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Large Landscape Conservation in the Rockies: Colorado College's State of the Rockies Project event
April 8, 2014 (Click photo to enlarge) Coyotes, cats and birds in California's coast canyons set the stage for Dr. Michael Soule's keynote talk on the need for large predators, landscape scale conservation and trophic cascades. He illustrated: wolves eat elk, elk eat willows, beavers eat willows, brids lurk in thewillow-filled stramsides - take out the wolves and the effects cascade down through the plants and animals leaving no place for the beavers and birds.
He recounted an early research project with students in California. They surevyed the canyons in San Diego - islands of chapparal surrounedd by a sea of development. Canyons that had no coyotes also had very few birds. Canyons with coyotes had more birds. Why? House cats, he called them subsidized recreational hunters, frequented the coyote-less canons, eating the birds to oblivion. A trophic cascade.
Prior to Dr. Soule's talk, we viewed the premier showing of Spine of the Continent, a video which captures the summer trek of the student video team from the Sky Islands in New Mexico to the Flathead Valley in British Columbina. Filled with interviews of ranchers and conservationists, it presented many hopeful aspects of large scale conservation efforts in the North American west.
The Celeste Theater at Colorado College was filled with students and friends for this final event in their 2014 State of the Rockies Project. Student research projects are described in the 2014 State of the Rockies Report which is available from CC at www. This was a rare opportunity to hear several perspectives on how our Rocky Mountains are faring from those deeply involved in conservation of large wild places.
Browns Canyon moving toward protection!
View of Browns Canyon rocks with Mt. Princeton across the valley in the distance.
Bennet Joins Effort to Preserve Browns Canyon as National Monument
Chaffee County, CO –Today, Senator Michael Bennet became of a cosponsor of S.1794,The Browns Canyon National Monument and Wilderness Act of 2013, to protect Browns Canyon region as an invaluable economic and natural resource for Chaffee County and the state. The bill, originally introduced by Colorado U.S. Senator Mark Udall in December, will designate 22,000 acres along the Arkansas River as a national monument, preserving the pristine wilderness area and ensuring recreational access for years to come.
Browns Canyon needs your help Write to Rep. Lamborn today We wish you could have heard Garrett Reppenhaggen describe how the after effects of his deployment in Iraq were healed by the wild places he visited near his childhood home in Manitou Springs.
A full house greeted him, Bill Dvorjak of Friends of Browns Canyon, Scott Braden of Conservation Colorado and representatives of Wild Connections, Colorado Mountain Club Pikes Peak Group and Pikes Peak Group of Sierra Club at the Browns Canyon Happy Hour.
We also viewed the Spirit of Browns Canyon film - watch it here. Get ready for a real treat as you journey through the proposed National Monument.
Everyone was happy about Senator Mark Udall's "Browns Canyon National Monument and Wilderness" legislation. The designation would protect 22,000 acres, including 10,500 as Wilderness. However, less happy was hearing that Congressman Lamborn has taken a "neutral" position on protecting Browns Canyon. Both Houses of Congress must approve Wilderness legislation, and we need to ask him to introduce a companion bill to Sen. Udall's legislation.
Please let Rep. Lamborn know that Coloradans support Wilderness - it's good for wildlife, for back country recreation, for the economy and for future generations. Do it now!
Garrett recounting how wildlands helped him heal. Photo Conservation Colorado
Protecting Wilderness Sen. Mark Udall introduced Browns Canyon legislation
The Pike-San Isabel National Forest has many Congresionally designated Wildernesses, and Browns Canyon National Monument will include 10,500 acres of Wilderness in addition to other protected lands to bring the total to 22,000 acres. Go to his blog for all the details. There is a video in the right column of the Senator unveling the bill in Nathrop.
View from Browns Canyon across the valley to Mt. Princeton. Photo Steve Valimaki
Browns Canyon legislation is a common-sense bill "Over the last 18 months I developed this bill working side-by-side with Chaffee County leaders, residents, businesses and other stakeholders. We developed this community-driven bill to ensure future generations of Coloradans can enjoy Browns Canyon's unique mix of whitewater and wilderness," Udall said. "This grassroots bill will help create jobs, strengthen Chaffee County's economy and preserve this special place for decades to come. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to protect Browns Canyon and pass this common-sense bill."