I was sad to go on a hike in Slaughterhouse canyon earlier this month. It was shocking to see the severe hillside scaring caused by the BLM Travel Plan trail construction. The path that was cut into the mountainside measures at most 5 feet in width, but can reach 8 feet in some places. Many of the cuts were more than 6 feet wide, and the gravel scree debris left scars that extended over 20 feet.
I understand that the BLM underwent years of planning, consultation and collaboration with the Wood River community. I was able to see the lines drawn on the map after I had read the plan. I attended public hearings, presentations, and sat in on them. But I didn’t see the real impact on our hillsides. This trail work has without a doubt caused the most serious desecration to our hillsides since the Forest Service Terracing of Hillsides in the north valley to stop erosion by sheep overgrazing.
I also acknowledge that local planning laws don’t restrict state or Federal agencies from using government lands. But governmental agencies need to be able recognize local community values. Our economic success is dependent on our efforts to preserve the natural environment. It is ironic, however, that economic success has led to recreational planning on BLM lands which has destroyed the very environment we all value as a vital part of who we are here in this valley.
BLM plans to build 70-plus miles of trails. Bellevue is only the beginning