Printed Letters: May 9, 2014
Enchanting tour showed the need to protect grouse
I really enjoyed reading the Sentinel’s recent front-page coverage of the greater sage-grouse tours led by Conservation Colorado, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and others up in Craig.
I had the chance to attend one of the tours with fellow members of the Great Old Broads for Wilderness chapter based here in Grand Junction, and I was amazed to witness the annual dance of nature. It’s the largest lek – mating grounds – in the state, known by man to exist for at least 100 years, though likely much longer.
In the morning darkness we too trudged on frozen ruts up to the trailer/blind with faint sounds of burbling, bubbling grouse calling in the background. A coyote yipped briefly. When the shutters lifted in the pre-dawn light, there in the distance was a spectacle of about 100 male sage-grouse with chests puffed up and tail feathers fanned in a circle of spikes, vying for the attention of some 20 females.
As the morning light intensified and turned the hills golden, several yearling antelope wandered down to play among the grouse. Two sparred and butted heads; another mischievously chased a grouse to flight. On the drive back to town we saw pockets of prong-horned antelope on the hillsides, mule deer, elk, cotton-tails and jackrabbits in the sagebrush, raptors perched in old cottonwoods, and even a few Sandhill cranes. It was a “sagebrush safari,” indeed!
It was a well-organized, fun, informative trip that helped me understand the importance of protecting the birds and their habitat. We need to conserve our wild, natural areas. From the robust wildlife and the well-run tour to the enthusiastic hospitality of the Craig Chamber of Commerce and local hoteliers, this trip was a unique and worthwhile experience.
Changing monument to park a bad idea, unsupported by many
After reading The Daily Sentinel’s editorial of April 29, I continue to be amazed at the naivete of this paper and that small select group of supporters who want to change the Colorado National Monument to a national park. They keep bringing out the same old arguments about increasing tourism (questionable), unchanging air quality standards (these can be rewritten any time by the EPA), traffic concerns (our bicyclists have real concerns about regulations), etc.
The paper tries to dispel locals’ fears about increasing federal controls that would result from the change. After what has been happening in Nevada and Texas, can you blame citizens for not liking the idea of more federal intrusion from such a change?
It is true that parks and monuments operate under the same rules, but parks are the crown jewels and more attention is paid to them. They are currently being used by the environmental movement (through the EPA and other organizations) to control the areas that surround them, bringing undesirable and unnecessary changes to communities and people’s lives.
My friends and I have spent a lot of time getting petitions signed in the Grand Junction area, opposing the change to park status. Most of the signers are happy with the current status of the monument and feel nothing is broken, so why “fix” it? But, we’ve heard reports from former Park Service employees, residents of Glade Park, visitors to national parks elsewhere and those living outside national park areas that tell a far different story from what our local media do. They include intimidation, over-regulation, unfriendliness, etc.
The federal government is intruding more and more into our daily lives. Our country was founded originally to limit this. Organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency have no business even existing in the USA. When will people open their eyes and see what is happening to our lives and basic freedoms?
Let Udall and Tipton and The Daily Sentinel know that changing our monument to a national park is a bad idea from start to finish.
Small businesses suffer from increased taxes and regulation
During the past five years the gap between the rich and the poor has widened. The irony is the president and his party’s efforts to “spread wealth” have had the opposite effect. The rich have been getting richer.
Why are big corporations and the affluent doing so well while the young and poor are suffering? The answer begins by understanding that the Federal Reserve has needed to prop up our financial system since its near collapse in 2008. It did that by printing money. Usually that kind of support is not needed for so long. The low interest rates have facilitated growth in government and the explosion in our national debt. Government is hooked on these low interest rates. The withdrawal will be painful.
Big corporations have also benefited from this Federal Reserve stimulus and low interest rates. Those being hurt are small businesses. They suffer from increased taxes and regulations, the worse being related to Obamacare. Big corporations self-insure their employee health insurance plans and have the teams of accountants and lawyers needed to navigate the taxation and regulation swamps. They can afford to hire the best and brightest and are way too smart for the lumbering government beast.
Small companies generally create about 85 percent of all new jobs. Given the uncertainty created by this administration and the increase in taxes and regulations, it hasn’t happened. This is the missing link.
Growth in jobs will take supporting growth in small business, and that requires lower taxes and much less regulation. Until we get that kind of governance, the disadvantaged in our country will suffer.