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A south‐facing hillside in the east end of the Vail Valley has long served as critical winter habitat for a herd of bighorn sheep that travel there and back into the Eagles Nest Wilderness. Sometimes called Booth Heights, the land is located north of the East Vail Exit off I‐70. Vail Resorts’ plans to develop high-density housing on the bighorn’s habitat directly threatens this vital winter habitat.  


The Town of Vail recognizes the importance of the parcel to local wildlife. The Town has tried for years to negotiate an exchange with Vail Resorts, offering a different parcel more suited for development in exchange for Booth Heights, so the bighorns’ habitat could be protected by the Town as dedicated wildlife habitat. Sadly, Vail Resorts rejected the proposal and has announced plans to develop the land.


ESWA is working with local groups to persuade Vail Resorts to reverse course. If unsuccessful, ESWA will encourage the Town to condemn the property to protect this critical wildlife habitat.


For more information:

September 21 Vail Daily here

Mike Browning’s opinion piece here

Frances Hartogh's Get Wild article here


  • Message Vail Town Council at Urge them to (1) put pressure on Vail Resorts to negotiate a resolution that will avoid development on the bighorns’ habitat; and (2) if necessary, condemn the property and permanently dedicate the land for use as wildlife habitat.

  • Message and call Vail Resorts (; phone (970) 754‐0005) and urge them to resume discussions with the Town for the land exchange. In your communication, note the importance of the site for the bighorns, as well as Vail Resorts’ own stated policy (Epic Promise) to be a good steward of the environment.

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