We’re protecting connectivity in Eagle Valley!

A lynx in snow

We’re protecting connectivity in Eagle Valley!

We recently joined with our friends at Wilderness Workshop to file a lawsuit in Federal Court, asking for a ruling overturning the White River National Forest’s Record of Decision for the Berlaimont Estates Road Improvement Project that was issued last Friday. 

The proposed Berlaimont Estates would involve the development and construction of 19 single-family mansion homes in the Eagle Valley surrounded by the White River National Forest. The high-elevation development will require over 5 miles of new paved road that will be located largely on Federal public lands. 

The WRNF lands adjacent to and near the proposed Berlaimont Estates Development provide important habitat for sensitive and protected plants and wildlife, including Canada lynx, greenback cutthroat trout, and greater sage-grouse; sensitive bird species like the Brewers Sparrow; and declining populations of deer, elk, and Harrington’s Penstemon.

The area’s wildlife populations, especially deer and elk, are in a crisis of decline. Populations of deer and elk in and around the project area have dropped by 50% in recent decades. State and federal biologists agree that increased pressure from development and year-round recreation are the primary causes for these declines. 

Our lawsuit challenges the grant of an easement by the U.S. Forest Service. The Developer needs increased, paved access to construct and service these large estates. We believe the Forest Service misapplied the law and failed to consider all the impacts of this massive development when approving the increased access request.

Rocky Mountain Wild has been working for years to protect and increase connectivity around the Eagle Valley. The three wildlife crossing structures for the westbound lanes of I-70 on East Vail Pass that we envision is one effort to help the populations in this area. 

The Berlaimont development would be another hurdle for migrating species that are already suffering a death by a thousand cuts. This development has widespread local community opposition and we hope that the Court finds the access decision to be unlawful and puts a stop to this international developers plan to further impact this important area. 

You can read our Press Release here.

For the species in Eagle Valley!

Matt Sandler bundled up near a rock overhang
Matt Sandler (he/him)
Legal Director, Leadership Team
Rocky Mountain Wild

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