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Motoring toward Lake Nighthorse

Dear Editors,

First I want to thank your cartoonist Shan Wells for his excellent cartoon Jan. 20.

Second, with regard to recreation at Lake Nighthorse, I wish to recap the recent two-day planning meetings that occurred in the La Plata County fairgrounds. I was present for the entire two days. The planning group I chose to be part of was focused on recreation on the lake. Unfortunately, I was in a group that was dominated by boat owners. Anything that I suggested that might limit boat size or motor size or limit speed was overwhelmingly opposed by boaters. Their position was no limits on anything that would exclude any size boat or motor. The boaters even went so far as to allow houseboats and  

“ballast” boats (wake boats and certain sail boats that carry water as ballast ) even though these types of boats pose the highest risk of carrying invasive species like the two types of mussels that are a major environmental concern. The boaters did agree that only motors with underwater exhaust be permitted on the lake.

I suggested a maximum speed limit of 15 mph. The lake at its widest is only three miles from shore to shore and in the other direction only about 1.5 miles. At 15 mph a fisherman could get across the lake before all the fish disappeared. This suggestion went over like a lead balloon. “Not fast enough for water skiing!” “I want to be able to open up and go fast.” “My boat won’t even plane at 15 mph.”

My opinion is that motorized boats should not be allowed on the lake except for electric trolling motors. The argument of boaters is that the Wallop Breaux Funds that were used to build the boat ramp require that gas-powered boats be used on the lake. The Golden Eagles who nest4on Carbon Mountain and the deer and elk herds that winter over in  Ridges Basin will be adversely affected by loud motorboats. I suggest that we give back the money that was acquired from W-B and maintain Lake Nighthorse to as close to a natural setting as possible. (Of course the lake itself is not a natural lake, however the area surrounding the lake is home to very diverse wildlife. Lake Nighthorse now covers an area that was a high-quality feeding area for deer and elk. The elk and deer are being forced into subdivisions that are adjacent to the Bureau of Reclamation land in order to find food.)

As Shan pointed out in his cartoon, there are lots of opportunities in Colorado for motor boaters to enjoy their fun. Excluding certain kinds of activities on the lake does not exclude anyone from coming to enjoy the lake. Non-motorized boats including canoes, kayaks, sailboards and the like have very little impact on the people and the animals who could co-exist on Lake Nighthorse. Contrary to the headline “The People Have Spoken” in theDurango Herald recently, I don’t think the public has really weighed in on this subject. I don’t think that the public was included in the decision to accept the money to build the boat ramp in the first place. There is still plenty of time for the public to express their concerns.

– Mac Musick, Hesperus

Feedback from Farmington  

Editors and Will Sands,

Had a chance to pick up and peruse through your locally published somewhat amusing rag. I was totally amused by Will Sands’ tongue-in-cheek article about Gov. Susana Martinez’ stand on New Mexico’s environmental policies, and his take on coal-fired power plants in Northwest New Mexico. Seems he is quick to condemn what these two power providers have done to provide some of the cleanest coal-fired power in the Southwest.  

Bill, you close your eyes to the fact that Tri-State Power, the suppliers that provide LPEA their electricity, owns and operates some of the biggest polluters in the country. Most of your power comes from the coal-fired plant in Craig, which is rated one of the country’s worst. So, I guess what you are saying is, it’s O.K. to use dirty power as long as it isn’t generated close by.

Too, I loved the posted picture, of a two-stack power plant, showing exiting steam, not smoke, as you called it, and not a picture of San Juan Generating Station, which has four stacks and is one of the cleanest power plants in the country. That’s why Tri-State owns part of Unit 3 at San Juan Generating Station. Oh, and one more thing. Four Corners Power Plant will shortly be shutting down three of their older units and reducing their workforce that shops, dines and plays in Durango.

– Dennis Miller, Farmington, N.M.

(Editors’ reply: Thanks for the feedback Dennis, but the editors of this somewhat amusing rag disagree. Boasting America’s highest emissions of nitrogen oxide [Four Corners] and emitting the same amount of CO2 as 2.3 million automobiles [San Juan] hardly qualify as “the cleanest coal-fired power in the Southwest.” We believe that the solar panels atop Durango Telegraph headquarters and the green power fueling our homes actually make that grade. And while we’re sure Durangoans will miss playing host to employees of the Four Corners Power Plant, we’re guessing they’ll put a higher value on reductions in regional pollution and clean air for generations to come.)

A happy coincidence

Dear Editors,

Being a huge fan, I enjoy patronizing the wonderful variety of local establishments that advertise in theTelegraph. It is a happy coincidence that I am currently engaged in a program of healthy self-improvement and lifestyle modification, empowering myself to a more holistic approach to my own health-care options.

Please sign me up for some of that Durban Poison and/or Deathstar hashish – sounds like some good, wholesome medicine. All organic, right?

– Cordially, Davitt M. Armstrong, via e-mail

A historic victory for horses

To the Editors,

Colorado taxpayers now have a direct and meaningful way to help address the problem of unwanted horses. On May 27, 2010, Gov. Ritter signed into law Senate Bill 10-139, which creates the Unwanted Horse Fund Tax Check-off. The check-off allows Coloradans who wish to do so to donate a portion of their state tax refunds on their 2011 income tax form to assist in addressing the plight of Colorado horses for which homes cannot be found or whose owners can no longer care for them. The fund will be administered by the Colorado Unwanted Horse Alliance (CUHA).  

The tax check-off legislation is a historic victory for Colorado’s unwanted horses. It provides a mechanism for Coloradans to assist in funding programs, grants and research necessary to ease the suffering of unwanted horses and to reduce the number of horses without homes. The fund will help horse rescues increase the adoptability of their horses, reduce horse overpopulation, and assist owners who no longer want their horses or can no longer afford to keep them to make responsible decisions about their future.

An estimated 6,000 horses became unwanted in Colorado in 2009, according to research conducted by CUHA. CUHA encourages anyone who wants to help reduce that number and improve the lives of Colorado’s unwanted horses to donate to the fund on their state tax returns.

Information about CUHA can be found at www.counwantedhorse.org.  

– Christopher Whitney, CUHA board president, via e-mail



In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows