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Golf courses use less water than pastureland they replaced

Don Rogers

As an example, we turn to a story in our sister paper, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, which by the way is coming on strong with the return of veteran journalist and pundit Kathy Heicher to its staff. We think the grand dame of the county newspapers, in publication since 1898, is poised for great things in the early part of this century.

Anyway, back to water, drought and golf courses. Enterprise editor Scott Miller learned that the Eagle Ranch golf course uses less than 2 cubic feet per second for watering. The pastureland the course replaced had the rights to 70 cubic feet per second, and used them. That’s a fairly significant difference.

Of course, there also are more than a few homes and a second downtown rising from the ranch that once was. No doubt they use some water, too.



Still, the point remains that it’s a tad unfair to point to golf courses as evil incarnate and filthy water wasters.

The real culprits – if you are bent on assigning blame – is the mass of humanity that has moved to our mostly desert county.



Belly up

Next week, look for signs along the Eagle River west of Edwards to the confluence of the Colorado River suggesting you avoid fishing in that area.

The worst drought in 125 years – since before cars – has the river running at 16 percent of its mean at Gypsum and approaching too warm for the trout.



The guides already are encouraging clients and people they meet on the river to try their luck at higher elevations, where the fish aren’t so stressed.

The survival and health of the fish, of course, make all the difference in the careers of fishing outfits, who have learned that a thermometer is as much a part of the gear these days as rod and reel.

Summer has a couple of months left, so look for more signs and perhaps even some river closures before this is over.

A pearl

For words of wisdom, particularly in a paradise as opulent as ours, we were particularly impressed with Pete Seibert Jr.’s quote in yesterday’s story while remembering his father: “In the end, what is more important is what you’ve accomplished and not so much what you accumulated.”

There is a difference, a profound one, though the two are all too often confused for the same thing. We’d do well to remember this pearl.

Good letters

These past few days we’ve had a little surge in thoughtful letters, some taking us to task for this or that, some addressing the nation’s crisis of confidence in big business.

In that vein, the letter on the next page, “Free market rules,” by Chris Ratzlaff of Vail, offers as lucid an argument as any to be found that the free market actually is proving marvelously efficient at culling the bad boys from the system.

Government entities that have failed miserably in one way or another not only have managed to survive but find their budgets actually increased, without much more in the way of reform than lip service.

You may not agree with the letter’s conclusions, but they are well worth thinking about.

Too dry

Teased by a few afternoons and evenings of rain right around Independence Day, we’re getting right back to our high risk of wildfire as each July day passes without precipitation.

Worse, clouds build not quite enough for a good hard rain but they do manage to pack enough power to shoot lightning into the wildland.

Firefighters are doing a marvelous job of catching the ensuing little blazes quickly, but these next couple of months are looking pretty nerve-wracking.

Hot days, dry vegetation getting drier and little break from the weather are only setting us up for that blaze that catches a good wind. This during what’s called the worst drought in Colorado in 125 years.

Will your house stand in front of that? The wise homeowner, if he or she hasn’t already done this, should be looking carefully at their home’s vulnerability to wildfire. Without question, more homes in this state will be lost before the fire season has run its course.

It’s also past due for Eagle County to pass those new regulations on new construction that specifically address wildfire safety.

It had to happen

“Man bites dog!” This is the rubric oft used for explaining what’s news and what isn’t.

Dog bites man. A million passenger planes took off and landed safely so far this week. Over 15,000 corporations conducted business properly and without criminal intent today. Nothing novel about any of this.

The rare plane that crashes is what makes the news. Even rarer, recently a man fought to save his pet’s life by pouncing on the attacking pug and sinking his teeth into the pooch’s head.

Now that is news. By running the story yesterday, rest assured we weren’t advocating that people take on dogs in the doggie style of combat or wondering whether this was the work of a liberal or a conservative. Just a story, folks. That’s the news.

D.R.


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