Having grown up in the Eagle Valley, I know it is a stunning place. Public lands and a rich natural environment sustain an amazing quality of life for locals. Clean air and water, majestic mountains, raging rivers, abundant wildlife and recreation opportunities are foundational to the area’s character and economy. We should be uniformly committed to protecting these values.

The population of Eagle County is expected to nearly double in coming decades. That growth will seriously impact these values. More than ever before, it’s in our best interest to be thoughtful about how and where new development occurs. Yet we continue to entertain and approve land-use proposals that diminish and jeopardize community values.

The U.S. Forest Service is currently considering approval of a new two-lane paved road across public lands north of Edwards to facilitate development of Berlaimont Estates — 19 new mansions, 2,000 vertical feet above town. The sprawling subdivision would be developed on a parcel that is completely surrounded by National Forest.

Unlike other nearby neighborhoods (e.g., Wildridge and Mountain Star), public land managers must approve a new road across lands owned by you and me to facilitate this proposal. To approve the new road, the Forest Service must deem Berlaimont Estates a “reasonable” land use.

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