allowed and another refused?
Please let your voice be heard to stop this land exchange, save our open spaces, and use alternative funding to preserve Emerald Mountain.