Our letters section and your opportunity to weigh in and be heard. Send us your thoughts and profundities. You can contact us here.

No need for panic

Dear Editors,As a former IMBA president and someone who makes my living by taking people mountain biking on backcountry trails at Western Spirit Cycling, I think your piece “Wilderness may threaten Moab biking” creates unneeded panic. While there are currently hundreds of miles of trails in several states at risk due to Wilderness proposals, the situation in Utah is not at all dire.

IMBA has been at the table with the Utah Wilderness Coalition for the past 12 years. The mountain bike community has earned the respect of many Utah Wilderness advocates. This relationship has led to several on-the-ground changes to the America’s Red Rock Wilderness Bill, specifically designed to gain the support of the mountain bike community. And more are in the works.The true threat to mountain biking in Moab comes from OHV use and oil and gas development. The cycling community has all but lost the Gemini Bridges and Poison Spider trails to jeeps and ATVs, and just last year several trails, including Porcupine Rim, were threatened by oil and gas leasing. Wilderness designations in the right places actually enhance mountain biking opportunities by protecting the natural areas where we ride.

For these reasons, it is important to continue doing what mountain bikers have done for years, prove the value of our constituency. Trails 2000 is the shining example of a community-supported trail advocacy group that is an asset to all the land managers in the Durango area. By continuing conversations with wilderness advocates throughout the country, we can keep working to find on-the-ground solutions that protect the land while still allowing bike access

So, no need to panic or despair, but do continue supporting your local trail group and IMBA.

– Ashley Korenblat, Moab


‘A Global Day of Action'

Dear Editors:

On Oct. 24, I’m joining with friends, neighbors and community members at the Durango Farmers Market from 8 a.m.-noon. We’ll be contributing to a collaborative climate action art project and writing letters to politicians about our concerns regarding global climate change – and if we were doing it all by ourselves it probably wouldn’t matter. But we won’t be: that day is a Global Day of Action on Climate Change, and there will be thousands of connected events in almost every country around the world. This is one of three grassroots activism events in Durango building awareness on this important issue.

The goal for all of these events will be the same: to tell our neighbors, and our leaders, what the latest science makes clear: we can’t tackle global warming unless we can get the carbon concentration of the atmosphere down below 350 parts per million (ppm). That sounds complicated, but it really isn’t: it just means we need to speed the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. But the power of special interests means it won’t happen fast enough unless we come together to make some noise for change. (Visit 350.org for more info.)

On Fri., Oct. 23, the Fort Lewis College Environmental Center will kick off a collaborative art project with a banner highlighting the 350 theme. There will be live music and snacks, so join us at the Clock Tower from noon until 2 p.m.

Additionally, on Oct. 24, Durango is creating a “Carrotmob,” a network of consumers who buy products in order to award businesses who are making the most socially responsible decisions. In a Carrotmob, activists reward businesses that are doing “good” by storming their store with our consumer dollars to help them do “well.” Join us at Stone House Subs between 11 a.m.-2 p.m., grab a sub, and feel great knowing that 35 percent of that sub will go toward improvements that will make this business easier on the environment going forward!

Join us for these events – let your voice be heard on global climate change!

– Claire Ninde, Durango


Chicken Little visits Moab


“Wilderness may threaten Moab biking,” come onTelegraph do you really need to sink to writing inflammatory headlines? The article that follows your “Chicken Little” headline clearly and correctly points out that the mountain bicycling community and the Utah Wilderness Coalition are sitting down and working together to address the conflicts over these trails. The article even points out that there is significant progress in these efforts with arrangements ensuring that certain trails remain open to multiple use, while the scenery around it is protected as wilderness.

Everyone can agree that preserving the remaining wild places in Utah’s Red Rock country is extremely important.

Unfortunately, headlines like this one only ignite passions and drive wedges between people who should be working together to develop solutions.

We’ve been working on proposals in Southwest Colorado that protect wilderness and accommodate trail users. I hope when we get to the point where legislation is introduced, you consider a different slant. How about this one: “Community works together to protect special places!”

– Michael Carroll, Associate Director, The Wilderness Society’s Wilderness Support Center


Another one for wilderness

Dear Editors,

As a regular reader, I have come to depend on theTelegraph for accurate coverage regarding local public lands issues, so I was surprised to see the sensational headline “Wilderness may threaten Moab biking” (Oct. 15, 2009) on your cover last week. A few of the lines in the piece on America’s Redrock Wilderness Act were equally disturbing. The lines “Mountain bikes could soon be off-limits on a majority of trails in one of the region’s favorite fat tire playgrounds,” “...(wilderness) could spell the end of mountain bike recreation in Moab,” and “(designating wilderness would) effectively end the town’s status as a mountain bike mecca” read like a press-release from anti-environment off-roaders or an oil and gas industry group. Statements like these are not based in fact, and they are often used to try to drive a wedge between wilderness allies. The Telegraph’s rhetoric seems designed to whip up a frenzy in the pro-mountain biking towns of Durango and Moab, but further careful reading negates such fear-mongering falsehoods when an IMBA representative says they are “not overly concerned about the bill ... .” Why are they not concerned? Because Utah wilderness advocates have worked and will continue to work with mountain bikers to carefully craft proposals that would allow mountain biking to continue on popular trails while also protecting wilderness. Listen to the paid professional mountain bike advocates on this one – wilderness most certainly will not destroy Moab’s “status as a mountain bike Mecca.” Utah’s iconic landscapes deserve greater protections, and advo

cates of all kinds will continue to work together to make it happen. 

