E-mail letters, August 25, 2010

Railroad should help maintain parkway’s beauty

It’s really a shame that after the millions that were spent on the new Riverside Parkway that the Union Pacific Railroad chooses not to be a good corporate neighbor.

While the city has planted and maintained handsome borders and medians on the south, there are hundreds of 6-foot-plus weeds on the north side of the Parkway for over a mile. No one expects the railroad to groom their entire right of way, but wouldn’t it be great to spruce-up the only part of our community that many travelers ever see?

PAUL W. NELSON

Grand Junction

Salazar’s land-swap proposal is an excellent bill

Rep. John Salazar is sponsoring an excellent bill which will promote conservation, access and good public lands management. The bill will give a narrow, barely used strip of BLM land above Paonia Reservoir to a cattle ranch, in exchange for two threatened parcels of private land, long desired by the National Park Service (NPS).

Unfortunately, a small group of people with personal grudges against the owner of the ranch are trying to kill this good bill by spreading rumors and falsehoods. Here’s the truth.

The NPS will receive a parcel of land near Blue Mesa Reservoir. It has some of the best views of the Dillon Needles and contains vital habitat for deer, elk, and sage grouse. Unfortunately, up to five trophy homes could be built on this property, ruining its character forever. In addition, the Park

Service will receive a private in-holding within Dinosaur National Monument. This is the ranch where the original dinosaur fossil discoveries were made, an important cultural and paleontological resource.

Contrary to the claims of opponents, the BLM strip going into private ownership accesses nothing. There used to be a trail onto the Gunnison National Forest, but the Forest Service wants to close the it. There is an old road on the quarter-mile strip of BLM land, but it dead-ends about two miles above Paonia Reservoir. And, due to its narrowness, as a recent Gunnison Country Times editorial says “if you hunt that [BLM strip] now, you’re road hunting.” Plus, Bear Ranch is giving $250,000 to the Forest Service to improve other accesses to this same Forest Land.

The Salazar bill is a good deal for the public. We cannot let the petty tactics of a few malcontents threaten this valuable legislation.

JUSTIN HALL

Grand Junction


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