When: Thursday, January 21 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Glenwood Springs Community Center, 100 Wulfsohn Road, Glenwood Springs, Colorado
SUMMIT COUNTY — What happens to Colorado’s recreation economy if the rivers and streams dry up, the forests die and wildlife is extirpated?
Under some of the worst-case climate change scenarios, impacts to the state’s natural resources could be devastating, and even some of the more moderate global warming models suggest there will be big changes in snowfall patterns, runoff and distribution of vegetation in the state.
It’s not easy to pinpoint exactly what the effects will be, but a panel of experts will try to do just that when they meet Jan. 21 for a public roundtable on climate change impacts on the West Slope of Colorado.
The panel will try and answer at least a few questions: What happens to our superlative hunting, fishing, bird-watching, whitewater rafting and more? What is the potential financial impact, and moreover, the impact on Colorado ’s precious outdoor quality of life?
According to a press release announcing the roundtable, the event won’t be an esoteric academic conference. Organizers said the focus is to look with an educated eye at what happens to the West Slope Colorado’s outdoor recreation industry, to tourism numbers, to the state’s natural heritage, in the advent of increasing climate change.
Along with potential economic losses, there’s also the issue of western Colorado’s culture and identity. The roundtable organizers point out that outdoor recreation is a way of life on Colorado ’s West Slope. The region’s natural amenities and the recreational opportunities they provide are a major part of the area’s culture and identity. Conserving this heritage entails protecting the natural resources that allow for it. Addressing climate change is part of the protection plan.
The roundtable will include Tom Schreiner, the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s Climate Change Coordinator. Schreiner will explain the likely impacts of a changing climate on Colorado ’s wildlife. In addition, he will detail the impacts of hunting and fishing on Colorado ’s economy and the ways in which climate change will affect our hunting and fishing economy.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climatologist Dr. Joe Barsugli will speak about the science of climate change and its impact on the West Slope. The preponderant amount of evidence shows that human activities are changing the climate. Dr. Barsugli will explain the basics of this science and answer all questions about the truth of this science.
Eric Kuhn (Colorado River Water Conservation District) works in Glenwood Springs. He will drill down into the science to address the impacts climate change will have on water issues related to the Colorado River and its fisheries.
Ken Strom (Audubon Colorado ) will detail the impacts of the changing climate on Colorado ’s bird populations and discuss the impacts of this on bird watching in the state. He will also detail the impacts of bird watching on the state’s economy and the ways climate change will impact it.
Ken Murphy, an outfitter with Rock Gardens Rafting based in Glenwood Springs, will talk about the ways that climate change will impact whitewater businesses in the state.