Tom Blanchard’s well written letter to the editor ("Don't let recreation destroy our environment," Wednesday, Dec. 22) inspired me to write. Near the end, he said, ”Our efforts to protect the natural conditions of our environment is key to our economic success. It’s sadly ironic that economic success led to growth that led to recreational planning on BLM lands that destroyed the very treasured natural environment we all feel is critical to who we are in this valley.”

I am in total agreement with Mr. Blanchard. The BLM's travel plan has been in the works for many years, but the information presented to the public has been sparse, hard to understand and difficult to access. The powers that be, who meet behind closed doors and make decisions about hiking, biking, skiing, and motorized vehicles, have decided to scar the hillsides around the valley with more and more recreational trails. Seventy miles! More people, more recreating, more trails, less wildlife.

To put it as simply as possible, I believe most of us live here because we want to. We love living in these mountains, and love all the attributes they bring to us, especially seeing the wildlife we have. We can’t close the door to keep others away, but we can request that everyone respect the wildlife and obey the rules of recreating here. Whether we are in a park or on the trails, we need to turn back when we see wintering animals. They are trying to survive without many acres of their natural winter habitat left to them. Residents and visitors alike need to pay attention to their surroundings.

Look before you head out the trails. Stay on trails, respect winter closures, and turn around if you see wildlife. Please remember that the presence of wildlife makes our community unique and special.

Janet Carter


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