SPECIAL EAGLE POST 

At Friends of Eagles Nest Wilderness - soon to be EAGLE SUMMIT WILDERNESS ALLIANCE - WE ADVOCATE...
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BEFORE WE BEGIN:
December 10 is Colorado Gives Day. It's a quick and simple way to donate to all of your favorite Colorado non-profits, including, we hope, us. Click to visit the site: www.cogives.org/FriendsEaglesNestWilderness
23 November 2019
Dear *|FNAME|*

Greetings!

Thank you for your support of FENW/EWSA! 
If you find value in wilderness, we hope that you will also support the 5 campaigns described below that form part of our ADVOCACY portfolio. They are:
1. The CORE Act - 400K acres protected
2. Buck Berlairmont - stop luxury development in WRNF
3. Lower Blue Residents United - stop open pit mine in unspoiled ranch country
4. Safe Passages - protect wildlife from collisions with vehicles on Vail Pass
5. Rename the Gore Range - possibly to the Nuches Mountains (Ute word for "Ute")

We begin with an introduction by CURRIE CRAVEN, co-founder and longtime President of FENW.
INTRODUCTION:
CURRIE CRAVEN
When Friends of the Eagles Nest Wilderness was founded 25 years ago, four operating tenants were agreed upon. These were;  Education, Outreach, Stewardship, and Advocacy.  Of these, the preponderance of comments concerned Advocacy.  Indeed, some have questioned the role of Advocacy in a public land volunteer group at any level.  Decisions regarding which volunteer organization one may choose to support have many influences.  Fortunately, one may choose from many fine volunteer organizations, individual projects or service, locally and beyond with multiple beliefs.  I venture all organizations and projects are grateful for volunteers.
 
Advocacy is not necessarily rigid, confrontational, nor predictable.  Advocacy may be recognized as having expertise and extensive knowledge regarding diverse subjects. Such recognition led to FENW being invited to participate in the most recent White River National Forest (WRNF) Plan revision.  Our  literal, “place at the table” on the Special Areas and Travel Management Task Forces allowed FENW representatives to be a “voice” multiplier.  Our input contributed directly to critical portions of the highest part of the Eagles Nest Wilderness to remain in the “Pristine” designation.  This preserves these rarely trodden lands as pure Wilderness.
 
Advocacy was FENW’s motivation, inspired by scientific study, for our involvement in the development application process at Jones Gulch in Keystone.  When wildlife biologists expressed concern for disruptions to the critical habitat and connectivity of one of the last undisturbed such critter opportunities, FENW championed the cause at over 20 planning commission meetings, ultimately seeing the project denied. (See Summit Daily article)
 
I am sure my esteemed reader noted my persistent capitalization of Advocacy.  As noted, Advocacy inspires discussion.  Advocacy contains emotion. Emotion which becomes passionate may inspire or repulse.  Advocacy has been a consistent pillar of FENW member’s world view.  Prior to adopting active positions, endorsements, or causes, the FENW Board has always voted and acted in what later examination has deemed prudent.  Advocacy, for many lovers of Wilderness, is as natural and essential as breathing.  As long as I may be part of FENW/ESWA, Advocacy capitalization will be an act of conscience and respect.
 
Stay strong.  Advocacy is something one can do from anywhere and at any stage in life or one’s  volunteer career and is arguably the most important contribution.  Always stay strong and involved. 
1. CORE Act
Letter to the Editor in the Summit Daily & in the Vail Daily
Dear Editor,
Thank you Representative Neguse and Senator Bennet for the CORE Act, which will protect 400,000 acres of critical Wilderness and wildlife habitat across Colorado.
 
 For the past 25 years, the volunteers of Eagle Summit Wilderness Alliance (formerly Friends of Eagles Nest Wilderness) have observed firsthand the increase - now explosion - in visitors to our Wilderness areas. Today, the pristine ecosystems that hikers expect to encounter are challenged as never before. Our mission is to help the Forest Service preserve and repair these treasures. Each year our trail & campsite crews rehab dozens of camps, clear hundreds of trees from trails, and combat invasive weeds. Our citizen rangers assist and educate more than 12,000 visitors on the trails.
 
