Printed Letters: September 20, 2016

It’s time to level the 
recreational playing field

I propose that state Parks and Wildlife needs to address an extreme inequality that exists today. For the last 80-plus years a minority has done its best to insure that the people of the state of Colorado have the extremely wide and varied recreation possibilities in this state that we have today.

That minority is the anglers and hunters of this state who have carried the load of the expense for the Division of Wildlife and parks and rec. How have they done this? Through self-imposed excise taxes to fund the state’s programs and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. These acts are the Dingell-Johnson Act and the Pittman-Roberts Act. These taxes can range from 10 percent of the value of each and every fly sold right on to excise taxes on recreational equipment ranging from 10 percent and up.

So we have the state Parks and Wildlife wanting to double the cost of sportsmen’s licenses and thus continuing the inequity of the situation.

So how about a statewide recreation license (equal in cost to a state fishing license) to be purchased by those non-anglers and non-hunters who love to recreate in our state and by doing this the hikers and campers and canoeist and kayakers and photographers, etc., who have enjoyed all this state has to offer would help on an equal basis. Remember the Hug an Angler and Hug a Hunter ads on television in this state? Rather than a hug, how about stepping up and helping out financially? The Habitat stamp is woefully inadequate in addressing the funding needs and needs to be changed to a statewide recreation license (anglers and hunters would be exempt from this through the purchase of a fishing or hunting license). I can hear the howls of indignation from those who have had a free ride for the last 80 to 100 years, but it is time for the majority to help the minority, time to put your money up to help preserve, maintain and enhance our recreational possibilities in this state that we ALL love to take advantage of.

JEFFREY L. HATTON
Paonia

Canal trail proposals fall 
short of the ‘greater good’

Several things are bothersome about reasoning away the use of any asset in a community. Obviously Richard Gerhardt in his Sept 13 letter doesn’t think of the canals as an asset. If that’s true, then his reasoning is valid.

The canals are unique to this area; however, they are privately owned. From that standpoint, they are restricted to the agricultural interests. How boring a ride or hike with all the wonderful scenery and terrain that’s otherwise available? For many it would just be quick access for an “off the beaten path” clandestine detour and all the illicit rubbish that accompanies it. For others, and for the most part, it would be a good way to connect to the valley and soak in its essence ... this is a farm community of sorts.

The main point is that any canal trail system should be just that, a system. Trails are just the beginning of the experience. Behind this is the funding for maintenance of the trails and trash, and for safety of participants. Toll gates and/or video surveillance may be in order.

If it’s there and you don’t use it, you lose it. The only “greater good” is for the canal companies. In this case the “greater good” does not resonate.

FRED STEWART
Grand Junction

Forgiveness of drainage ‘fee’ shows how ‘rotten’ it is

So the Grand Valley Drainage District has inked a sweetheart side deal with District 51 to avoid having to pay a $114,000 drainage “fee.” (If students watch video of drainage, bill canceled, 9/14/16). District 51 escapes the drainage “fee” by forcing students to watch an agitprop advocacy video produced by, of course, the drainage district itself. And the money the drainage district doesn’t get from the School District will simply be collected from the rest of us. That means you, taxpayers, are just subsidizing the drainage district’s propaganda efforts. Nice, huh? (Credit to the drainage district: Forcing citizens and businesses to pay its new “fee,” and then justifying that extortion to our children through mandatory classroom videos, is remarkably brazen.)

Here’s a question for the drainage district: If we require our employees to watch the video, can we, too, be exempt from the fee? Or does the district selectively enforce its “fee?” The question answers itself, and that’s the lesson for us all: If you’re an educational entity that can propagandize on behalf of the drainage district, then you get a deal. We’ll pretend to tax you, and you can pretend to pay us (wink-wink; handshake in the back room). But if you’re an ordinary citizen or business? Sorry, no deal for you: Pay up now, or we will turn our attorneys and the state of Colorado’s collection agency loose on you. (See Drainage district duns tardy clients, 9/4/16.)

But the most chilling part about this is that the district has plans to continue (and apparently expand) its indoctrination going forward with new videos and a broader “curriculum.” How do you like it that the drainage district manager talks about, in his words, “priming the pump” for indoctrination of your children in years to come? This episode perfectly encapsulates how the district’s “fee” is rotten to the core.

MICHAEL P. ANTON
MICHAEL KNOWLES
Grand Junction


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