Lead King Loop
I am writing you to express my dismay about what I witnessed on Sunday, May 16, 2021. My wife and I hiked from the bottom of Daniels Hill to the Crystal Mill and back. We chose this day because it was clear to me (and the world) that motorized travel along this stretch of road was prohibited until May 21, 2021.
During my hike, I observed at least 12 jeeps and trucks, as well as half-a-dozen ATVs, half-a-dozen four-person UTVs and three motorcycles travelling this stretch of closed road. Some of these folks were openly consuming alcohol and allowing their dogs to run unattended.
It boggles the mind that these individuals would be allowed to blatantly violate Federal Law and not be held to account. There was no enforcement authority present whatsoever.
Something needs to be done promptly. County Road 3 should be closed to motorized travel immediately, until reasonable regulations can be enacted.
Although I favor a complete ban of motorized travel, sharing this pristine stretch of Colorado backcountry is a reasonable first step.
Currently, motorized travel is permitted from May 21 through November 22. Why not ban motorized travel every other day, week or month? Non-motorized users should be given occasional access without having to tolerate the noise, dust, boozing, pollution and environmental degradation that always seems to come with motorized travel.
Please do not allow this gorgeous part of Colorado to become another Moab – where motorized use of public lands runs amuck.
Unincorporated Garfield County
Holy Cross election
Leadership does make a difference and Holy Cross Energy has a great team in place. Holy Cross has proven results in managing green initiatives, coop member energy costs and system reliability that make voting for the incumbent Board Members – Bob Gardner and Kristen Bertuglia – an easy choice.
I am happy to be a Holy Cross member and believe that we members can affirm the direction of the staff and board with our ballots. In addition to the setting of direction, I believe that Bob and Kristen were successful in one of the board’s most important jobs, hiring and retaining Bryan Hannegan, the coop CEO. They have proven their ability to make good decisions and set direction.
As an extra bonus, local-born Bob Gardner worked for Holy Cross and brings the perspective of the safety and security of Holy Cross employees, which is important when overseeing the CEO.
Hats off to everyone at Holy Cross for the good job in providing increasingly renewable, reliable and affordable electricity. There is more to be learned and implemented. I hope that other Holy Cross members join me in voting to retain Bob Gardner and Kristen Bertuglia as directors by returning their mail ballot ASAP.
Commitment to truth
Representative Lauren Boebert delivers misinformation. In a recent phone-in town hall, she said the Biden administration opened the border to Mexico and allowed undocumented people to enter without even giving them COVID tests. That is untrue. The people being allowed in are those considered at greatest risk of harm if they have to continue living in the border immigrant camps. They are all being given COVID tests. Now that they are registered with border authorities, they are not “undocumented.” The immigration officials know who they are and where they are.
We need congressional representatives who tell the truth. Why does Boebert walk into the capitol without a face mask when that is recommended CDC guidance? Does she not believe in science or not care about anyone else’s health? She voted against the most recent COVID relief legislation that gave $1,400 to each taxpayer and the same per dependent. Many certainly need that help and I am grateful for it.
Fact: Biden won the election with no voter fraud. Boebert voted to oust Liz Cheney from her Republican leadership position for stating that truth. Republicans need to act with integrity and not continue the lies that led to the Jan. 6 insurrection and effort to overturn the election. We need representatives committed to truth and integrity.
Public Lands Day
This past Saturday, May 15, was Colorado Public Lands Day, an annual holiday celebrating our state’s beloved public lands. This year marks the holiday’s fifth anniversary and I’m taking a moment to reflect on how far we’ve come, and how much further we have to go, to protect the public lands that are central to our economy and our quality of life on the Western Slope.
In 2016, the “land transfer” movement was brewing across the west, including in Colorado, where our state legislature defeated a handful of bills in support of this extremist approach just a year prior. Today, the conversation around public lands has fundamentally changed. The passage of Colorado Public Lands Day helped usher in an increasingly friendly political environment for our public lands; a 2021 State of the Rockies Poll found that 90% of Coloradans support creating new national parks, national monuments, national wildlife refuges and tribal protected areas.