– Sincerely, Tim D. Peterson, Durango


A call to humanism

To the Editors,

A reminder, a call to humanism, that we may recognize a common bond and purpose to ensure a fair and desirable existence for all our fellows. For a few days, set aside minor struggles and recognize the levity compared to the threatening and discouraging situations of others around the world. Invite charity into your heart. Find your ability to change the world, accept your relative wealth and act. Feel the new warmth of your soul and enjoy your day.

– Erik Pattison, via e-mail


Kick 4Core out of the nest

Dear Editors,

There are at least a dozen local, environmentally oriented, not-for-profits in La Plata County - yet one, 4Core, has received hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. Both the City and County have given over $100,000 to the organization over the last year and are seemingly prepared to repeat those expenditures in 2010. Meanwhile, the City and County are laying off employees, making across-the-board cuts, and have completely eliminated funding for the only health-care facility (Mercy) in the county serving the poor. In addition, 4Core’s mission is redundant in a City and County who both fund offices of sustainability – at a cost of over $600,000 in the City and over $300,000 in the County. Why do we need a Four Corners Office of Sustainability funded by tax dollars when dozens of other state, local, and not-for-profit organizations are pursuing the same or similar objectives? I have no problem with 4Core following whatever objectives it sees fit, but it is absolutely time to stop playing favorites with tax monies given to nonprofits – 4Core needs to be kicked out of the nest and take to heart the hard lesson of being (self) sustainable.

– Conrad Klaus, via e-mail


Grateful for Durango

Hello Durango,

I just want to thank everyone here in Durango for their fantastic love and support everyone has given Tony and I throughout this ordeal of him losing his hand. The accident happened on Sept. 19, and we had all kinds of love, support and friends by the next day at noon. It seemed as though by the time he was flown to Denver, Durango knew and was sending support our way. We know we have a long road ahead of us, but we are just so grateful to all the medical staff that treated Tony as well as all of our friends and family for being here every step of the way. Tears are coming to my eyes when I think of you all, and I can’t cry here at Coldwell Banker! Folks can follow Tony’s recovery at www.tonymiely.blogspot.com.

– The Mielys

P.S. - A special thank you to Missy, an editor of this rag, for the custom logo’ed Snuggie® she gave to Tony!


Moral health care

To the Editors,

In response to several aspects of Dennis Pierce’s letter concerning Obama Care (Oct. 15, 2009), I believe that underneath the “devil’s advocate” right wing rhetoric of Mr. Pierce, he is truly a kind-hearted person who would be horrified at the day-to-day consequences of denying young women reproductive health care by pricing it past their capabilities to afford, or simply making it inaccessible. For government or corporate powers to plan reproductive decisions for young women is simply slavery. If Dennis Pierce has religious objections, I can respect that, yet the First Amendment is supposed to protect us from each other’s religious practices. In reproductive health care, morality becomes a weapon to be used against women and their children. Why would a culture force its young women and their children into hunger, helplessness, vulnerability, weakness and dependence? This is certainly no way to build a strong nation. It is, however, the perfect way to create a generation that, surviving hunger, abuse and fear, enters the labor market weak, with malnourished brains and little chance to protect oneself against powerful corporate interests. In other words, the corporate lobbyists that advocate against women’s reproductive health care in Washington, under the banner (weapon) of morality, are simply creating their next generation of cheap labor.

As for health-care solutions, I noted one clue to the calamity that we face today, 20 to 30 years ago. I heard a news program that ran for a week or so, concerning the corporate body of the AMA restricting the number of doctors that would be trained. What? The boomers had descended upon our nation. I could not imagine a more stupid policy. It may have guaranteed higher profits for doctors, but it also guaranteed over-stressed and over-worked doctors, and a health-care system that progressively became too expensive. The AMA has no business setting such policies. We need to publicly train enough doctors and nurses and their teachers, and forgive their debts in turn for a period of community clinic service. Tort reform is fine, yet we should kiss the health insurance industry goodbye and offer to retrain the individuals thereof in the arts and sciences of actually healing us.

I’m sure that I have at least as many wrinkles on my face as Mr. Pierce has. I had no problem getting the local super market to take my $25 for a flu shot. While I always appreciate “devils advocates,” please, Mr. Pierce, explore different paths to serve our country and people. When you do, we then stand a good chance to get somewhere beneficial in a changing world.

– Stephanie Johnson, Durango

Thanks for the laughs, Dennis

Dear Editors,

I’d hate to upset Dennis Pierce any further by declining to respond to his latest rant, this time against my letter promoting a public run choice for health care. But Mark Twain once wisely said, “Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”So I’ll just say this, my statistics will stand up to any Lexus-Nexus or Google search, period. At least Dennis admits “he cherry picks his statistics.”

As far as whether or not Shan Wells intended to call Dennis Pierce a racist I can’t say. I’ll say this though. Not all Republicans are racists, but most racists are Republicans. Good luck with yourself Dennis, and thanks all for the laughs.

– Thanks, Bill Vana, Durango