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Colorado forum focuses on collaborative land stewardship

Partnering on public lands

Collaboration is on the agenda at a March 23 stewardship forum in Grand Junction.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Struggling with funding shortfalls and increasing and competing demands on natural resources, public land managers are increasingly relying on collaboration with citizens and user groups to get the needed work done.

The drive toward collaboration, rather than confrontation, will manifest in western Colorado this week, as stewardship groups, volunteer coordinators and citizens gather Friday  in Grand Junction for the Western Slope Outdoor Stewardship Forum.

One of the panelists is Dave Neely, top man for the U.S. Forest Service Eagle/Holy Cross Ranger District, who firmly believes that engaging the public in stewardship of public lands is a big part of maintaining a sustainable economy in Eagle County.

“We need to connect people to the landscape, and we need healthy landscapes to support a sustainable economy … If you think about how people make a living here, so much is tied to the quality of our natural resources,” said Neely, who will be part of an early morning panel on community engagement at the Grand Junction forum. The full agenda is online here. Continue reading

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This week in Colorado history

Early drug warnings, historic highways and Earth Day, circa 2000

This illustration in the Eagle County Blade helped describe the perils of opium addiction.

Editor’s note: Newspaper journalism has often been described at the first draft of history and it’s always illustrative and entertaining to go back and riff through the archives. Summit Voice correspondent Jennifer Brancaccio has agreed to comb through the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection to compile a weekly look back at stories from the days of yore.

Compiled by Jennifer Brancaccio

The Eagle County Blade – April 28, 1910

The Curse of Opium

Drug awareness education is not unique to the modern era, As early as April 28, 1910, the Eagle County Blade was reporting on the dangers of opium. Elliot Flowers described the story of a successful man who was building a career and climbing the social ladder. Upon developing an opium habit, he fell into a life of crime, “borrowing” items to feed his habit. His brother took care of him, helping him to break the habit. Though he was free of it, opium still ruined the man’s life. He was seen as a ‘tragedy’ and a pathetic man. He died miserable and with nothing.

Flowers went on to explain how opium was a taxed import, used to create morphine, to help with a patient’s pain. Smugglers would sneak in opium, in order to avoid the tax, to supply opium dens and addicts.

Some addicts came to form an addiction unknowingly through morphine use, injecting the drug intravenously while others smoked it intentionally for the high. All become desperate for the drug, exercising any means possible to obtain it. Sometimes, an addict would use cocaine to ease the withdrawal from opium, only to engender a new addiction. The cycle would continue, leaving the addict desperate and bereft of hope.

Flowers revealed through interviews with police from different cities that it’s impossible to “hit the pipe” and not become addicted. Physicians and businessmen were often the most vulnerable to the drug followed by ministers. “No crime great or small is beyond the reach of the person surrounded by such conditions.”

The author closed his article with another story, one about a couple happily engaged. The fiancé developed an opium addiction and his fiancée, a devoted and loving woman, stood by his side when he confessed his addiction and went through treatment. Though he beat his habit, the husband fell back into it and his new wife was so devastated that she also fell to the addiction. Together they ran an opium den, feeding the addictions of others until their arrest. It’s interesting to see that a version of a public service announcement condemning drugs and notifying the public of their dangers was available in the early 1900’s. If you’re on the home page, there are more stories after the break … Continue reading

Vail Resorts helps fund White River NF restoration work

Upper Homestake Creek targeted in early efforts

Forest restoration work in Eagle County will get a boost from Vail Resorts and the National Forest Foundation.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After tackling forest rehabilitation in the Hayman Burn area last year, Vail Resorts is contributing $200,000 this spring to help jumpstart a large-scale collaborative restoration and enhancement of national forest lands in the Vail and Eagle River valleys.

In partnership with the National Forest Foundation, work will begin along the Upper Homestake Creek area in the Upper Eagle River Valley.

“We will repair trails and bridges, rehabilitate campsites that are affecting conditions along the creek, improve fish habitat, cut hazard trees infested by mountain pine beetle, and plant trees in campgrounds to get a jumpstart on the future forest,” said Eagle District Ranger Dave Neely.

All of the work will be accomplished with support from partner organizations including the Eagle River Watershed Council, Student Conservation Association, Eagle County Youth Corps, with support from the foundation’s ski conservation fund and Vail Resorts’ Echo program. Continue reading

Colorado wilderness bill introduced in Congress

A new bill introduced in Congress could add 166,000 acres of national forest land in Colorado's Summit and Eagle counties to the federal wilderness system.

Most local communities and stakeholders supportive of plan; Boulder-based mountain bike group still has reservations about a few areas

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Just a few hours before Congress went into recess for the election season, Rep. Jared Polis, a Boulder Democrat, finally introduced a bill that would add about 166,000 acres of national forest land to the federal wilderness system.

The measure is based on a citizen-generated plan that’s long been called the Hidden Gems proposal. That name has been stripped away, as were several large chunks of land — after off-roaders and snowmobilers expressed concern over their loss of access to public lands. Continue reading

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