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Vail Daily letter: Words to the wise for either side of Hidden Gems

Jim Gonzales
Vail, CO, Colorado
newsroom@vaildaily.com

Much has been said and written on the subject of wilderness, especially the Hidden Gems proposal. We can all learn from the following quotes no matter on which side you’re on. Those visionaries who came before us left us a legacy what do we Leave in return?

On protecting the land:

“We must protect the forests for our children, grandchildren and children yet to be born. We must protect the forests for those who cannot speak for themselves such as the birds, animals, fish and the trees.” Quatsinal Nuxtak Nation



“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” Aldo Leopold

“Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land.” Aldo Leopold

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.



On man’s greed towards nature:

“When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover that you cannot eat money.” Cree prophesy

“This we know … The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites one family. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself.” Author Unknown



On wildlife:

“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.” Chief Joseph

On respect:

“Respect means listening until everyone has been heard and understood.

Only then is there a possibility of balance and harmony.” Dave Chief

On nature:

“Keep close to nature’s heart … and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” John Muir

“The mountains are calling. I must go.” John Muir

On wilderness:

“The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness. In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” John Muir

“In wilderness is the preservation of the world.” Henry David Thoreau

On life:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn, what it had to teach, and not when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” Henry David Thoreau

On the legacy that we leave to all those who come after us:

“Treat the Earth well. It is not given to you by your parents; it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children.” Ancient Indian proverb

These words of wisdom reflect what we have learned and forgotten about the natural world that surrounds us. There is something here for all of us in how we live our daily lives and how we interact with the natural world.

It’s important to understand that wild places, habitat for wildlife, is finite. It can only sustain a certain amount of wildlife, especially the critical areas like the midlevel transition areas used by wildlife in their journey from winter range to summer range and back again.

We are only visitors to the natural world. So I ask again: What legacy do we leave to our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and to all the generations yet to be born?

We only have to look around us to see how much land we have taken. We have conquered the wilderness and left a path of destruction in our wake. Why not protect what little we have left?

I hope the quotes inspire you to do something for our wildlife and wild places. It’s time to come together on common ground and seek a happy resolution to the Hidden Gems proposal.

Whether you’re for or against it, your input is needed.

And lastly: “We return thanks to our Mother, the Earth, which sustains us.” Iroquois prayer

Jim Gonzales

Minturn


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