Vail Daily letter: Protect the Colorado River |

Vail Daily letter: Protect the Colorado River

Bob Streb
Vail, CO, Colorado

My little family lives in Minturn, on the banks of the Eagle River, just one of the incredible places we enjoy in the mountains we call home. One of the other places is the upper Colorado River.

I am a fly fishing guide and I spend many days showing friends, both new and old, this very special place. The upper Colorado River has become part of me, and I often feel a deep need to be in a boat, feeling her currents under me.

The loss of this freedom is a very real possibility if any more of her water is diverted. I understand this situation has economic implications for everyone, but I hope you understand the spiritual and emotional impact it will have as well.

Four years ago, my life changed forever with the birth of my son, Sam. He now comes first in my life, without condition. We try and answer every question he ever asks, and that can be challenging with a child whose main hobby is being curious. He is very aware of what his daddy does for a living and already knows how important water is.

Sam has officially stopped flushing the toilet so he can “help save the Colorado.” His prayers, which used to include his dog and Spiderman, are now for our river. He has never asked to save Daddy’s job, only the river. Sam has no perspective on the economic impact this has on everyone, only a simple love for one of nature’s most incredible watersheds.

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We very rarely journey to Denver. We live in this state for its natural beauty and the city just offers a view, not the feel we have grown to love. We felt a strong need to leave our mountains and come to one of the many rallies for the river on the steps of the governor’s office. I don’t like cities, and I especially don’t enjoy going there for a fight that seems has already been lost.

Sam sat on my shoulders and screamed proudly as loud as all the adults. “Why are we yelling Dad?” “So a man up there in his office hears us and does something to help, son.”

We painted our faces blue, like water. That was not an attempt to hide our identities. It was so we had no resemblance to the generations before us that contributed to so much destruction of nature all over the great American West.

My family has no desire to be recognized as part of a generation that destroys the Colorado River. I hope Gov. Hickenlooper feels the same way. I hope he is not remembered as the governor who sucked the Colorado River dry. I do not envy the position he is in and how hard it must be, but he should know there are choices and answers that will help. Little Sam has already figured one way out so if need be I am sure he is willing to sit with you and figure this whole mess out.

Dear Gov. John Hickenlooper: All of us who enjoy the Colorado River hope you will at least slow the process down some more, absorb all the data, explore every option and educate your fellow state officials on all the facts.

Conservation of water is the way. Conservation will lead to preservation of this place. Our 4-year-old already understands how to help do his part and now its your turn to lead by example.

I am blown away at the realization of how many people in this state just believe that water comes from the tap. Knowledge is power, and you currently sit in a seat fit to educate the growing Front Range on what valuable resource water is and where it comes from.

The Colorado River can not give any more of her blood and continue to be the heart of this state’s image. I know some look at the mountains when they think of this amazing state, but last I checked there isn’t one mountain named Colorado. However, there is a wonderful body of water that proudly carries the name.

All things start at the top, sir. Everything flows downstream or at least should.

Bob Streb


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