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Letters – June 22, 2023

Locations: Letters, Opinion Published

Re: Doctrine of Discovery
Thanks so much for Amy Hadden Marsh’s interview with Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk of the Ute Nation about the Pope’s official renunciation of the Doctrine of Discovery. It would take quite a bit more than an apology for the Catholic Church, and for the inheritors of Western European colonization at large, to make up for the 500 years of genocide, land theft and abduction and disappearance of children in residential schools. 

To this day, major fossil fuel projects continue to threaten native lands, from the Dakota Access and Enbridge’s Line 3 Pipelines, both already flowing, to Line 5 in Michigan and the Coastal GasLink pipeline in British Columbia (legally sovereign Wet’suwet’in territory). Indeed, for those cries about rampant “wokeism” supposedly dredging up ancient history, and despite the Pope’s apology, the Doctrine of Discovery is alive and well. It was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court as recently as 2005 in a case denying the Oneida Nation relief from state property taxes on land they had bought back from New York. In her decision, none other than Justice Ginsburg wrote, “Under the Doctrine of Discovery … fee title to the land occupied by Indians when the colonists arrived became vested in the sovereign — first the discovering European nation and later the original States and the United States.”

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Will Hodges

Redstone to McClure
The upper Crystal River Valley will soon get a new non-motorized bicycle/pedestrian trail going from Redstone to the top of McClure Pass. The proposed trail will be about seven miles long and located on the west side of Highway 133, with about 4.5 of those miles located on National Forest land and the rest along a new west shoulder of Highway 133. The upper four miles of the trail to the summit of the pass will follow the abandoned roadbed of the old, unpaved, previous version of Highway 133.

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This past January, the Forest Service completed a formal Environmental Assessment on their part of the route and concluded that it would have “no significant environmental impact.” For environmental reasons, this part of the trail will have a reduced width and be constructed with a soft surface material. The trail will have seasonal closures to provide isolated elk calving during the spring months. With most of it being on WRNF land, this finding is a major step in moving the trail project forward.

Safety concerns, primarily with traffic and the absence of shoulders on Highway 133, have discouraged the use of the existing Highway 133 for recreational purposes. The new trail will provide a long-awaited and safe recreation amenity for residents and visitors to the upper Crystal River Valley.

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The trail will be funded by GOCO grants and the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails fund, which by its charter is required to use at least 25% of its revenue for the construction and maintenance of trails. It will also complement the major conservation and land ownerships in the immediate areas in and around Redstone that Pitkin County Open Space has made. The next step in the project will be to complete the detailed design for the new trail, for which the exact route has already been established. To date, no time estimate for the construction phase has been released and hopefully the project will not be stymied by objections or appeals over the final Environmental Assessment which was released by the Forest Service this past January.

Chuck Downey

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Nuggets, Strawberry Days, Juneteenth, so much to celebrate… and now one to think about. 

Friday, June 16, CDOT sponsored a “hearse” parade in Denver as part of their seat belt awareness campaign and messaging about Colorado’s highest-ever roadway deaths last year. Perhaps your life has been impacted or that of someone you know.

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Going somewhere? Stay focused, wear a seatbelt, don’t drive distracted or under an “influence.” Allow enough time, our roadways are fuller than ever with all our new residents.

Take a Minute, think about it, Slow Down in Town

Diane Reynolds
Glenwood Springs

Trump has officially been indicted on 37 federal felony counts. For some, this will come as no surprise, and for others this will come as a shock. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, it’s crucial that our elected officials be held to the same standards as any other American.

The charges against Trump are serious — obstruction of justice, criminal conspiracy, violating the Espionage Act. He is accused of knowingly taking hundreds of documents from agencies like the CIA and the Pentagon. Some of the documents he took contained delicate national security intelligence, including nuclear secrets and potential military vulnerabilities to the United States and our allies. When others have committed crimes of this nature, they were prosecuted, and Trump should not be an exception.

Fame, riches, and title do not make someone above the law. The rule of law is a basic principle that everyone must be held to equally — including Donald Trump. A grand jury of everyday Americans reviewed mountains of evidence, including testimony from dozens of witnesses, and determined there was enough evidence Trump had committed a crime to charge him. Thirty-seven times, to be exact.

These are crimes against our country. To preserve the rule of law and our democracy, we must let the legal process proceed, without interruption or interference.

Katrina McAlpine
New Castle

Letters policy: The Sopris Sun welcomes local letters to the editor. Shorter letters stand a better chance of being printed. Letters exclusive to The Sopris Sun (not appearing in other papers) are particularly welcome. Please include your name and place of residence or association. Letters are due to by noon on the Monday before we go to print.

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