We live on a busy planet. That’s a fact we cannot change. Something we can change, however, is the way we protect our increasingly finite natural resources. Here in the American west, our watersheds are becoming the targets of increased attention. Thanks to heavy pressure from our expanding population and the detrimental effects of climate change, we now lay witness to incessant battles being fought between conservationists and municipalities over the rights to these invaluable resources.
This past October, fellow conservationists celebrated a checkmark in the win column that came at the hands of our friends from the Western Resource Advocates organization. Working together with the city of Aspen and a number of other conservationist groups, the WRA was able to hammer out an agreement that involved abandoning plans to construct a pair of dams on Maroon and Castle creeks in the upper Roaring Fork drainage. In their stead, the city plans to adopt and implement creative, smart water alternatives that not only provide the town with the water they need, but also futureproof the town from climate change and fluctuating water needs down the road.
This agreement should be viewed as a prototype for other communities in the West and beyond. There is a way for opposing groups to meet in the middle on a plan that has everyone’s best interests in mind. After all, it’s the natural wonders that surround us that make this earth such and incredible place to call home. Sacrificing those wonders for immediate needs is shortsighted and can be very dangerous. Once the damage has been done, it’s often too late to go back.
On behalf of outdoor enthusiasts, adventures and fly fishers, the team here at Yakoda, would like to extend a thank you to our friends at the WRA for bringing this deal home and making sure that our wild and free places remain just that—wild and free. We are looking forward to a lifetime of adventure in the Roaring Fork valley as well as many more victories for our beloved watersheds both near and far. The forests alone have no voice, and without organizations like Western Resource Advocates, we’d have no sword with which to defend them.