Stopgap measures such as encouraging alternative trail choices and mandatory permitting are not enough. We need more capacity. The CORE Act offers exactly that, with its promise of three new Wildernesses and additions to two others on the White River National Forest in Summit and Eagle Counties. It's a straightforward solution, shaped by a vast coalition of stakeholders. Mountain bikers will  retain access to 17,000 acres in the Tenmile Range. Wildlife will get new conservation areas. Colorado history will be preserved in the Camp Hale National Historic Landscape, without changing current recreation access. Across the state, new protections for a variety of public lands are supported by majorities of local residents and by the County Commissions in every county directly affected by the bill. 
 
Now, the fate of this bill depends on Senator Gardner, who so far is the only Colorado Senator ever to not support new Wilderness for Colorado. Contact Senator Gardner (202) 224-5941 and urge him to support this bill in the U.S. Senate.
 
Bill Betz
Chair, Eagle Summit Wilderness Alliance
(formerly Friends of Eagles Nest Wilderness)

 

2. BUCK BERLAIMONT
Alicia Zeringue
Wilderness Workshop
www.wildernessworkshop.org

The Berlaimont Estates project proposes a new paved road, 26-feet in width across 4.2 miles of National Forest in the heart of some of Eagle County’s best remaining wildlife habitat. The road would access a 680-acre, private inholding deep inside the forest, zigzagging through prime deer and elk winter range, in order to create a new luxury subdivision, 2,000 feet above the community of Edwards.
 
If the paved road is approved, our fragile deer and elk herds will lose habitat they rely upon for survival during the coldest months of the year—a period when these animals survive on starvation rations and every calorie counts. What is now a sanctuary for wintering wildlife will be bisected by a new road and more than 200 vehicle trips per day to service the proposed subdivision. Resident deer and elk populations have been in dramatic decline for years now, largely due to land use decisions people have made resulting in development of important habitat, and this project will add to the decline by fragmenting one of the last best swaths of winter habitat. The project will also impact several rare plant species in the area, and precious water resources in the Eagle River Valley. 
 
The local community has expressed widespread opposition to the project, having submitted more than 700 comments during the Forest Service's comment period for the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in February 2018, with 95% of comments opposed to the project. Additionally, more than 3,900 petition signatures have been collected in opposition to date, and more than 200 locals, including State Senator and Representative Kerry Donovan and Dylan Roberts attended an opposition rally in March 2019. Dozens of letters to the editor and op-eds speaking out against this unreasonable proposal continue flow to the local press almost weekly. Importantly, the overwhelming public backlash against this project inspired letters of opposition to the Forest Service from state elected officials Donovan and Roberts and Senator Michael Bennet, Congressman Joe Neguse and Governor Jared Polis, as well as Dan Gibbs, director of the State Dept. of Natural Resources.
 
The Forest Service is expected to issue its final decision on the proposed new access road this winter. The landowner claims that the USFS is obligated to provide improved access. However, the Berlaimont parcel already has adequate access via an existing dirt road—the same access that existed when the current owner purchased the parcel—and the Forest Service has no obligation to provide expanded or paved access. There is still time to influence the Forest Service's decision. Visit www.wildernessworkshop.org/buck-berlaimont to learn about all the ways you can help stop this damaging road.
Please consider donating to Wilderness Workshop.
See also, FENW April 2019 eNewsletter, by Peter Hart, Staff Attorney, Wilderness Workshop.
3. LOWER BLUE RESIDENTS UNITED
John Fielder
BACKGROUND: On October 15, 2018, Lower Blue valley resident, Julie Hillyard, sold her 80-acre ranch to Peak Materials (formerly LG Everest), operators of the Maryland Creek gravel/aggregate mine north of Silverthorne. The property lies 10 miles north of Silverthorne in between Highway 9 and the Blue River near its confluence with Slate Creek, and just south of the Ute Pass Road. Click here for context map. Peak Materials is a subsidiary of Kilgore Companies, which in turn is a subsidiary of Summit Materials, a national company based in Denver that specializes in mining aggregates and making concrete.
Peak Materials has determined that only limited inventory of aggregate remains at the Maryland Creek site necessitating the company to seek new gravel mining locations. Peak plans to mine aggregate at the Hillyard site and truck it to Maryland Creek for processing. This proposal would fundamentally change the character of the Lower Blue River valley and would require up to 230 truck trips per day (full load south, empty load north).
 
