Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story.
"It's really a pivotal moment. The battle lines have been drawn. We're pointing our fingers, but we're pointing them pretty much at ourselves. We're saying that we have to start exercising restraint in when and where we choose to recreate. A lot of people would find that a hard choice to make, and they'd rather not make it. They'd rather just keep it the status quo."
* Beverly Compton, Aspen Wilderness Workshop
"Everybody will have to give up something."
* Gary Lindstrom, Summit County commissioner
"We believe that during the next decade or two, impacts from industrial-level recreation will exceed those of commercial logging. We didn't think the Forest Service had the guts or fortitude or political will to put industrial-level recreation under control before massive danger was done. Then along comes the White River Forest plan that says, maybe we'll try to fight this and put it under control."
* Jasper Carlton, executive director, Biodiversity Legal Foundation
"Outside of the Holy Cross Wilderness Area (in the White River National Forest), an individual would be hard pressed to find a location that is more than two miles from a road in the Eagle South District. Most places, it is closer to one mile or less. The addition of more roads will only lead to loss of wildlife habitat, increased sedimentation in our waterways, noise pollution, loss of solitude, more erosion, etc."
* 1999 advisory memo from the Colorado Division of Wildlife
"The debate over forest management continues to be driven by outdated models from a bygone era. We should be talking about the condition we want on the land. We should be talking about what we leave rather than what we take."
* Michael Dombeck, Forest Service chief, commenting Oct. 7, on the vision of Aldo Leopold for the Forest Service
"If you read the draft environmental impact statement carefully, you will find that the herds of mule deer and elk are as abundant as they were before European settlement. You will also find that some species, the grizzly bear and the wolf, are extinct, and that other species, such as the lynx and the wolverine, are thought to be nearly extinct here. Tell me, was it the mountain bikers and dirt bikers and four-wheelers that killed them? Was it the ski areas or any other form of recreation?
"I don't think so. I think you have to look at grazing and other forest users. But extreme environmentalists have to have some kind of enemy. Since the timber sales have ended, and the mining has ended, now they have made recreation their enemy.
"But recreational impacts are miniscule compared to those other things. What impact does a motorcycle cause? All of the motorcycles in Eagle County in a year's time cause less erosion than does one bulldozer in one pass into a hillside."
* Tony Vangalis, dirt biker, Eagle Valley
"To take the areas immediately surrounding ski areas and block them off from development is a very short-sighted thing to do, because we already have the infrastructure in place for a ski area, and because of their very nature, being capital intensive in one area, it's only logical to expand to adjacent areas."
* Geraldine Hughes, director of public affairs for the National Ski Areas Association
"If you are making closure decisions specifically to protect wildlife habitat, certainly that effort we support, but we want to be sure that there are legitimate reasons, and it's not just a way to close trails and hide behind wildlife."
* Jennifer Lamb, advocacy director of the International Mountain Bicycling Association
"We believe that the plan is overly restrictive, is based upon inadequate site-specific analysis, and potentially is going to have a severe economic impact on not only the White River itself, but statewide.
"Second, we believe this particular plan is being orchestrated much more from Washington than it ought to be. That it's not being responsive to the needs of individuals locally, but is designed to fulfill another agenda, that agenda being way up in the administrative ladder."
* Jerry Abboud, executive director of the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition
"This is just the beginning. Anything from (Alternative) B to I is up for grabs. Use is largely unrestricted at any time of the year, aside from some uses inside wilderness areas. That's the condition we're looking at now. You look at the growth of the last decade or more. It raises the question of the next 15 years, and can this forest manage double the users without any confinement or restrictions on those uses, and still maintain a healthy ecosystem?"
* Martha Ketelle, White River National Forest Supervisor
"This is a money plan, not an ecology plan. Don't kid yourself. They're saving money by closing roads, because they don't generate any money."
* Alex Cunningham, senior policy planner for Eagle County, Colo.
"The timber cut is the old story. Today's debate is about access. Recreation is the context in which all these controversies will play themselves off."
* Doug Kenney, a research associate for the Natural Resources Law Center in Boulder, Colo.
"(Is our plan) an elitist plan? There's nothing more democratic than walking. But to join the motorized club you have to drop six grand on a new toy, another grand on a trailer to haul it around with, and several more grand on a place to store it.
"Our plan doesn't discriminate against motorized users. It's open to all. It's just that you have to leave the toy behind.
"I'm really fed up with these middle-aged, overweight beer-gut guys who don't keep themselves in shape hiding behind disabled little old ladies, saying if you don't allow motorized access you're discriminating. These guys are simply hiding behind their own motorized thrill sport. I wish they would make the argument a little more honest.
"Five of my board members are women over the age of 70 who regularly hike in the wilderness."
* Sloan Shoemaker, director of the nonprofit Aspen Wilderness Workshop, on Alternative I, the citizens' alternative
"Fundamentally, Alternative D rejects the idea that wildlife and environmental preservation can be balanced with recreation. The Forest Service instead has indicated that preservation is inconsistent with recreation and other human uses on Forest Service lands."
* Harris Sherman, an attorney for Summit County and Vail Valley ski resorts
"... a museum without visitors."
* Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Colo., describing the Forest Service vision for the White River Forest
"The White River National Forest is not just a Colorado issue. We've been trying to get the word out to others."
* Mel Wolf, Colorado Snowmobile Association
"Mountain biking can co-exist comfortably with the Forest Service plan, but it's a new job for the Forest Service to police trails."
* Frank Celico, president of the Summit Fat Tire Society
"We have a road system that is not managed very well. We have some roads that were scheduled to be closed in the "85 plan, and the job never got done."
* Dan Hormachea, forest planner for the White River National Forest
"When people tell me, "You're out on the edge, you're all alone," I have to tell them, "We're following our mandate (from Washington). We're not alone. The mandate tells us things to emphasize. It doesn't say where on the forest. They set the policy, and we implement it."
* Carolyn Upton, White River Forest planner
"Nobody in the audience is going to get upset unless their toes are stepped on. They danced in the audience on this one.
"This is the first time the mountain-bike community has been injured in process, and they will be injured proportionately greater than the other groups simply because they're new to the process. They aren't organized, they're not pooling their funds, they're not being fully represented, and because of the way they have dealt for the last 15 years ... I'm not sure they are going to find cooperative partners in the motorized community to help them."
* John Martin, a board member of the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition
"This is very precedent-setting. I think everybody is looking to see if this decision will stand, and to send a message to other upcoming forest plan revisions as to how they can balance recreation and ecosystem health."
* Roz McClellan, Rocky Mountain Recreation Initiative
"Our directors support the biodiversity theme of Alternative D because it makes for a better natural mountain environment. I think the board also realizes there have to be limits on human uses or intrusions into the backcountry. I think the board recognizes that if it means cutting back on a number of future huts, that's more important. And finally, we believe the plan is well-conceived, setting limits and still allowing some use."
* Peter Looram, executive director, 10th Mountain Hut Association
"Is our forest irreparably damaged, or becoming so? Elk herds roam in record numbers, bears are everywhere, mountain lions stalk, coyotes howl. Go for a hike, mountain bike pedal or jeep ride, and the lush forest will astound you with its wealth of flowers, insects, birds and beasts."
* Randy Parsons, motorized user from Silt, Colo., and member of the White River Forest Alliance
"We have some science. If you want the depth of science that proves a certain number of motor trips or certain number of people in a certain hour that disrupts the mating cycle of species X, Y, Z, no, that's not there yet, and it may not never be.
"I don't know of anything (else among forest plans) that goes this far in trail closures. It would set a very good precedent. It would say to other forests: "You can do it, you'll take some heat, but the Forest Service is finally starting to do what it should be doing." Motor use has to be addressed, because it has grown out of control in recent years."
* Rocky Smith, staffer with the nonprofit Colorado Wild
"I don't know how you're going to enforce all the closures."
* Bruce Campbell, a member of the High Country Snowmobile Club Association