Letters to the Editor

From the week of June 16, 2005

Yaakov Ben Avraham
via the Internet

Editor's note: On June 11, Donkey Den's owners agreed to remove the offending menu items and art from their restaurant. For more details, see Off Limits.

Music to His Ears

Jacking off: Regarding John LaBriola's "Ramblin' Man," in the June 2 issue:

Whoa! Motherfuck, that Ramblin' Jack article must have confused everybody down there at the old Worstword station. Something of substance about someone who matters in the "music" section. It sure confused me. It had to have been an accident.

Maybe not; maybe this is the beginning of some radical element. Beethoven will get some ink; your writers will start challenging bands instead of pampering the mediocre fare that is music today. They'll study; they'll grow in the sense that they will take their craft seriously. They will go against the fashion of this little fascist government that we all support.

I want to go on; I want to name names; I want this revolution that can't happen. I know it's ridiculous, and I'm just another punk-ass filled with anger and hate. Even the homeless folks, the most beautiful part of this place, barely speak to me, so why would you? Why, indeed. Say goodnight to Woody Guthrie, the original punk. Tell us how dark it's going to get here.

Chris Colhane

The Ride Stuff

Sermon on the mountain bike: The rhetoric presented by Mike Vandeman in his June 2 letter responding to Eric Dexheimer's May 26 "Rough Ride" was common fifteen years ago, but I was surprised to see it in 2005. He did introduce a new twist to the argument: "Mountain bikers are not excluded from the wilderness of national parks; they can walk." Sure, and gays are not prohibited from marrying, as long as they marry someone of the opposite sex.

There have been countless studies on the environmental impact of mountain biking. Like most studies, mountain-biking studies are biased (the "science" cited by Vandeman has loads of opinions and conjecture, but almost no supporting data for its own assertions). For what it's worth, most studies conclude that mountain biking causes slightly more damage than hiking, but considerably less damage than equestrians.

Of course, damage really isn't the issue. Mountain bikers want access. Those who enjoy horseback riding want access. Some hikers want public land closed to any activity other than hiking. Many people are selfish and just want their favorite activity protected.

Accusations about erosion or wildlife impact are just smoke screens. After all, the main reason for erosion on and around trails is the existence of the trails. There would be no impact on wildlife in areas where humans are excluded. Yet I never hear any self-anointed "environmentalists" calling for the immediate cessation of trail construction and the closing and reclaiming of existing trails.

Ward Livingston

Weird science: As an avid mountain biker and environmentalist, I was curious to explore the "science" that Mike Vandeman cited as proof that "mountain biking has much greater impact than hiking." Expecting a peer-reviewed journal article, I instead was directed to Vandeman's personal review of the literature. Instead of introducing studies that found mountain biking to have a greater environmental impact than hiking, he focuses mostly on the numerous studies that have found just the opposite. His ultimate conclusion is that the researchers obviously interpreted their data wrong.

The rest of the website leaves no doubt of Vandeman's undying allegiance against mountain bikes, with a catchy description of mountain bikers as "wheeled locusts" and an interest page that includes "fighting mountain biking." That isn't an interest; that's a vendetta.

There are many dire problems that our society is facing with regard to natural resources and public lands. Most scientists, including myself, would put mountain biking right at the bottom of that list. Elitist attitudes like Vandeman's create rifts and battles over open spaces where there should be cooperation.

I encounter very few trail users like him here in Colorado. I stop, hang out and chat with loads of hikers, and all seem more than happy to share the trails with another wilderness lover. Heck, even if you came out to visit from California, my fellow riders and I would smile and wave to you on the trail. You could choose to smile and wave back, or scowl and curse us under your breath. Either way, we'll be having fun.

Jeff Blackburn

Bottom's Up

Rocky steady: Regarding the "Hitting Rockies Bottom" letter published in the May 26 issue:

"The sky is falling, the sky is falling," says Chicken Little -- or, more appropriately, the vast majority of the Denver sports media. There are no bigger alarmists than sportswriters and sports columnists. Just what did these Chicken Littles expect from the local nine this year? And just what do they expect the owners to do to "instantly"correct the situation? The Rockies' current situation was pre-ordained in 2002 when Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle flamed out in spectacular fashion. When that happened, two years into two very long and expensive contracts, the model the Rockies' owners had been working on crashed and burned.

I am not here to say that the Rockies have achieved anything yet, nor that their future success is a certainty, but this franchise needed to start building somewhere. From what I've seen, that is precisely what they have been trying to do for the last several years, with this year of throwing rookies into the fire being the final stage before they finally begin to free up some money next year. Far from considering it bumbling and stumbling, I applaud the Rockies' steadfastness in the face of so-called experts who would have them trade the cornerstone of their franchise, Todd Helton, for four rowboats and a life preserver.

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