Sharon Ort: Protect our open spaces
October 23, 2012
Yampa Valley Electric Association power poles and lines effectively have taken over an absolutely gorgeous open space area and have been placed directly on the path to our schools. Stroll down the Butcherknife Creek Trail and view the desecration of natural beauty. Some of these power poles soar 45 feet into the air. The utility poles and lines go right along our waterway.
The new power poles and lines are not a replacement of existing power lines but a whole new strip of larger and far more prominent power poles and associated lines. Butcherknife Trail now is being dubbed "Power Pole Lane." Also notice the new signs that are posted to stay off property. Our stretch of nature is shrinking. This choice to restrict our access to a natural area is wrong. We need the foresight to think of future generations.
Walkers, runners, bikers, skiers, horseback riders and so many others use this track of exceptional land. Major rock climbing routes are also on this stretch of Butcherknife Canyon. The Steamboat Springs Running Series, Girls on the Run, Hike and Bike to School Program folks and other groups and individuals can attest to the numbers of people who use and value this trail.
There are beautiful trail signs recently erected that show directions and distances to our schools. Thank you, city of Steamboat Springs. Can the Steamboat Springs City Council members now back up their intent to be proponents of open space and put pressure on YVEA to bury these utility lines?
These high power lines are in direct proximity to hundreds of children who travel to and from the schools. Because Butcherknife Trail is the pathway to Strawberry Park Elementary School and Steamboat Springs Middle School, the power poles should be removed and these lines relocated underground. Power lines can and should be placed underground, even if the cost is higher.
On a personal note, my job is to teach some of the youngest members of our community. When I work with children 3 to 6 years old, we teach them to show respect to one another and the environment. We continually instill in our children the necessity to take care of nature and be true stewards of our Planet Earth. This assault on nature is not the lesson we want to teach to our children. We need to do everything in our power to change the actions of YVEA.
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Our community of active, healthy, nature-oriented members must stand united in our quest to value open space and demand that YVEA place these utility lines underground. YVEA has made a tragic, awful and very expensive mistake by placing these power poles on our Butcherknife Trail. May this error be remedied in an amiable and quick fashion so that the beauty of our small town will be protected for future generations.
If you oppose the installation of power poles and power lines down Butcherknife Trail and you support the preservation of natural open space, go online and sign the e-petition at http://www.change.org (search "Butcherknife").