Cheers to those who help preserve our valley’s resources | AspenTimes.com
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Cheers to those who help preserve our valley’s resources

Cheers to those who help preserve our valley’s resources

Sitting beside the Roaring Fork river the other day I saw a blue heron fly by a group of cottonwoods with its prehistoric shape and rhythm. A few moments later I saw an American Dipper doing its overly dramatic dip and then a green drake landed on my arm.

Everywhere I looked on the river there was extravagant life — cottonwood seeds drifting down to the water, mallards in the eddies, two or three species of willows, reeds and raptors. Say what you want about this valley but it still has a lot of wildlife and healthy plant communities. And one thing we can be proud of and gather around in an unhappy time is the conservation ethic in this community.

Sure, we’ve done some stupid things, built some unnecessary golf courses, lost some prime habitat, missed opportunities, but we’ve also laid aside a lot of public land, done some good partnerships in the private sectors, built some outstanding outdoor education and nature programs, and have tried to keep our rivers clean and flowing.

The conservation ethic is perhaps the most enduring and binding force in this valley (even ahead of pushing real estate, perhaps). Hard to argue against the peace, joy and sanity it brings, especially in a time when the whole country wants to fly off the tracks. Conservation work is sometimes thankless, tedious, unsexy, grinding toil. Odd then that it attracts such intelligent, energetic, and lively people to its battlefront.

I’m glad for those types who just don’t ever stop the fight to preserve what we have and even make it better, richer, greener. When all about us seems grim, it’s a shining quality and something to admire about this unusual valley.

Mark Harvey

Basalt


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