And yet, despite all of these gains, there is still much work to be done. According to “The Nature Gap” report, Colorado has lost over a half-million acres of natural lands to development since 2001. The ever-increasing impacts of climate change bring worsening fire seasons that threaten our landscapes and wildlife. And communities of color and low-income communities still lack access to our public lands and are being disproportionately impacted by climate change.
We must build a more equitable conservation movement with more community-driven initiatives. Climate science shows that large, intact and connected landscapes – frequently found on public lands – are critical for our planet to successfully adapt to a changing climate. Recognizing this, the conservation community is calling to protect 30% of our nation’s lands and waters by 2030, a goal commonly known as “30×30.”
Locally, we have opportunities to make this goal a reality. In early May, the Pitkin County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution that calls on elected officials and “…state and local leaders to significantly increase the tools and resources available to achieve locally-driven conservation, and to facilitate collaboration and good-faith conversations among all Americans as we work together to achieve 30×30 and solve our nature and climate crises.” We’re excited to see such strong support for this ambitious goal.
Wilderness Workshop hosted a Colorado Public Lands Day celebration and preview of our summer events on May 15. These events take people into the heart of areas we are working to protect and provide opportunities to give back by volunteering on restoration projects. If you were unable to join us, visit wildernessworkshop.org where you can sign-up to be the first to know the full list of events (which we’ll announce right after Memorial Day) and learn about other ways to protect public lands. I hope to see you outside this summer!
Director of Community Organizing at Wilderness Workshop
We the People
Recently Mr. Will Hodges of 350 Colorado wrote opinion pieces published by local newspapers (The Aspen Times and Sopris Sun), whereby Hodges is critical of Governor Jared Polis who intends to veto SB-200, “The Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Increase Environmental Justice Act.”
While the greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals of SB-200 are quite worthy, it’s the method to get there, with the Orwellian “Committee on Environmental Justice,” that should frighten everyone. However, with the climate in mind, for the Roaring Fork Valley to achieve the 50% CO2 reduction by 2030 goal, there has to be developed in Western Colorado a fundamentally new energy infrastructure, completely independent of the legacy inertia of relying on Second Wave utilities such as Holy Cross and Xcel!
Visit bit.ly/HVDC info for information about High Voltage Direct Current Classic, “a disruptive technology” to distribute energy over new microgrids for “carbon-neutral-electricity,” including “Blue Hydrogen Electricity.” This technological innovation is perfect for achieving carbon-neutral-electricity for the transportation sector of the Roaring Fork Valley, to transition away from the internal combustion engine toward zero-emissions electric vehicles, including Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles
The Garfield County treasury has over $15 million in the “Oil and Gas Mitigation Fund.” I propose we use that money to fund preliminary consultants to present public proposals to “We the People of the Roaring Fork Valley.” Time is of the essence.
Carl L. McWilliams
Welcome Liz Mauro
Recognition to Matt Langhorst for his wisdom and foresight in the hiring of Liz Mauro to be the City of Glenwood Springs Landfill Manager. Liz Mauro was previously the Project and Compliance Manager of Compost Operations, and Supervisor at Pitkin County Landfill. Liz oversaw storm water compliance, biosolids reporting, compost facility management, compliance for landfill leachate, hazardous waste collection, construction waste management and noxious weed compliance, enforcement and education. Liz has been a lab technician for five years, Wastewater Treatment operator for seven years and Land Manager for two years in Pitkin County. I am positive Pitkin County is so sad to see her go. She left them in good hands and good condition. Glenwood Springs Landfill is grateful for her expertise. I think Matt Langhorst understands how valuable her experience and knowledge are with the reality of climate change.
I ask that people of Glenwood Springs support the removal of biodegradable food waste from the garbage stream. Food waste is the single largest component taking up space in U.S. landfills. Plus, decomposing food creates methane gas that is 86 times more potent than CO2 contributing to climate change. This is an easy way to make a big change.
Liz Mauro is capable and will be implementing a top-notch food and compost program at the Glenwood Springs Landfill. Matt deserves to hear a thank you for making a decision that reaches far into the future for positive change. Thanks Matt.