Water on the Brain 2.0
Dear Telegraph,
It appears that hydrocephalic forces have again warped editorial duties for your water-related pieces, this time in the recent top story entitled “Bending the River.” Evidence of this surfaces early, in the caption to the story’s lead photograph of boaters floating a stretch of Reservoir Powell.
First off, it is misguided to suggest that the 1922 Colorado River Compact set the rules for governing the river’s water supply for seven states in the Lower Basin. Rather, as originally intended, the Compact involved an agreement of mass water allocation between the Lower and Upper basins. Together, both basins include the seven western states of WY, CO, UT, NM, NV, AZ, and yes, even California. Second, there are only three states commonly referenced as constituting the Lower Basin (i.e., NV, AZ, and of course, California).
As such, the caption to your story’s leading photograph wrongly suggests that the pith of the 1922 Compact involved water allocation in states solely located in the Lower Basin. And again, there are three of these as opposed to seven. Yet even more troubling is the caption’s total omission of the Upper Basin states, where the majority of the River’s flow originates. As a lifelong Upper ‘Basiner’, I take issue with this. Perhaps I am overly sensitive to the fact that golf courses, swimming pools and megacities in the Lower Basin continue to consume a lion’s share of the precious precipitation that falls in mountains and valleys of my beloved Upper Basin. Or perhaps my surliness is rooted in the fact that I’m always ready to pick a fight when it comes to misrepresentation or even worse, misuse, of the grand old Colorado. Whatever the reason, the misguided caption for your publication’s top story prevented me from reading the actual story. For me at least, it was over before it began.
– For the River, Brad Clark, Durango

The rapids of the river trail
To the Editors,
This playful letter is to alert others, and to ask for more information about: “The Rapids of the River Trail.”
Never mind the hotshot kids who don’t check the trail ahead/behind when they swerve impulsively 4 along the trail, or come blasting onto the trail (without looking) from somewhere/anywhere...  They’re like speedboats who could care less: it’s up to the rest of us to avoid them. And I have no concern with the bumply-bouncy-root-ride behind Nature’s Oasis. I think it’s fun.
However, on a recent ride along the River Trail, I encountered these rapids...  
1) Logjam Rapid: What do we do about the “Double Logjam Rapid?” The trail is thoroughly and emphatically blocked from either side of the Durango Mall. The only way to GET to the Mall (coming from the town end) is to backtrack through Serious Texas Barbecue. If you want to continue along the bike trail to the other end, you are thrown into the Lava Falls of the highway until you reach the Wal-Mart turnoff (no pun intended). For how long will this “logjam” be blocking the smooth flow of the river-trail? (And curious minds want to know – I missed reading about the final decision – please tell me what IS happening behind the Durango Mall.)
2) The Fumigator Rapid: No predicting where you’ll encounter it – it’s very slow, and on the move somewhat. I speak of golf-carts. Are they even allowed on the River Trail? Today, perfectly good-hearted citizens had stopped along the trail to talk. The golf-cart was in the middle of the trail, and the bikers were on either side of the cart, each sideways to the trail, thus completely blocking traffic. None of them even noticed me coming ‘til I was upon them (slowed to a respectful crawl). I could get around by going onto the dirt... but, well, you know.  The more irritating problem was as I was returning from Logjam Rapid (I must add), I re-encountered the golf-cart folks. They had moved along, and were now stopped in the shade on a turn in the trail (near the bumply-bouncy-root-ride). They filled up the right-hand side of the trail. I could easily pass them on the left. However, the accumulated fumes of their engine were precisely what I ride the River Trail to escape.  Is this going to be the trend of the future for the River Trail?
– With a smile, Sara Ransom, Durango

From Dennis to Shan
Dear Eds,
What a great Shan Wells cartoon in the Aug. 11 issue of the Telegraph. Even though I know that his position is that Obama isn’t progressive enough, I’d like to think that he finally understands that a community organizer job is not a stepping stone to the White House.
– Dennis Pierce, Durango

Plastic realities
Dear Editors,
According to “Bag It: The Movie” and many other sources, it turns out that having a single-use flimsy plastic bag given to us every time we shop pollutes rivers and oceans, kills marine life and birds, and destroys our natural environment to build ships and trucks to transport these bags thousands of miles to stores. The environmental impact of these practices on our quality of life is too high. I mean seriously…we do all this just to have a plastic bag that realistically may only be used for a total of 30 minutes?
Past solutions have focused on recycling, partially solving 10 percent of the problem. First because 90 percent of pollution comes from our production and manufacturing processes. Second because to recycle, we use more resources building recycling plants many of which are conveniently located in nearby China, which means that, yes, we actually transport “used” plastic bags all the way back to China to plants that are toxic and create health hazards for the adults and children working in them. This is an unwise use of our resources and an unnecessary threat to human health.
A local poll indicated the majority of Durango residents support banning plastic bags.  Some also ask, “What will we replace them with?” A great question. I propose we produce good quality bags and reuse them. Bags made from locally grown materials by local people would also create jobs.  
In the meantime, banning single-use plastic bags in our town is a great start. Please share your ideas on the petition at durangobagit.com. Go on. Type in the URL now and share your views. And then come and see the movie, “Bag It” in October at the Smiley Theatre. Check our site often for details.
– Zahra Lightway, Durango

The water crisis
To the Editors,
For the past several weeks, the local media has carried articles focused on the importance and the growing scarcity of water. Water is, unquestionably, the most familiar and most important substance in our lives, which makes the growing water-availability problems that we face critical to our ongoing survival. Changes to how we view and plan for water usage should be approached now with creativity and forethought rather than at the advent of a crisis. All water problems are local or regional, and their solutions must originate locally or regionally, underlining our individual responsibility for our water behavior and habits. To help us learn more about water issues and possible solutions, the League of Women Voters of La Plata County and the Durango Public Library invite you to attend “The Water Crisis at Home and Abroad,” a study and discussion series to be held in 4 sessions from noon to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays, Sept. 6, 13, 20 and 27 in Program Room #2 at the Durango Public Library. We are honored to have Dennis Lum, Professor Emeritus of Fort Lewis College, who will provide information, as well as moderate and facilitate our discussions. For more information and a syllabus of each session, see  www.lwvlaplata.org/waterseries.html.
– Ross Park, Durango