Printed Letters: April 16, 2014

Lunch Loops under BLM aegis, but city ought to help maintain

In the recent past, Grand Junction has largely been ignored as a tourist destination. However, the wine industry, agri-tourism, excellent mountain biking west of Grand Junction and the monument are all bringing more attention to the Grand Valley.

Grand Junction now has its own set of excellent mountain bike trails, the Lunch Loops. Our trails, which have been featured in national cycling publications, are drawing more people into Grand Junction, rather than driving on to Fruita and Moab. On a slow day at the “Loops,” with about 20 cars at the trailhead, I saw vehicles from Utah, Arizona, South Dakota, Washington, the Front Range and Quebec. I also saw a van from a major U.S. mountain bike manufacturer. This is a problem.

I was there to spend an hour picking up trash. Never getting farther from the trailhead than a quarter-mile, I filled a three-gallon bucket, mostly with broken glass. Worse, some of the areas with the highest density of broken glass are near family-friendly trails.

The lower Loops serve as entry points to the terrific mesa top trails, and they present an opportunity for Grand Junction to make a positive statement to visitors from across the globe — people who have the disposable income for $5,000 bikes, time to travel cross-country and an interest in our area.

While enjoying the upper mesa trails, it is easy to forget the trash. When cyclists return to the trailhead, however, the trash returns to view, reminding visitors of our unfortunate nickname, “Grand Junkyard.”

Although the Lunch Loops are under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management, they have become one of the faces of the city. It is time for the city to become more actively involved in maintaining and cleaning up these trails. Dedicated volunteers can only do so much.

GARY STETLER
Grand Junction


Leave our precious monument in its pristine, fragile condition

The Sentinel’s front-page celebration of a draft bill to establish a national park at the monument neglected to mention more than 1,500 signatures on petitions opposing this change. The lack of support for designation expressed by online comments and in town hall meetings (one of which had 90 attendees) has not discouraged the promoters, because they are convinced the local opponents are in need of “educating.”

The “facts” they have presented, such as economic statistics (based on much larger national parks), along with their belief the monument deserves to be upgraded despite its small size, have merely convinced us that those forcing this redesignation on a reluctant populace arrogantly assume only they know what’s best for our community.

They want us to believe they can prevent any future negative impacts by the draft’s “no change” caveats, a wish list designed to remove local opposition to a national park. Opponents are to naïvely expect these promises to remain in the law as passed by Congress. Even if these restrictions were to survive the process, why would anyone trust the current administration to enforce any law as written?

If a community located immediately adjacent to a national park is negatively impacted in the future, by the EPA’s draconian air standards around national parks, or by the Department of Interior’s canceling of nearby oil and gas leases, where do we go to complain? At a time when the IRS, BLM, EPA and NSA have shown nonchalant abuse of their power, why would we expect these agencies even in future administrations to comply with restrictions in this law?

The monument terrain is fragile, the wildlife easily threatened and the narrow roads precipitous. If it is internationally promoted, it could deteriorate just as Zion has. Leave it be, so it can remain pristine and beautiful.

DARLENE GSELL
Grand Junction


Bambino praised for values and service to young people

This letter is in response to the letter that bombed Mike Bambino for his beliefs. I’ve known Bambino for a long long time, and even though he sometimes rambles, he is an honest man who does not lie or cheat to get ahead.

Mixing religon and politics, everyone knows, is a no-no. That said, those who still believe that politicians are the saving grace for our country or the world for that matter are like a boat with one oar in the water. They vote for the best one, only to find out he’s just like the rest and then complain about him for the term he is in office.

Bambino has a program in place for youth and is to be commended for it. Jesus respected the machinery of government, although he refused to operate it. He said pay back Caesar’s things to Caesar but God’s things to God. Anyway, kudos to Mike.

M. BERKLEY
Grand Junction

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