The Larimer County Commissioners have revived their application to the Forest Service to continue the approval process of the Middle Bald Mountain communications tower.
Work on this project has been waffling off and on since 2002, with the county asking the Forest Service to suspend their application in July of 2008 due to lack of funds. Thousands of tax dollars have been spent so far, and now the County will spend thousands more, just in the approval process.
Middle Bald Mountain is part of the Laramie Range, and flanks the valley to the west of Red Feather Lakes. Prized by the residents of Red Feather and visitors to the area for its scenic beauty, the County now seeks, in violation of their own Master Plan and the Red Feather Lakes Plan, to destroy this area.
Middle Bald Mountain is an unusual geological formation in this area. At over 11,000 feet in elevation, it is considered to be Alpine Tundra, with a fragile, irreplaceable ecosystem. A recent survey, by Dr. Jim Erdman, PH.D in Plant Ecology, has identified many Alpine plants growing in the area. Alpine plants, by their very nature, grow slowly and cannot easily be replaced. It will take many years, if at all , for nature to repair the scars to this beautiful mountain.
Not only will the construction of the tower destroy the fragile Alpine ecosystem, but the route to the tower will fall also.
There will be 13 1/2 miles of power line installed along Deadman Road north to Killpecker Road, and then south to the tower site. This will require the clear cutting of a swath of trees at least 20′ wide and more than likely far wider. The Forest Service estimates that 29 ACRES of trees will be sacrificed along the route. This damage will occur in a forest that has already been ravaged by the attack of the Mountain Pine Beetle. The removal of the live trees along the path will attract and encourage even more beetles to the area, more than likely killing the trees that are not removed.
Residents and recreational users alike will now view power poles, placed every 250′, instead of the scenic beauty they have come to cherish. The power line path crosses through wetlands, stands of ancient Aspen, streams, and critical wildlife habitat. The area around the tower and outbuilding will be fenced off, perhaps forever blocking your access to sitting on that lone mountain peak and viewing the world below. At best you will get to admire the chain link fence erected to protect the county’s atrocity.