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Distressed in Dolores

To the Editor:

I am writing about the Boggy/Glade, Mancos/Cortez, Rico/West Dolores, and Junction Creek/La Plata Canyon Travel Management Plans and other road closures that are planned by the San Juan National Forest.

Many of us did not realize what was taking place until it was too late to appeal. One notice about these closures was in theDurango Herald, tucked inconspicuously away inside. It was not published in all the local papers. I personally heard the associate manager of the Dolores Public Lands Office make the comment back in 2005 when the travel management planning was gearing up that “We don’t want the public to get wind of this.” It was also being said by personnel at the Dolores Public Lands Office that Steve Beverin was coming in to use Dolores as a stepping stone on his way up to Washington, D.C. Hmm?!

All we are getting from the Forest Service is: It is mandated by Washington, we need to contact our elected officials. I am tired of their argument for the need to be consistent with other forests in Colorado. Each forest is unique and should be managed likewise. I believe our public lands system will, in the not so distant future, look like highly regulated parks with signs all over the place and big, ugly parking areas. We will be funneled into certain areas like sheep and the rest of the thousands and thousands and thousands of acres of land will be sitting there all locked up.

The Forest Service has broken federal law with their road closures by destroying historical RS 2477 roads. This includes taking a bulldozer to the historic Hay Camp Stock Driveway and the Golconda road above Mancos.

RS 2477 roads include very old, historic wagon roads and logging roads.

Washington politicians are passing mandates to federal Forest Service employees, most who have not a clue as to the traditions, culture or economics of this area, let alone the ecology, nor do they care. The Forest Service is inherently made up of transients. Forest Service personnel are expected to move from forest to forest.4Their apathy toward our history is intrinsic and leads to lack of respect for those they are here to serve. Take for instance, the lack of empathy shown the Wallace family when dealing with their grazing permits. Did they ever think about the ramifications to all members of that extended family; a highly respected, early-day family who has ranched in this area for many generations?

Most Forest Service personnel do not have roots in one specific forest. Their book learning will never take the place of the experience of those whose livelihoods and ancestry and culture are tied to the land. The Forest Service is supposed to act as the steward of our public lands, not the stealer of such.

And since they have such “cushy” jobs, they sure as heck aren’t too worried about the fact that this is a low-income area. Many local people rely on wild game and firewood to help survive the winter. And many loggers and ranchers rely on the forests for their livelihood.

This leads to the Forest Service distancing itself from the public that they are supposed to be serving. First they installed gates with locks at the buildings in Dolores. Then they required permittees to wait in the office while they paged whichever manager they were there to see. It used to be that permittees could go right to a manager’s office and be treated like decent citizens. Then the Forest Service moved to their “mansion on the hill” and distanced themselves even further. This, along with lack of respect for the local citizens, has caused a huge degradation of trust in the Forest Service.

Have people noticed all the “cross-country” bicycle trails in the Boggy Draw/Italian Canyon and Bean Canyon areas? Why are these allowed in all these “interspaces” between roads in an area that has goshawk nests that the Forest Service is supposed to be protecting? It looks as though they are breaking their own rules.

The Doe Canyon Geophysical Seismic Survey Project overlaps a huge road closure area on the Glade. Now, isn’t it amazing that seismic trucks, helicopters, explosives, etc. don’t cause an impact in the same area? Next, they will be “fracking over” the forest, like they are us.

Inundate elected officials with phone calls, e-mails and letters if you oppose these road closures.

– Charlotte Thompson, Dolores

Dispatches from Israel

To the Editors,

This winter, with a blown knee and a recent shoulder surgery, I needed to find a new adrenaline fix. Well, what an interesting time in the history of the Middle East to take a trip to the Promised Land. Through a highly competitive application process, I managed to get on a Birthright Israel trip departing this weekend. With private transportation and armed security, I imagine this is probably the safest way to tour Israel as an American.

As I continue to read about the revolt in Egypt, from a variety of sources, there is one thing I notice. The media war is making it harder to read between the lines. Al Jazeera criticizes the U.S. coverage as producing misleading representations of why the people in Egypt are protesting. The BBC blames Al Jazeera as a biased news outlet, only encouraging the uprising. The list can go on and on, but what this media war is hiding is a common theme, stemming mostly from our Western media coverage, that the protesters’ violence to overthrow President Mubarak is deeply anti-Semitic. For example, the video broadcasts of the same protesters demanding the destruction of Israel or the anti-Mubarak posters with the Star of David on his forehead and the caption “Israeli Puppet.” Sure, Egypt’s authoritarian rule may seem unjust, but the fact is the alternative could be far worse, especially for the State of Israel.

Interestingly enough, Al Jazeera has announced that they are headed to Israel this week to deconstruct a “well-crafted media image” of the Israeli military. Regardless, I have found theJerusalem Postto be more informative compared to most other media organizations. And when I often get frustrated in trying to figure out WTF is going on, I turn toJpostcolumnist Caroline Glick. Not only do her columns make sense, but she is the founder and editor of the Tribal Update, a television-on-internet satire show, that comes out once a week. Kind of like the Israel version of John Stewart’sDaily Show. Check it out for yourself at www.carolineglick.com, and if you’re Jewish and between the ages of 18-26 why not take your free birthright trip. Maybe it will help piece the puzzle together, heck, I’ve already been to Egypt. Either way, I am excited to make this journey and listen to what people have to say.

– Stacy Falk, Durango

Ray-Bans in the Rain

“It is like this,

you just have to finally leave it all behind.”

She lifted her shades to expose stitches in the brow

and a left eye shiner.

“You’re lookin at the final straw!

I did the safe house and sent my son

to mom’s and that helps for a while

but I’ve decided to board up the single wide

and the boy and I are just goin’ to follow the sun.

sorry after sorry

is just another wolf in tears!”

– Burt Baldwin, Ignacio






In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows