Get real, ranchers

  Dear HCN,

Your "Saving the Ranch" issue Nov. 27 really stunk. I guess I shouldn't have expected an Aspen reporter to speak truthfully about Steamboat Springs.

Your reporter states that "Nine out of 10 people surveyed in 1993 said they believe that ranch meadows and grasslands with grazing cows and horses enhance their lives." And nine out of 10 dentists recommend Trident for their patients who choose gum. Get real! Ten out of 10 people believe that meadows and grasslands enhance their lives - without horseshit, cowshit and crybaby ranchers trying to avoid inheritance taxes.

Before I agree to compensate ranchers like you, Mr. Fetcher (for protecting open space), you should compensate the public by granting public access through your fields aplenty, so we can paddle the Elk River without barbed wire at nose level, catch and release river trout (not your highly touted dam(n) reservoir species), and maybe even mountain bike without getting run off the road.

What else disgusts me? The Nature Conservancy starting a "trial-and-error program for managing cattle in the river's bottomlands." Cattle do not belong in river ecosystems and riparian zones. You can shake a rancher's hand, but why are you going to bed with him?

Wano Urbonas

Durango, Colorado

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