This letter is in response to David A. Lien's letter to the editor titled "More motorized routes should be closed" in the Feb. 27 edition of the DCI.
Mr. Lien mentioned his opposition to the opinion of the Rocky Mountain Mule Deer Association regarding the importance of opportunity for hunters and anglers to be able to have access to hunting and angling on our public lands.
I would like to mention that the Rocky Mountain Mule Deer Association is an association dedicated to the health and environment issues related to our wildlife and their purpose is to ensure there not only continues to be healthy numbers of game for hunting opportunities, but for the overall health of the wildlife and their environment. They are also dedicated to being a voice in giving EVERYONE a fair opportunity to hunt and fish and enjoy our public lands and not just cater to the young, fit people who are not aged or physically handicapped in any way.
Mr. Lien mentions that overuse of motorized vehicles is the biggest threat to our public lands and habitats, however I have seen more thousands of acres damaged and threatened by huge wildfires that leave huge areas of black, charred, barren land that will never return to its natural state in our lifetimes due to the lack of roads and severe policies for going off road to be able to get in there and fight them efficiently, and by the thousands of acres of entire pine and juniper forests being lost to the beetle epidemic since loggers are not allowed to go in and harvest those infected stands to prevent the spread of the beetles, and by lessening funding from hunters and anglers (the majority of where our funds come from for forest and wildlife maintenance) due to severely lessened opportunities to hunt and fish because they are finding less and less access to be able to participate in those activities due to road closures and the severe policies of going off road, to name a few.
Mr. Lien mentions that only 8% of national forest acreage and only 4% of BLM acreage lies beyond one mile from a road, and I would love to know where those statistics come from, because it doesn't take a rocket scientist to drive up to the mountains and look across the huge valleys and canyons and vast country that in so many areas in this state wouldn't even geologically allow for a road to be built, let alone the absence of roads to be seen that often.
Mr. Lien mentions that CPW district ranger Derek Padilla stated that there are too many roads and not enough space for people to separate themselves from other people, then I challenge Mr. Padilla to park his vehicle, and start walking in any direction in our forests or BLM, and I guarantee that you will be separated from people (unless you are at a campground or organized tourist area). And, one of the reasons Mr. Padilla may feel like you cannot separate yourself from other people in these areas anymore is because they have forced all outdoor interests to the main roads where the vehicles, ATVs, ORVs, motorcycles, etc. all must recreate in the same area rather than giving them an opportunity to spread out on already existing off roads and trails.
Mr. Lien mentions that elk migration suffers from roads, and that means less hunting opportunity, yet I am assuming that is not the case since the elk population has been above objectives for a number of years in a number of areas in this state due to overpopulation, and the only thing that I see threatening hunting opportunity is the lack of accessibility for hunters to hunt them.
Mr. Lien mentions that if you aren't tough enough (or "too lazy") to walk several miles of rugged terrain into the hunting areas sporting a heavy pack, and pack out hundreds of pounds of harvested meat, then you have no business being out there, and you might as well buy easy food at the supermarket. I challenge Mr. Lien to say those same words to a disabled or aged veteran that fought for the same freedoms Mr. Lien is trying to deny him of.
Our public lands are OUR public lands, meaning they are also owned by people who are physically handicapped or aged or incapable of enjoying our public lands by any other means other than the aid of motorized access.