All of us should work to protect ‘our river’

Before the vote on the Dolores River Plan I was a little worried about our river. Now, after the surprising vote, I am really worried. What I mean about “our river” is the Dolores, which belongs to all the people in Montezuma and Dolores counties.

I had confidence the current commissioners would take a stand for less development. I felt the cowboy and the farmer, whom I believe have closer ties than the rest of us to the land, would hold firm. I thought they would appreciate fewer structures, leach fields and open pit mines, especially along our River. During the 1960s the River was mostly free from Lizard Head to Bradfield’s. The lower reach, from Dolores to Dry Canyon, had nice ranches, several swimming holes, good fishing and lots of wildlife. It is now under water.

I learned to accept the fact that we were helping farms grow hay and lettuce. However, let’s be honest, we, through our commissioners, have affected the rest of “our river” in a way that is mostly negative.

Think about rounding the curve above Stoner and instead of the beautiful view of the ranch we see 10 or 12 condos or trophy houses and all the extra stuff they bring to any development. Is that really the legacy we want to leave for our kids and their kids?

Like most of you I don’t own any land along the river. However, I feel a real kinship to it. We need to mull over these facts, both counties will continue to grow as people crowd in to share our good life. Enormous pressure will be placed on our remaining open land especially our river and its tributaries. Our current way of life will not be there for the future. We, the people who are in a position to slow things down, will be dead. We don’t want our River to live up to its name. Let’s try to maintain the status quo.

C. T. Butch Wilson