Don’t listen to detractors: make open space happen | VailDaily.com
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Don’t listen to detractors: make open space happen

Tom Boyd

By the time this column hits the streets, our county commissioners will be deciding whether or not to spend a little over $2 million in general funds to help make open space happen at the Eagle River Preserve (or Eaton Ranch) site.Despite the efforts of some to make this into a controversial issue (I’m looking at you, Don Rogers), it is, in fact, quite simple.At least two of our county commissioners were elected because the people of this county want leaders with the fortitude and foresight to spend money to conserve our natural heritage (I’m looking at you, Peter Runyon and Arn Menconi).Now it’s time for those guys to prove it.Do what you were elected to do, boys, and protect our river.In case people around here have forgotten (and reading Don Rogers’ column, it makes me wonder), that river down there is our river, and we are charged with the hallowed duty of protecting it and respecting it.Let’s get back to basics, in case the basics have been forgotten: The Eagle River flows through our valley and brings us water, and water is the essence of life. I love that river more than my own self, more than anything in the world, because to me it is a spiritual place infused with mystery and wonder. Dad and I kayak on it, my friends and I fish on it, and during hot summers we dive into its cool eddies. Every man, woman, and child in our community depends upon it for bodily and spiritual sustenance.Imagine this valley, 10 years from now, without riverside open space.Where will we go when we want to visit the river?Where will we go when we want to listen to the hush of its autumn flow, or wonder at the power of its spring rush?The riverbanks are disappearing quickly to the flood of development, and too many “No Trespassing” signs already violate our natural right to visit the banks of the Eagle River, to partake in the simple, but ancient, art of gazing at its water as it passes over a stony bed.Two million dollars?A pittance, compared to the wealth bestowed us by the river.Two million dollars?We spend more on temporary ice bubbles. We spend more on fake ponds. We spend more on each roundabout we build. We spend more on mowing lawns and painting stripes on roads. We spend more than $2 million on pure whimsy, and yet some in this town believe $2 million is too high a price tag to conserve the health and wonder of the river, which gives foundation to everything we have.That belief is a violation of our duty to respect and preserve what we have been given.Those who don’t support the funding necessary to preserving this small portion of this river have no right to drink its water. Support it, I say, or go find another river from which to quench your thirst. VTTom Boyd can be reached for comment at tboyd@vailtrail.com


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