Summit County Planning Department requires that a Conditional Use Permit be acquired for such operations. The application would be evaluated based upon the Summit County Land Use and Development Code. The Lower Blue Planning Commission is responsible for conducting the review, which would happen 90 days from application. The Hillyard property permit would be a new one, but Peak Materials would also need approval of an updated Maryland Creek permit since that permit does not allow material to be imported from other locations. If LBPC does not recommend approval of the permits, Peak Materials can appeal the decision to Summit County Board of Commissioners.
 
Peak Materials ultimately must gain approval from Summit County, as well as Colorado Mine Land Reclamation Board. CMLRB is a multi-interest citizen board which establishes the regulations, standards and policies that guide the Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety. The Board was created in 1976 by the Colorado General Assembly. Members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the legislature, serving terms of 4 years.

UPDATE: There has been no further action by the mining company since the last update (July 31)
Visit the LBRU website for more information.
4. SAFE PASSAGES
Ashley Nettles
The big news is that Summit County Safe Passages (SCSP) is kicking off the engineering design study for the 3 proposed crossing structures on the east side of Vail Pass. The National Forest Foundation awarded the contract to Wood Consulting and we have a kick-off meeting this week. It will be a year long study that will give us specifics of the exact dimensions for the structures as well as exact location. It will help to bring any environmental issues to light - if there are any that turn up. This study was made possible from the generosity of Vail Resorts, Arapahoe Basin and the Center for Large Landscape Conservation.

We hosted a film screening of Cascade Crossroads at Wilderness Sports in Dillon on November 15. \We made a presentation on our local initiatives, and presented some awesome door prizes, thanks to our partners. 

The other item to note is that Copper Mountain will be selling $99 lift tickets as part of their Play Forever Fridays throughout the winter. $5 from each online ticket sold will go towards SCSP on February 28, 2020.

Check out our updated website HERE.
Read a lot more about Safe Passages in two recent eNewsletters:
May 2019
(by Paige SInger) and June 2019 (also by Paige Singer) 
5. RENAME THE GORE RANGE
BACKGROUND: The campaign to rename the Gore Range, led by Karn Stiegelmeier, began several years ago. Lord George Gore was a man who earned the deep animosity of both Native Americans and the US government, simultaneously. His cruel slaughter of countless bison, elk, deer, and other game animals, left to waste (1854-57) deprived the native population of a vital food supply,  To top it off, Gore never ventured south of the Colorado River, and thus he never set foot in the core of the magnificent mountain range later named after him.
     These mountains lie in the heart of the homeland of the original inhabitants, the Ute Indians, whose stewardship preserved the area for thousands of years. Read more HERE.
 
UPDATE: Karn Stiegelmeier writes: Governor Polis and staff are in the final phase of interviews to appoint a new Commissioner of Indian Affairs.  The new councils for the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute tribes want to take action, and at the next Tri-Ute meeting, they will take up the resolution to change the name of Gore to Nuches. That meeting is not yet scheduled; It may be in January. (Nuches means "Ute" in the Ute language)
 
Make a donation to FENW....
 
 
... make a difference!

Check out other recent monthly eNewsletters
Hard copy newsletterThe Fall 2019 hard copy newsletter will be mailed later this month. If you haven't been receiving issues - which contain about two dozen fun and informative articles about us, past, present, and future - then we don't have your mailing address - please send it to us at info@fenw.org
 
 
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Join us! Next  Planning Meeting
THURSDAY DECEMBER 12, 5:30 PM,
Venue TBD 
Details at www.fenw.org/

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