Thank you for not just shutting down our forests, but a way of life |

Thank you for not just shutting down our forests, but a way of life

Alan F. Clayton
Fraser, CO Colorado

I would like to thank the environmentalists, the U.S. Forest Service and the mountain biking community for once again being bone headed. Let’s not forget to also thank our new Parks and Wildlife Department of Colorado.

Shall we start at the beginning?

Roll back time to the late ’70s and early ’80s. Logging was a way of life in our mountains and had been for more than a century. Many families and communities were supported by this industry. The pine beetle was being recognized as a threat by the U.S. Forest Service. They were actually trying to get control of the problem early. Logging operations were under way to provide a solution to the pine beetle problem. Roads were being built and trees were cut that were already infested or were large enough to support the beetle.

Enter stage left. The illustrious environmental community, who like no other, knew what was best for the people who had settled and cared for these mountain forests for years. The clear cutting of our forests was an eyesore to them. As a result of political pressure, the EPA put restrictions on the local sawmills that would be so cost prohibitive as to eventually shut down all sawmills in the area. The first bullet of stupidity had been fired.

Forests that were being managed had been stripped of a very valuable tool. It was not cost effective to haul logs all the way to Wyoming to be processed. Logging as a solution to many health problems of our forests had been taken away. The logging operations halted or were scaled back to be non-effective. Roads to access the problem areas were either closed or as per environmentalist regulation reclaimed.

The U.S. Forest Service now had no way to wage war against the formidable beetle. They gave up the battle and lost the war. The pine beetle prospered and destroyed our forests. If you will notice, the areas that had been clear cut are now islands of healthy trees amidst a dead forest. Wonderful job and a great big thank you go out to the quick thinking and never wrong protectors of our surroundings – the environmentalists, who have now successfully ended a way of life for the mountain people and destroyed what we fought so hard to protect.

Enter stage right. The mountain biking community, who have less vision than the environmentalists. They have used the forests and made trails that mark their inconsiderate ways in every direction. Almost as destructive as the pine beetle. Leaving huge man-made ruts and sunken trails that will not heal for decades or longer. Also the amount of trash they leave behind is staggering. I have not met a more inconsiderate group of people anywhere. Now the mountain biking community has become a politically powerful entity for all to bow down to.

Re-enter the U.S. Forest Service, who now are jumping to the whims of the mountain biker. They have begun to reclaim the logging roads. These roads are now being turned into trails to accommodate only mountain bikes, ATVs and foot travel. The roads that have been built and used by the generations of people who grew up in this area are now being given over to the political pressure of a group that has substantially more power than brains.

This reclamation effectively denies access to areas that have always been cherished. Access has been denied to the disabled and the elderly that have enjoyed the same rights as are now given only to mountain bikers, riders of ATVs and hikers. Those of us who cannot gain access by the above methods are now excluded from the very areas we as locals have pioneered and tried to protect from political idiocy. A great big shout-out to the inconsiderate mountain biking community and again to our insightful U.S. Forest Service.

Now to the latest act of discrimination caused by our inconsiderate bikers.

Due to the destruction of our forests by the pine beetle, the cause of which we now all know, there are now standing dead or dying trees everywhere.

The U.S. Forest Service trying to do the right thing by cutting and removing the debris, was prevented from doing so earlier this year by our holier than thou mountain bikers who refused to stay out of the logging areas. The result of this inconsiderate action has now been to close a 29,000 acre parcel of forest to any who wish to use it. Not just the inconsiderate ones.

Once again the pioneers of the area are taking a beating caused by the idiocy of others. We have had our livelihood taken away. Our forests have been destroyed. Our access has been “Reclaimed.”

Now our ability to feed our families through hunting has been shut down in this area.

The hunters pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife for the privilege to hunt. The Colorado Division of Wildlife would have stood up for our rights. The newly reformed Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife have abandoned the rights of the people who pay their salaries. A big shout-out to the new Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife for their monumental inaction.

The insanity and injustice continues within our governmental agencies to an amazing degree. They have successfully brought discrimination and punishment to all pioneers and hunters of this area.

Thank you to the environmentalists that caused the problem by stopping the solution. Thank you to the mountain bikers with no regard for others. Thank you to the wonderfully illustrious U.S. Forest Service, who only does that which is good for the politically powerful. And thank you to the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife, who have abandoned those loyal to them for generations.

All of this has made life better for whom?

Thank you from a member of a family that has lived in Grand County for six generations.

Alan F. Clayton


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