Our letters section and your opportunity to weigh in and be heard. Send us your thoughts and profundities. You can contact us here.

Land exchange not an either/or choice

To the editors,

Dennis Pierce’s Aug. 2nd letter to theDurango Telegraph implies that the proposed Glacier Club “land swap” is an either/or choice: Either we allow 265 acres to be ripped out of the Haviland Recreation Area, and watch as yet another precious wetlands gets demolished – or, we condemn two other worthy parcels of pristine land to suffer a like fate. Mr. Pierce would have been more accurate to say, “many people oppose the hostile takeover bid against the long-loved and much-used Haviland Recreation Area, using two other worthy parcels as bait.”

Hermosa Park and Mitchell Lakes parcels certainly should be protected, but not at the sacrifice of 265 acres of critical buffer zone between the already densely developed Glacier Club compound and the heart of the ever more visited Haviland Lake and Chris Park Campground area. Interestingly, this land contains a section of historic wagon road, first one up to Silverton, built in 1876.

It’s difficult to understand anyone who has witnessed the building out along the Highway 550 corridor these past few decades not being alarmed by the relentless pace of development and the closing off of vast swaths of previously open land to the public.  How long before the great outdoors north of Durango becomes as inaccessible to the public as the river that flows through the Animas Valley is today? Do we want Highway 550 to become one long, gated community-lined corridor through these lower mountains?

Hopefully, all the attention and passions that Glacier Club’s hostile take-over bid has created will encourage and sustain a movement to acquire, and protect, the Hermosa Park and Mitchell Lakes parcels, along with affirming the long-standing borders of Haviland Recreation Area.

– Sincerely, Peter Miesler, Durango


Glacier Club swap sacrifices common good

To the editor,

The business of the Forest Service is to preserve our wild lands, not submit them to the bank accounts of a privileged few. How can a community trust a government agency willing to sell us, and our environment, out to corporate or powerful interests, against our will and at our expense?

How many graduates of the Red McCombs School of Business Administration do we have in government positions? Selling public lands to become private property rights for developers to turn into private profit rights has absolutely nothing to do with the greatest good for the greatest number. The free market has become an infestation of humans in a perverted manifest destiny, where “get rich quick” developers advertise to find and claim demand, while communities are left as chumps footing the bill cleaning up after developers, while losing open space. Our various governments might as well hand us a shovel to dig our own graves. Development has crossed a threshold that places communities in harm’s way as prime land, agricultural or wild lands are forbidden to the good of the community and environment and are dissipated into hands of “must-have growth” profiteers.

A lesson Mr. McCombs and others missed was in science classes where students studied classic experiments as: how many rats can be placed in a box before conflict turns to violence? Market place profits are destroying our natural resources and selling out our citizenry to a privileged elite that is leading the charge in squandering our resources. We need natural filtration of our waters, not over-use combined with additions of herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers to our ecosystems. Communities need room and opportunity to move about in open space and not be confined to sardine cans while the common good is sacrificed to fortunes for developers, amusement for the privileged and tainted security for government officials. With gated sub-developments and abundant additions of “No Trespassing” signs, how many privileged squanderers can we add to our community before conflict turns to violence?

– Stephanie Johnson, Durango

A Colorado range war

Dear Editors,

There’s a range war raging in Southeastern Colorado. It’s not between cowboys and sod busters. It’s a clash between a ranching culture that has worked the fragile short grass prairies for over a century, and a military culture that has a track record of turning large hunks of the earth into toxic wastelands, between traditional agricultural and the military-industrial complex. We find ourselves fighting to defend our land and our way of life against an invasion by our own military. Ranching families are praying that they will not be forcibly removed from their homes so that the Pentagon can turn our region into a huge, live-fire zone.

There have been other culture-clashes around here. Back in the 1860s, the natives were in the way of the gold around Denver. So they were forcibly removed by the military.  In 1914, coal miners went on strike, demanding safer working conditions. The military was sent in to protect the interests of the coal companies and the result was the Ludlow Massacre.

This time it’s not gold or coal, but oil. The Department of Defense says it needs the southeastern corner of Colorado to train troops to defend multinational petroleum interests. In the 1800s, Easterners saw the Indian Wars as something far removed from them. The Coal Field Wars were also looked upon as local skirmishes by people in Denver. Now we worry that the current clash between ranchers and the military might be viewed as a local struggle between landowners and the government.

