Letters: 1/11/18

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Shooting on forest land

In 2018, the U.S. Forest Service will amend the Forest Plan regarding Recreational Sport Shooting (RSS) on nearby National Forest Service lands. Four “alternative management strategies” have been drafted in collaboration with stakeholders comprising the Northern Front Range Sport Shooting Management Partnership. This effort seeks to adopt a balanced management strategy in response to growing concerns and conflicts resulting from increased sport shooting activity — which is currently allowed on public lands. Lawful hunting activities are not affected.

For those unfamiliar with the impacts of recreational sport shooting, and “dispersed recreational sport shooting” in particular, I offer this story. A couple of years ago I joined some friends for a day of rock climbing. We drove past Lyons on Highway 7 and turned onto Bunce School Road. Reaching our destination, we were surrounded by beautiful forest and rock outcroppings. For the entire day barely a minute passed without the jarring barrage of noise from pistol and military-style gunfire.

There are serious negative consequences of sport shooting on our public lands, which include: 1. Jeopardizing the safety of others; 2. Destroying the peaceful enjoyment of our public lands; 3. Degrading wildlife habitat; 4. Sacrificing the quality of life for rural residents — without their consent; 5. Increasing the risk of forest fires; and 6. Polluting land, water and wildlife with lead bullets. 

Unbelievably, three of the four alternatives would designate large swaths of the 10 “wilderness areas,” including Indian Peaks Wilderness and James Peak Wilderness, as “suitable for dispersed recreational sport shooting.” Only Alternative 4 designates wilderness areas as “unsuitable” for RSS, while providing additional shooting ranges: “Alternative 4: No Dispersed Shooting anywhere on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests.”

Questions? Contact Garry Sanfacon at gsanfacon@bouldercounty.org. Wilderness or sport shooting — you decide. Please become informed and submit your comment today: sportshootingpartners.org/commentform. 

Kimberly Gibbs/Gunbarrel

We need citizen
involvement before fracking

If you are anything like me, you enjoy a walk in open space in Boulder County. If you are anything like me, you enjoy quiet in your neighborhood, the sound of children, the fresh air, the feeling of safety.

If you are anything like me, you were shocked to see in Sunday’s Daily Camera that fracking is fast approaching our open space, our neighborhoods, our schools. If you are anything like me, you want to yell, “Stop!  Please, for the sake of sanity: Stop!” This is not something that Congress can reverse in a few years. This will be irreparable.

Oil and gas is not my enemy. But, we cannot, in good conscience, allow the fracking permits to start a process without citizen involvement, scientific input, and shared decision-making.

We, the voters, have accumulated $74 million to support Boulder County’s Open Space program. We have the right to ask the Commissioners to use their authority to allocate theses taxpayer dollars to preserve open space. The goals of the open space program include: “preservation of open space land” and “continued management and maintenance of existing open space areas.”    

If you are anything like me, you will want to add your voice to help us hold our ground. Join me in writing to the Boulder County Commissioners, PO Box 471, Boulder, CO 80306. Or emailing: Commissioners@bouldercounty.org. Let them know you want them to allocate some of our money toward legally protecting our publicly owned open space against fracking, which would surely go against “preservation of critical ecosystems, natural areas, wildlife habitat.” For more information go to resilientcommunitiesnetwork.org

Your children and grandchildren will thank you for protecting their open space, their water, their air, their health and their deserved future.

Shana Parker/Boulder

To those who care about safety in the mountains

In the summer of 2017, over a span of 43 days, there were five deaths on Capitol Peak.

Five sets of friends, families and communities were devastated by the tragic and unnecessary loss of dear friends, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons and community members who attempted to climb Capitol this summer and lost their lives in the process. We are still filled with overwhelming sadness and grief for those that are dearly missed.

The December issue of 5280 magazine, which featured a prominent piece about climbing Colorado’s 14ers and an accompanying cover shot of Capitol, was irresponsibly, unconscionably and callously written in the wake of these tragedies.

Capitol Peak is notorious for being one of the state’s most dangerous 14ers, but the five lives it claimed this summer were unprecedented. In the previous 10 years, four people lost their lives climbing Capitol, but in 2017, five perished over a span of six weeks.

It was an insult to the memory of those we have lost that a widely read and respected magazine for Colorado’s outdoor community, with a veteran editorial staff, had the audacity and gall to publish a story of this nature — in effect challenging readers to climb Capitol Peak if they had the “nerve” and (necessary skill) — as an afterthought. As a major publication in the outdoor space, 5280 has the obligation and duty to equip their readers with the information and safety tips they need to be successful in exploring the outdoors — and not romanticize or downplay the dangers of Mother Nature.

The language used by the authors was problematic to say the least, insulting and devastating to read at worst. “The nerve” … as though a highly technical, dangerous climb can be taken as a dare or game. I am irrevocably disappointed in the staff of 5280 for such a callous turn of phrase, given recent events.

Even more galling is the photo that snagged the cover of last month’s issue — featuring a climber straddling the infamous Knife Edge Ridge — without a helmet. Choosing to portray the climb as a cakewalk instead of a serious endeavor to the public implies that the route can be accomplished or “bagged” by the casual climber or even someone with little experience or knowledge of mountain safety.

Readers may very well attempt to summit Capitol unprepared, without the necessary skill level after being exposed to magazine covers, social media and newspapers — given the nonchalant language and accompanying photos that are being published with little regard for human life.

Media should be taking the lead and promoting safe, sane and responsible outdoor recreation.

Readers deserve a public apology, as well as a commitment that this type of article and language will never again be seen in the magazine. Editorial staff have a journalistic and moral obligation to do their research, prepare their readers and portray a realistic portrait of their recommendations.

Colorado readers, as well as the families of the five, deserve better.

Liz Rovira/Aspen

Our manipulated president

President Trump continues to believe Putin’s comments, and questions the U.S. intelligence agencies’ analyses about Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Trump does not want the validity of his election as president to be questioned, but his criticism of our intelligence agencies and the FBI poses a risk to national security. The new FBI Director, Christopher Wray, is reassigning the top echelon in the FBI to purge it of agents who Trump dislikes, and it is quite similar to the operations of past and current foreign despotic rulers.

Trump, and the country, have to rely on our intelligence agencies and the FBI to provide information on our adversaries in the world. If the agencies do not trust the President, they might be adversely affected in doing their jobs. I heard that morale takes a hit at the agencies every time Trump criticizes them. Trump is disrupting our intelligence agencies and the FBI.

Unfortunately, Russia, China and other countries know that Trump likes to be flattered, which they are happy to do in order to receive favorable treatment by our insecure President.

Our adversaries in the world are manipulating Trump to obtain concessions, and our national security is in jeopardy.

Donald Moskowitz/via internet