section and your opportunity to weigh in and be heard. Send
us your thoughts and profundities. You can contact us here.
The recent story on
snowmobilers' efforts to invade another backcountry refuge of peace
and quiet was informative, provocative and a taste of George
Orwell's 1984 all at the same time. That the off-road motorized
vehicle community feels somehow entitled to use every inch of
public lands, even though thousands of acres of public land are
already open to them, is somehow not surprising.
Most snowmobilers are
undoubtedly nice, neighborly, law-abiding folks just out for a good
time. Corey Corbett, acting chairman of the Colorado Off Highway
Vehicle Coalition, is probably one of those nice folks. But
characterizing his organization as "good guys in this" for wanting
to invade one small, remaining island of quiet is a bit like
calling Richard Nixon a "good guy" for helping clean up corruption
Nearly as surreal is
recreation forester Nancy Berry's observation that restricting
motorized traffic from a small, 200-acre area around Andrews Lake
has resulted in violations only "once in a while." She's likely to
get a much different definition of "once in a while" from
nonmotorized users who frequent the area.
Monitoring the Andrews
Lake area clearly is tough on the financially strapped and
short-staffed Forest Service. Maybe the agency should provide
incident logs on-site, at backcountry gear stores and with
snowmobile clubs and outfitters. That's a cheap way to generate
more data and get a better read on the situation. The Telegraph
could help out by providing info on who to contact at the Forest
Service. Heck, maybe the Forest Service should open its own
incident records to the public. Might be an eye-opener.
No doubt snowsleds can
be handy, fun tools for work and play. There's also no doubt their
engines are noisy and the exhaust noxious, in short, the antithesis
of pristine backcountry solitude. If the motorized camp wants a
taste of what it's like for everybody else when a horde of cranked
up sledders revs through the quiet, its boosters should take a
comfy seat by the fire and spend an hour or two listening to the
ear-twisting shriek and whine of two-stroke engines while inhaling
a cocktail of carbon monoxide and oil fumes.
Price Colman, Durango
Mountain bikes not meant for monument
To the Editors: As a resident of
Southwestern Colorado, a lover of the outdoors and an avid hiker, I
appreciate the incredible and varied recreational opportunities
that our public lands offer residents of this area. I also
recognize that there are some places that are inappropriate for
certain kinds of use. Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is
not an appropriate place for mountain biking off-road.
The proclamation that
created the Monument declared what many of us who live in the area
already know; Canyons of the Ancients is a special place with rich
historic and natural values that deserves special protections. The
proclamation represented a huge conservation victory.
Now, the National Trust
for Historic Preservation is trying to make sure that the BLM
follows the proclamation, including sensible limitations on the use
of motorized and mechanized vehicles in the Monument that prevent
dirt bikes and other vehicles from tearing across the Monument. In
the article "Trust blames bikes for degradation" the Telegraph
calls the Trust's effort to maintain the proclamation finger
pointing.I call it protecting the Monument.
Canyons of the Ancients
still faces serious threats.It wasn't that long ago that giant
seismic thumper trucks tore through the Monument looking for oil
and gas. Those of us who care about the Monument need to insist
that BLM follows the proclamation without it the Monument wouldn't
exist even if it means that we have to leave our bikes at the
Brian O'Donnell, Durango
Clarity and the monument
In response to your
"Quick & Dirty" news story with the headline, "Trust blames
bikes for degradation" in the Canyons of the Ancients National
Monument, I would like to clarify the National Trust for Historic
Preservation's position. We are concerned that the Interim
Management Guidance for the area allows for the use of mountain
bikes on trails in direct contradiction of the Presidential
Proclamation establishing the Canyons of the Ancients National
In order to ensure that
the monument's cultural landscape and its archaeological and
historical resources will be protected, the Proclamation
specifically prohibits use of all motorized and mechanized vehicles
off road. Our concern is that the number of mechanized and
motorized vehicles on off-road trails has been on the rise in
recent years, which continues to damage the resources that the
Presidential Proclamation was meant to protect. We believe that
there is a distinction between what constitutes a "road" and what
constitutes a "trail;" we have raised this issue with the Bureau of
Land Management and are awaiting a response.
Allowing trails to be
used by mechanized and motorized vehicles would mean that a clear
directive handed down by the President of the United States via the
authority granted to him by Congress in the Antiquities Act of 1906
is being ignored. In short, Canyons of the Ancients National
Monument was created to preserve and protect in perpetuity the
significant cultural and historic resources including the complex
cultural landscapes that abound there, and protective measures,
especially those made clear in the Proclamation, should come
vice president and general council,
National Trust for Historic Preservation
Hand off torch to Kucinich
Howard Dean ended his
presidential campaign but wants "to continue the effort to
transform the Democratic Party and to change our country."
Appropriately, Dean urged his supporters to send "progressive
delegates" to the Democratic convention.
Democratic Party has long taken its progressive wing for granted.
In my opinion, the worst thing progressives could do right now is
jump on the Kerry-Edwards bandwagon.
Moreover, rather than
voting for ex-candidate Dean, his supporters would be much more
effective if they joined forces with the most progressive candidate
still in the race, Congressman Dennis Kucinich
ignored by mainstream media, would benefit greatly from an infusion
of Deaniac energy. In turn, Dean supporters would have Kucinich, an
active candidate, espousing their shared vision of a peaceful and
prosperous future for all Americans.
Bottom line: With Dean
out of the race, Kucinich is the candidate to carry the progressive
torch and delegates to the Democratic convention.