Last Monday I had the good fortune to be invited as a small business owner to a meeting with U.S. Sen. Mark Udall to discuss his wild lands protection proposal. I first would like to say how fortunate we are to be represented by this thoughtful statesman who understands and skillfully consolidates the diverse concerns of all Coloradans. I can think of no one better to shape a proposal with the right balance so that habitat critical to our beloved Colorado environment can be preserved with a minimum of impact on recreational uses of public land.
In the past, proposals for additional wilderness have unfortunately divided our community and devolved into bumper sticker wars about an issue way too important and complex. While some may never understand the value of wilderness or support any additional designations, I believe most of us understand the worth of pristine land minimally affected by human activity and appreciate how rare it is. Most of us do want to leave this precious legacy for our children and future generations. Most of us recognize the economic importance of wilderness, as one of our prime attractions, to every business in this valley.
As it stands, Sen. Udall’s proposal is well considered and a reasonable place to start based on science and previous work. It is a work in progress, and the meeting on Monday demonstrates Udall’s genuine willingness to listen to all points of view before finally shaping this proposal. Boundaries will likely shift to accommodate favorite bike trails, and I hope some of the area on Basalt Mountain will eventually be included. But eventually we will be perceived by future generations as those who had the foresight to set aside and protect the most precious of our inheritances.
I am so pleased that the senator has taken up this issue. He is the right person to bring all sides together to find our common ground, and move a reasonable proposal forward that we can all support. Our children deserve no less.