But the human rights of Native Americans, miners or ranchers are never just local issues. There are core principles at stake. The struggle in southeastern Colorado is not local. It’s about global wars for the control of oil.

We’re asking all Coloradoans to stand with us to protect our state’s archaeological, historical, natural and cultural treasures from being plundered. The Colorado Legislature recently withdrew our state’s consent for the military to seize our land by eminent domain. The U.S. House of Representatives has approved an amendment blocking funds for the expansion of Piñon Canyon. Now it’s up to our two senators to make sure that this amendment stays in the bill.

Please tell them to protect Colorado’s heritage from this military land grab so that we can use our land to produce food and to generate wind and solar energy to free us from our dependence on oil.

– Sincerely, Doug Holdread, via e-mail

Kudos to 9R for videotaping

To the Editor,

 Our thanks go out to the 9R School Board of Education who agreed last month to resume the videotaping of their board meetings. Using two cameras, Durango Community Access Television (DCAT) will record the meetings for broadcast on Cable Channel 22. Initially the meetings will be broadcast about two days after each meeting. As soon as the live feed from the 9R facility to the cable company is installed, DCAT will broadcast live. Residents without Bresnan cable access will be able to download the recordings from the school district’s web site, www.durangoschools.org.  DCAT will begin this effort starting with the Aug. 14 board meeting, so for those of you unable to attend the meeting, please plan to check the broadcast schedule on Channel 22.  Board meetings are currently held the second Tuesday of the month.

We are also grateful to the Durango, Bayfield and Ignacio school boards for agreeing to co-sponsor a combined School Board Candidate Workshop. A total of 11 seats on these three school boards will be up for election this fall: If you are considering running for board positions, this is the year to do so. To learn what it means to be a school board member, plan on attending the workshop, Aug. 11, 8:30 a.m. to noon at Mercy Regional Medical Center. See our website, www.lwvlaplata.org for details and sign-up information or call Pam Patton, 884-2206.

– Ellen Park, president, League of Women Voters of La Plata County

Don’t let the fire go out

Dear Editors,

Five years ago, on Aug. 9, 2002, the fight against the Missionary Ridge Fire was declared over. It was a time that will be etched into the memories and history of our community. Extraordinary sacrifices were made. Homes and structures were lost. Many sleepless nights and worrisome days were spent. A man’s life was lost.

Yet today, five years later, we can all share the tremendous possibilities to continue to grow from the experience of what happened here five years ago. The Missionary Ridge, Five Years After the Fire – Remember, Learn & Prepare event-planning committee would like to take this opportunity to sincerely express our appreciation for all of the organizations, businesses and individuals who assisted us in promoting our mission to remember, learn and prepare.

– Thank you, The Missionary Ridge, Five Years After the Fire – Remember, Learn & Prepare planning committee

The Stamp Album

The stamp album collection sits on the shelf.                                                                               It was passed down from grandpa to dad                                                                                 And from dad to me.                                                                                                                       

As a child I would wait anxiously                                                                                                   For the two hundred stamps purchased for a quarter                                                                Which would come by mail every month.

The stamp album was my introduction                                                                                        To geography, history and art;                                                                                                    Each stamp depicting the heroes, fauna and flora,                                                                    Of far away peoples and lands.

I would imagine sailing great ships, visiting temples                                                             And meeting great leaders.                                                                                                               I learned of the four chaplains and how they lost their lives                                                      In World War II, the plight of the whooping crane,                                                                      And the fight against polio. I was introduced to King George                                                   Of Great Britain, King Leopold of Belgium and Queen Wilhelmina                                         Of the Netherlands.

I discovered ancient countries and provinces such as Cilicia, Cyrenaica and Carpatho.    I visited the palaces of Luxembourg, the gardens of Versailles and the jungles                Of  French Equatorial Africa.                                                                                                             

I thought of the letters these stamps sealed: the secrets, the dreams, the hopes,         The tears and joys. Who were these people, what happened to them?I touched the seals and wondered.

Grandpa and Dad have passed. Each are buried in national cemeteries and                        I quietly thank them when, on occasion, I take the stamp album off the shelf                    And once again, recall the imaginary journeys of my childhood.

– Burt Baldwin



In this week's issue...

July 18, 2024
Rebuilding Craig

Agreement helps carve a path forward for town long dependent on coal

July 11, 2024
Reining it in

Amid rise in complaints, City embarks on renewed campaign to educate dog owners

July 11, 2024
Rolling retro

Vintage bikes get their day to shine with upcoming swap and sale