Recent articles published by The Aspen Times and Aspen Journalism have covered the Forest Service’s analysis and imminent final decision on the Hunter-Smuggler Plan. These articles have focused too much on past conflicts (old news) and not enough on the recent collaboration between the groups working to develop and shape the plan (new news). Specifically, a recent letter jointly written and signed by ACES, Wilderness Workshop, the city of Aspen and Pitkin County details 13 recommendations to the Forest Service as it makes its final adjustments and decision on the plan. These recommendations represent the best of collaborative efforts and common sense suggestions that all our groups and local governments agree upon.
These include clarifying that no roads will be built as part of the project and providing an increase in specificity as to where vegetation projects and new trails might occur. Perhaps most importantly, the recommendations call for a true collaborative approach in designing individual projects as the plan is carried out.
The aim of the plan is to manage Hunter Creek for a more resilient forest; to improve wildlife habitat; to enhance the trail system; and to provide outdoor educational opportunities around forest and ecosystem issues. ACES and Wilderness Workshop both support this plan.
News often focuses on conflict. In this case, we think the real story is that the hard work of many years in crafting a plan for Aspen’s backyard is yielding only better and better results with more and more collaboration.
Executive Director, Wilderness Workshop