Letter: Save and savor our public lands
For the past 40 years, I’ve been a working environmentalist in Eagle County. A mentor of mine once cautioned me to balance my time saving with savoring our public lands. It was good advice and I have followed it as best I can, though, in the past two years, I’ve had to spend a lot more time on the saving part of the equation.
Saturday, Sept. 28, is National Public Lands Day. Do you enjoy using our public lands? If so, how much time do you spend saving them? I know many people who lend a hand, help protect wildlife, clean our beautiful Eagle River, volunteer to work on trails, or guide people to understand and relish the amazing gift of wildlands. But we must all be stewards of the public lands that make up 80% of our county. This land is our economic base; our physical, emotional and spiritual support. Are you in a one-way relationship with the land, taking but rarely giving back? Is there more you can do or give?
I was born a lover of the earth, its critters, plants, water, forests, and its many natural wonders. We have a magical spaceship from which to view the universe! This beautiful planet and all the life upon it is truly miraculous. Yet, we humans take life for granted in so many ways and sometimes seem bent on a path of destroying this wonder. It doesn’t have to go this way. If we each did one thing regularly to save our wild places, even as we savor them every day, we could make real progress in restoring our many endangered earth systems, from climate to oceans to wildlife … because it’s all connected.
Please take action on behalf of the land, air, water, and wildlife of our home corner of the planet. Here are five ways for you to do so:
1. Support the CORE Act, which would protect 400,000 acres of Colorado’s wildlands, including additions to Eagle’s Nest and Holy Cross Wilderness as well as designating Camp Hale as a National Historic Landscape.
2. Help stop the ill-conceived Berlaimont project above Edwards, which would decimate what remains of our deer and elk herds.
4. Send a donation to Wilderness Workshop, the Eagle River Watershed Council or another conservation/education nonprofit working hard for values you share.
5. Buy a beer for a hard-working employee of the U.S. Forest Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management, Eagle Valley Land Trust, Eagle County Trails and Open Space or any other land advocacy organization.
Last but not least, on National Public Lands Day and every day, go out and savor our beautiful mountains, lakes, and wildlands. Enjoy the privilege of clean air and water; of open spaces and wildlife. Connect your wild inside to the wild outside and rejuvenate your spirit when you stand on the miracle that is Earth.