Protect riparian habitat near Basalt

Dear Editor,

A proposal to sell the river properties located below and to the side of Crown Mountain Park needs to be handled with great care. As it is today, the area is enjoyed and appreciated by a number of fishermen, runners, walkers, river classes, nature observers, and is home to vast numbers of plants and wildlife. If measures are not put in place to protect these areas, valuable resources will be lost to the community.

It is little known fact that only 1 percent of Colorado remains intact riparian habitat. Keeping this in mind, now take into account that nearly 85 percent of animals that live in this state live in and depend on these areas. As a community who is invested in the safety and preservation of our lands and animals within them, we are responsible for the care and protection of these lands – making sure that intrusive development will not occur and the natural state of the river and surrounding land will be conserved.

Basalt High School’s River Watch Class is one of many similar river study programs offered in Colorado schools. However, our study site is not surrounded by canals, commercial farmland and expansive cities like many of the programs. In fact, at almost 100 percent intact riparian habitat, this is part of an even smaller number of sites of its kind in the country. This ability to attend class outdoors, studying subjects like plant and animal identification, land management, environmental philosophy and water chemistry, is an eye-opening opportunity for all of us.

Bushes are no longer JUST bushes, they are Silver Leaf Buffalo Berry bushes, which can be used to make jam. Trees are no longer JUST trees, but are Alders, fixing vital nitrogen into the surrounding soil. Everything has purpose, including our presence. We are there to study more important items than the one bush or tree alone. We are there to educate ourselves and to spread the knowledge within the community. Knowledge of this amazing ecosystem, operating within walking distance of our own lives is a truly unique opportunity. Knowledge that needs to be learned to protect the area for future generations to live through and experience.

We ask again that great care be exercised when determining the future of this site. It is dear to many of us in this mid-valley area and is utilized everyday as a quiet sanctuary to those knowledgeable of it’s existence.

If you are not already in love with the area, we invite you to walk and sit by the river someday soon. Within minutes you will see it’s beauty and understand that its value cannot be measured in any amount of money.

The River Watch Classes

Basalt High School


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