Respectfully disagree | AspenTimes.com

Respectfully disagree

Scott Condon’s March 4 article on Bruce Gordon’s new environmental flight organization contains some small inaccuracies given to your reporter by Mr. Gordon.

Although Bruce was a longtime employee and staff pilot at LightHawk, he is not its founder nor, as he has stated in other pieces, has he ever been its executive director. Michael Stewartt founded LightHawk in 1979 in Santa Fe, N.M., and Bruce joined LightHawk in 1985 at Michael Stewartt’s invitation.

Lastly, Mr. Gordon’s statements of the circumstances of his departure from LightHawk are not fully forthcoming. We respectfully disagree that LightHawk is “heading away from pro-active conservation.”

Indeed, we are doing more than ever, with 2001 a record year for our flights and environmental efforts of our volunteer pilots. We maintain a strong local presence in the valley and in Colorado, and our Southern Rockies Program Manager, Michele Gangaware, coordinates our efforts and can be contacted at 970-625-8809.

Last year LightHawk flew nearly 900 flights and 1,800 passengers in support of more than 525 high-impact environmental missions, including more than 120 missions in the Rocky Mountains – more flights than any prior year on record. Almost all of these efforts were done by impassioned, informed and talented volunteers.

Our passengers included local city council members, film crews and reporters, documentary filmmakers, scientists, and members of Congress, as well as members of the general public. The more than 130 environmental organizations supported by our large volunteer pilot corps include many at the front lines of pivotal environmental campaigns.

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If you check the March issue of National Geographic, LightHawk is noted in the “Behind the Scenes” section in just one of many media pieces on our local, regional, national and international conservation issues.

Our local partners include groups such as the Colorado Environmental Coalition and the Colorado Wilderness Network, which are well known to your readers.

LightHawk continues to fly safe, high-priority environmental missions throughout western North American and Central America and appreciates the opportunity to correct the record. Making a big difference using aviation as the powerful environmental tool that it can be is a goal that we share with Bruce Gordon.

Terri Watson, executive director

LightHawk

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