It was disappointing to read that both Sen. Bennet and Rep. Salazar have bowed to special interests and ignored the conclusion of the exhaustive study made by the Forest Service in the Hermosa Park-Mitchell Lakes land exchange. Read the Environmental Impact Statement. You will be hard-pressed to support any other option than the one favoring the trade selected by the professionals who make the study and well-being of the National Forest the work of a lifetime.
The opponents of the exchange have tried to confuse the issue by making a call to save Haviland Lake, Haviland Recreation Area and finally Chris Park. In truth, neither the lake, the recreation area nor the park are being threatened, and they know it.
The proposed agreement will expand the Glacier Club property to within 600 feet of a group camping site. The campers’ outdoor experience will be more severely affected by the folks in the adjacent group campsite than a sleepy subdivision out of sight and two football fields away.
The land the Glacier Club will gain is best described as the forest adjacent to a subdivision, in this case, the Glacier Club itself. As such, that parcel is the least desirable and presents the best choice of the four parcels in the trade for residential development. Good planning calls for development to cluster housing and preserve open space. The proposed trade accomplishes this goal.
The acquisition of Mitchell Lakes, Hermosa Park and the Iron Clad wilderness tract for the public will eliminate the threat of development on those parcels. One look at lights shining brightly from the Celadon development high on Missionary Ridge puts to rest any thought that Mitchell Lakes or Hermosa won’t someday find a buyer and developer.
While it is true that the forest adjacent to the Glacier Club is nice, the lands proposed for exchange are much nicer. We get 330 acres of wetlands, critical trout habitat and wilderness for 265 acres of land adjacent to a development. It’s a no-brainer.
Save Hermosa Park. Save Mitchell Lakes. Save the wilderness.
Christopher Wing, Durango