I would like to clear up any confusion stemming from an article recently published in your paper, “Candidate John Hickenlooper outlines his campaign pillars.” In the article, my quotes, which were provided as background on the work of Aspen Valley Land Trust and land conservation, could be interpreted as if I or AVLT was providing an endorsement of John Hickenlooper for U.S. Senate. This is not the case, and contradicts what I relayed in my interview. My questions would have been the same for either candidate, and the information I provided was not related to this Senate election or Mr. Hickenlooper’s platform.

Conservation and the health of our planet and of our communities are of utmost importance. We owe it to ourselves as humans to maintain the optimal conditions that support life on earth, and conservation is one way to help ensure this. I believe we need to find a more sustainable and healthy balance for the sake of future generations. The success of land and water conservation — particularly among land trusts working to protect vulnerable private lands in partnership with landowners, farmers and ranchers, local governments and nonprofits across the country — is entirely dependent on garnering bipartisan support for meaningful action.

In fact, it is precisely because conservation matters to people from all backgrounds and walks of life that we have hope for protecting the valuable natural resources and special places that still remain for the next generation. The frightening shakeup our world is experiencing now is an international disaster. But it may be possible that this crisis has the power to change the way we relate to our environment and to each other. My hope for humanity is that we can learn from this and do better. I hope the same for our politicians, whomever they may be, and from whatever party they represent.

Hopefully this clarifies that neither I nor AVLT appeared in this article to endorse a candidate, but rather to provide some background on an issue of importance to us all. Conservation is stronger when we work together and we look forward to continuing to improve the health of our environment and community with your support moving forward. To learn more about how your local land trust is responding to this crisis and continuing the important work of saving land, don’t hesitate to contact me. Thank you.

Suzanne Stephens