Email letters, Nov. 23, 2011

More than just mountain bikers would benefit from new trails

I read Gary Harmon’s article on the Bear Ranch land exchange with interest. I am the director of Gunnison Trails, a non-profit trail advocacy organization based in Gunnison (not to be confused with the Gunnison County Trails Commission). Gunnison Trails is focused on self-powered singletrack trail use on public lands near our town. Self-powered trail users are walkers, runners and mountain bikers. We do not represent equestrians or motorized users, but we are not anti-horse nor anti-motorized. We work together with local motorized user groups as we have almost no non-motorized trails on the U.S. Forest Service and BLM public lands near Gunnison. The vast majority of singletrack trails around Gunnison are motorized, multiple-use trails and we have very few conflicts among the various user groups.

I have been following this evolving and polarizing land exchange story and while I’m not in the trenches, I’ve been closer to it than most. As an ex officio/non-voting member of the Gunnison County Trails Commission, I have been present for meetings where Tom Glass, Ed Marston and others were in attendance. This is a complex issue and I don’t have my heels dug in on either side. I would like to offer a couple of points that are not mentioned in Mr. Harmon’s story.

First, I am told that Jumbo Mountain is popular with walkers, hikers, runners, mountain bikers, equestrians and motorized users. I cannot corroborate this as I have never been on Jumbo, but certainly, mountain bikers would not be the only public lands users to benefit from having legal, high-quality access to these public lands directly adjacent to the population center of Paonia. If Jumbo becomes a similar asset to Paonia as like public lands adjacent to Gunnison are, Paonia will benefit from having an additional economic driver (much smaller scale but similar to what trail use has done for the Grand Junction economy) and the health and fitness benefits that come from citizens having convenient access to public lands. This says nothing of Jumbo Mountain being an asset to entice relocation and retention of citizens and businesses.

Second, any non-motorized trail on U.S. Forest Service or BLM public lands, new or otherwise, that is open to mountain bikes is also open to hikers and equestrians. It isn’t solely mountain bikers who would benefit from a new trail in the Raggeds area. Additionally, at least from my experience, hikers and equestrians are more vocal about their preference for non-motorized trails. Perhaps mountain bikers get additional scrutiny as it’s typically mountain bikers who are politically active and seated at the table.

Thanks for listening.

Gunnison Trails, Inc.

Thanks for Coyote Thanksgiving Feast

I went to the Coyote Thanksgiving Feast and it was wonderful. The food was very good and the entertainment of music and people enjoying themselves on and off the dance floor was amazing. I let down my hair and smiled and laughed and enjoyed myself.

I lost my brother last week who lived in Illinois and was not able to go home to be with the rest of my family. It was nice to go here and feel good after a long week of sadness. I haven’t seen my family in 11 years and today I felt family and friends were here to help out.

Thanks Coyote and also even though I did not need it, thanks for providing rides for the ones who couldn’t get there any other way and a trip back by different limousines. Thanks to all that helped out. It couldn’t have come at a better time. Watching the kids dance and enjoy themselves was enjoyable. Thanks so much.


Stop eco indoctrination of school children

Elementary kids cannot evaluate the claims of anthropogenic (Human caused) global warming as is part of the present Delta County schools curricula.  This amounts to no less than brainwashing our kids and this in a county whose principle industry is coal mining. 

Our entire civilization has flourished and grown during the 10,000 years, of the interglacial warm period.  Starvation and pestilence, including the Black Plague of Medieval Europe, happened during cold periods such as the mini ice age when crops failed and the North Sea froze over. By attempting to reduce carbon dioxide, the case could equally be made that we are attempting to stop Shangri-La, as in the Eocene period 50 million years ago when carbon dioxide was four times what it is today. At that time the earths vegetative output was 500 times what it is today and the Sahara was a Garden of Eden.

Elementary kids cannot be expected to evaluate such claims and counter claims.  Therefore, Delta County schools should immediately remove any reference to man caused global warming.

The new Cedaredge elementary school has a brand new concentrating solar system that will produce 10KWH (Kilo Watt Hours) and 280,000 BTU of heat per day.  On a sunny day, that state of the art sun tracking system replaces $1.20 in electricity and $3 per day in natural gas or $126 per sunny month in energy while the payment on the $100,000 parts cost is $555 per month plus installation for a loss of more than $429 per month for the entire 20 year life of the project. 

At this time, solar power is four times as expensive as fossil fuel power. Nevertheless, it is the intention of the school district to hold this out as a shining example to elementary kids when it really makes the economic case for coal fed power plants and natural gas production.  Green plants and trees love carbon dioxide. Without it plant life and organisms like us that depend on plant life cannot exist.  More CO2 is better not worse. Of all places, we should tell the truth in Delta County rather than being politically correct. 

We most certainly should insist that the school district stop eco indoctrinating our kids and that the curriculum that does this be eliminated ASAP.



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