Printed Letters: March 9, 2014

Governor applauded for stance on wildlife

I applaud the governor for standing up to the federal agencies. The land is within the state and the wildlife is property of and managed by the state; therefore, it is time the state takes back the control of our land and our wildlife issues.

The Endangered Species Act has been hijacked by some so-called “environmental” groups at the national level as a way to stop all the activities they don’t like on public and private lands. This will continue until the states stand up and say that enough is enough.

We appreciate that Gov. Hickenlooper recognizes Colorado can and will protect these species while we continue utilizing the land and resources. Those groups who abuse the ESA as a tool to stop production are not truly concerned with protecting the species, or they would recognize and support the value of all the work that landowners, industries and local governments have done to protect the species without listings.

Listing a species as threatened or endangered does not put habitat conservation on the ground like the local landowners and partnerships do.

As a partner in the on-the-ground conservation efforts, the state has contributed $40 million to conservation easements. As partners, the landowners have contributed additional dollars through time and actual conservation projects such as installing miles of stock water lines to improve grazing management and deferring grazing near leks for the benefit of the grouse. They have also forgone valuable property improvements and structures that could be detrimental to grouse or their habitat.

Landowners and industries will gladly work with partners to help protect the species as long as they are free to do it in the way that works for them and the grouse. Local landowners know more about what the land and wildlife need than federal agencies or their staff do.

LEONARD THOMPSON
President, 
White River Conservation District
Meeker


County’s BMX commitment benefits only a few residents

I don’t know who is pulling the strings on this three-member Board of County Commissioners to have them have the audacity to make an initial $1.3 million commitment to build a BMX track at the county fairgrounds.

This will benefit a small percentage of the residents of this county and we the taxpayers will be the landlord. We will no doubt have to maintain this infrastructure (oh yes, there is more to come, not just a track) and hire a staff to run it.

As an 84-year-old senior,  I agree with the recent letter that stated the local senior center was “pathetic.” Why are we not considering commitments to our seniors or go the Fruita route and spend our money on a recreation center that would benefit us all rather than a possible Olympic track for the favored few? 

Oh, well, at 84 I probably won’t be around to watch members of this audacious board make more presumptive decisions without any input or consideration for the wishes of their constituents, but then again they seem to do this at a pretty good clip. 

In closing this letter, I want to take the opportunity to point out this is one of the best reasons for increasing the number on the board, more chance to get better government representing more views.

(We did this in Moab when I was a resident there and it helps, my friends). Amen.

ADAIR WHITE
Grand Junction


Zoning objection should have been part of egg farm issue

Regarding Duffy Hayes’ Feb. 26 article, “Guv backs Hotchkiss chicken farms,” now we have the governor and a state agency meddling in a Delta County issue I thought was resolved.

The debate historically seemed to be about the “Right to Farm Act.” The Sentinel article indicates that it was not argued as an issue in the lawsuit before District Court Judge Steven Patrick, who ordered the farms shut down.

Feed lots, a large dairy and a large chicken facility are commercial operations. They should be in a commercial- or industrial-zoned location. The so-called egg farms were totally incompatible with other property in the area and never should have been approved. This is certainly true for the Redland Mesa location, where access is by narrow county roads that are not designed for heavy truck traffic required for a commercial egg producer.

The actual 40-acre property isn’t even actually on a road. It has to be reached via an unimproved right of way through small acreages of neighbors.

The commissioners ignored the job they were elected to do, and a lot of money has been wasted for no reason. The objecting neighbors chose to fight back based on resulting “health problems” and won their argument in court.  A zoning objection should also have been included, in my opinion.

I don’t oppose the Hostetlers. The ones I’ve met are hard-working and self-reliant.  I hope they find a suitable location to operate their egg business and have fabulous success.

I also hope the people who just fought and won a fight over something they never should have been dragged into have this behind them. I hope the commissioners learn the difference between a farm and a factory before their next election.

Finally, I hope the governor gets the hell out of issues that are really only the business of Delta County.

CHARLES OVERSTREET
Hotchkiss


Recall Muir’s Yosemite vision when considering park status

The argument we most hear against upgrading the Colorado National Monument’s designation to a national park is that doing so will bring more visitors and thus degrade our own experience of this incredibly unique and beautiful wild land. This seems to be a selfish view of the issue.

In 1890 John Muir did not strive to keep Yosemite Valley a secret. He loved the area and desired to protect it and share its inspiring beauty with the world. He pushed Washington to designate Yosemite a national park.

The fact that making the monument a national park would create the byproduct of increased opportunity to provide our world visitors accommodations, meals and entertainment would only be a bonus, not something to be ashamed of.

MARK SMITH
Grand Junction


Figure for monument visits seems unrealistically high

I read with interest the “Scenery is greenery” article.  

Simple math says 409,000 visitors to our treasured Colorado National Monument is 1,120 on each of the 365 days of the year. If visitation is during the 12 hours of daylight, and if two entrances are equally busy, make it a new visitor greeted and the fee collected each 1 minute 18 seconds at each booth, all day, every day.  

If you take into account the winter slowdown, there must be some summer traffic congestion that I am missing. Would someone explain that to me? I’ve not waited in line, and (I’m guessing here) it takes a minute or so to say hello to the friendly ranger in the booth.

JIM GRADY
Grand Junction


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