Johnny Walker: Finding peace
January 21, 2013
I find it necessary to write in response to Mark Hartless's letter ("Both sides are wrong," Jan. 16 Steamboat Today) supporting the idea of expanding the motorized terrain on Rabbits Ears Pass. I agree that the area is certainly being "overgrazed" and I'm sure the wildlife — above and below the snow surface — would likely agree (I do worry some for the impacts on those so unrepresented).
For myself, and of course many other traditional users, I moved my winter recreation off the lift-supported ski slopes about 40 years ago and found the peace and quiet of backcountry skiing in the national forests that could turn a long winter into a winter wonderland. To be clear, it was the ability to be free of the sights, sounds and smells of machines and crowds that have made these last 40 years so blissful.
Gigi and I no longer ski long trails to elusive slopes, but still need to find that same peace and quiet nearer to the trailhead that Routt County backcountry was once noted for — not 10 miles in to the nearest "wilderness" and not crossing busy snowmobile and groomed snowcat roads and congested parking lots. Is this unreasonable?