Printed letters, February 21, 2014

Were it not littered with ridiculous anecdotes (“mountain bikers inadvertently ‘troll for grizzlies’”), laughable stereotypes (“Lycra-clad speedsters”) and even apocalyptic musings (“unimagined future contraptions”), I might be inclined to give more than a few seconds of consideration to Howie Wolke’s Sunday treatise on the relation of mountain bikes to wild lands, “Mountain bikes shouldn’t be allowed in fragile wild areas.”

I instead reject it for what it is:  the rambling invective of a man who really knows nothing about the culture of mountain biking and who would love to lock up more wilderness that is off-limits to mountain bikers — but not to the commercial pack trains run by his business.  “Self-indulgent?”  “Myopic worldview?”  Uh, yeah.


Grand Junction

Other users damage trails
more than mountain bikers

Howie Wolke, owner of Wild Horizons Expeditions, should have been more honest in his complaints about mountain bikes.

I am a mountain biker but also a hiker, fisherman and trad climber. I’m a member of the International Mountain Biking Association, but also the Wilderness Society. Wolke’s comments would lead one to believe that his main concern is environmental damage caused by bikers.

As someone who has hiked and climbed extensively in wilderness areas for more than 50 years and mountain biked in areas that are seldom used by hikers, I can tell you from firsthand experience that the damage caused by mountain bikes pales in comparison to the damage caused by horses and inconsiderate hikers who will not walk through mud, causing trails to widen and erode. Outfitters using pack horses can have as many as 15 animals in their pack train, leaving trails looking as if a maniac has mangled them with a rototiller.

I have hiked miles in the Wind River Range, trudging through horse manure and flies left by outfitters’ pack trains. Mountain bikes are not allowed in wilderness areas, primitive areas or in wilderness study areas. The region Wolke is talking about does not carry any of those designations. By the way, I agree with federal laws that ban bikes from designated wilderness areas.

Wolke should just admit that he just doesn’t like having mountain bikes on his trails and not make arguments that are basically exaggerations. It’s OK with me that he doesn’t like mountain bikes; I don’t like horses (largely because every one of my father’s tried to kill me).

Horses, however, can cause more trail and ecosystem damage than mountain bikes do. They’re the ones that poop on the trails and in streams and lakes and whose feed carries the seeds of invasive weeds. They’re also the ones allowed in wilderness areas.


Grand Junction


Sandy Dorr deserves credit
for creating Writers’ Forum

I was pleased to see coverage on the Western Colorado Writers’ Forum on Sunday. The Daily Sentinel, however, missed the opportunity to give much-earned credit to the outgoing director, Sandy Dorr.

It was Dorr’s vision that led to her creation of the nonprofit Writers’ Forum four years ago during the economic downturn, when few thought it could succeed. Due to her passion and commitment, the forum has become a visible and integral part of this community by partnering with more than 25 organizations and businesses for programs and events.

Dorr leaves an organization that is solvent, with a strong, capable board and a bright future. While she deserves a much-needed break, she remains on the forum board as an advisor and continues to mentor many writers. She is also serving on a statewide panel selecting the next Colorado Poet Laureate.

This community has a history of recognizing the contributions of organizational founders and leaders. To have missed those of Dorr was an unfortunate oversight.


Grand Junction


Air quality rules must
reflect state’s diversity

State air quality regulators need to reconsider their proposed new air quality rules and use this opportunity to create rules that take into consideration each diverse region of our state independently.

The current rules that were adopted a few years ago do not speak to the diversity that this great state embodies; as such, they serve as an injustice to the people of Colorado. Current oil and gas development takes place in both the Front Range and western Colorado.

Eastern and western Colorado see even greater diversity when one begins to consider each area independently: south central, southwestern, southeastern, as well as the northeast, northwest and some of the I-70 corridor. Each of these areas differs in topography, climate, geography, ambient air quality and population.

The commission needs to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach to such a very complex issue and instead adopt a policy that takes into account all of these differences in order to make new rules that are more applicable to each specific area.


Grand Junction


Susuras off base in seeking

to pay ‘mystery bill’

I cannot believe it. Now Airport Authority Board member Sam Susuras wants to pay a “mystery bill” for $92,000. This despite the fact that nobody is really sure what the invoice is for. This is truly an example of great oversight. Please don’t pay it again, Sam.


Grand Junction


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Brooke you have reiterated the “testimony” of Representative Ray Scott at the Air Quality Control Commission hearings on Wednesday. You both are flat WRONG!  Air sheds are NOT individualized and separate. The old adage, “the solution to pollution is dilution” is dead. What happens in the Gobi Desert air shed (that’s in China) has an effect on OUR air shed.  The reason is the world is a whole air shed and recognizes no boundaries or county separations.  So you see, Ray Scott’s and your idea of “diversity” of industrial culture is a ludicrous assertion.  Even our whole world air shed can be saturated. That’s how “acid rain” came about and why the WORLD changed how it did business to reverse that issue.

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