‘Nature couldn’t do a better job than the river’ | VailDaily.com

‘Nature couldn’t do a better job than the river’

Nicole Frey

Bret Hartman/Vail DailyDave and Sue Mott with organic vegetables from their garden in front of the Eagle River where they have worked to keep pristine over the years. The Motts recently received an award for their environmental volunteerism. In the Motts' 25 years in the valley, they've volunteered for a variety of charitable organizations and championed for the environment.

WOLCOTT- When fires ravaged the state in 2002, Sue and Dave Mott were advised to trade in the cedar shingles on their roof for something less likely to burn. They heeded the advice, but instead of throwing away the seemingly useless shingles, they saved them for fire kindling to warm their home. “It’s just a mindset that you have to minimize your impact,” Dave said. “It’s a pioneering instinct.” They’re pioneering instinct has led the Motts to act as stewards of the earth both within their home and out in the community, they say. For their involvement, especially when it comes to the health of the Eagle River that borders their Wolcott home, the couple received an environmental award from Eagle County. “We feel very privileged,” Sue said. “It made us feel awesome that someone is really appreciating what we’re doing.”

Dave, her husband of 48 years, agreed the award was an honor, but said their good works were never done for public recognition.As part of the award, the Motts were praised for their continued involvement in the Eagle River Cleanup that recently celebrated its 10th birthday. “Sue is a tireless advocate and Dave … has a great enthusiasm for life that shines through everything he does,” said Caroline Bradford, director of the Eagle River Watershed Council, the organization that hosts the cleanup. “They’re willing to pick up trash, which is not a very glamorous job. What more could you want from a volunteer?”The Motts’ environmentalism is just one part of their long history of volunteering in the valley. They’ve been involved in everything from the annual rummage sale in Minturn to ushering at the Vilar Center for the Arts since they arrived in the valley in 1972. This year, Dave and Sue spent 650 hours working for the rummage sale and will donate their wages to the watershed council.”All their work is invaluable,” Bradford said. “They are such great role models for other families in the valley. They dedicate their lives to keeping the river clean, the valley clean.”

While maintaining their surroundings is a priority, the industrious pair said volunteering was also a great way to get out and meet people in the valley. And although the Motts have their fingers in many pots, they value the river above all, they said. “It’s the lifeblood of civilization,” said Dave, who has been as a county commissioner and a member of the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District’s board, and is currently a board member on the watershed council. “Whether it’s for drinking, fishing, rafting, kayaking, it’s essential,” he said. “We live on it, that’s why we love it so much. How could one not care about the river?”Currently on their radar is the water supply on the Western Slope. As the Front Range grows and demands more of the Western Slope’s water resources, the Motts are determined to help make sure everyone has enough water without harming the river and the creatures that depend on it. They said they would also like to see the portion of Eagle River near Camp Hale returned to its meandering path. It was straightened when the military built up the area for training in the World War II era.

“We know you can only do so much, but there’s no comparison to nature, and you’re got to keep her beautiful” Sue said. “Nature couldn’t do a better job than creating the rivers.”Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or nfrey@vaildaily.com. Vail, Colorado