Vail, Colorado

November 4, 1999

A few weeks ago a friend of mine was in Vail, Colorado. That trip reminded me of an incident last year that established the existence of ecoterrorism in the United States.

The incident took place in the upper slopes of Vail, Colorado before ski season began. The Earth Liberation Front set fires causing more than $12 million in damage. The reason? They wanted to stop development of a ski area that they believed was critical habitat for the lynx—a tuft-eared bobcat that hasn't been seen in Vail in more than 20 years.

Ecoterrorism started a decade ago with tree-spiking. When chain saws hit the spikes, the saws shatter, sending deadly shrapnel in all directions. Ecoterrorists also would pour sand in the fuel tanks of logging trucks, cut down fences, and set small fires. Up until now the targets were mining and logging. October 1998 changed all that. Now environmental extremists have another target: tourism.

Vail, Colorado is the nation's busiest ski resort. Six days before the fires, Vail Associates began clearing trees and putting up fences for a 885-acre expansion known as Category III. The Earth Liberation Front burned it down, and warned skiers to "choose other destinations until Vail cancels" its plans. Fortunately no other incident took place, which is why I fear what may happen there this year. By the way, ski season in Vail starts this weekend.

Will the Earth Liberation Front strike again? Probably, and that's all the more reason for law enforcement officials at every level to investigate and prosecute these actions. Ecoterrorism is alive in America, and we would do well to learn the lesson from third world countries that have to deal with terrorism on a regular basis. Prosecute and convict these environmental extremists before more damage is done and someone is killed.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.