A Coalition of Non-Motorized Recreationalists Meet in Glenwood to Discuss “Quiet Use” | Up Bear Creek
by Art Goodtimes
May 10, 2007 | 238 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print

QUIET COMMOTION … If this group is making a ruckus, they’re doing so in service to a notion of quiet on our public lands. A raft of hikers, bikers, kayakers, hunters, anglers, and birders gathered at the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs last weekend for a Quiet Use Coalition conference to discuss ways to take back our public lands from the onslaught of motorized users screaming through the landscape … “Something has been lost,” explained keynote speaker Jim Furnish, a retired 35-year Forest Service veteran and deputy chief under Mike Dombeck. “Something dramatic has taken place on public lands,” referring to the explosion of motorized uses in the backcountry, a place where folks used to go for solitude and the natural soundscape of the wild … “Traditional users have been displaced by motorized users,” noted Tom Sobal, volunteer coordinator for the Quiet Use Coalition … “Only 4 percent of Colorado is two miles or more from a road,” explained Roz McClellan, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Recreation Initiative, “and 71 percent of those areas are alpine or subalpine acres.” Areas that are difficult to access for most quiet users … Suzanne Jones, regional director of The Wilderness Society, identified three causes for this huge change in character of our once-quiet public lands: 1) increased motorized use, 2) new technological breakthroughs in motorized uses, and 3) less agency funding for recreation and travel management … But all was not doom and gloom. My colleague Pete McKay from San Juan County and I detailed the cooperative work San Miguel, San Juan, Ouray, and Hinsdale were spearheading in order to get a handle on OHV use in the high alpine pass areas we share – including a jointly-funded alpine ranger, new coordinated ordinances that will allow cross-jurisdictional enforcement and requirements for drivers’ licenses and insurance for all OHV riders in the high country … But probably the most fascinating talk was by sound engineer Kurt Fristrup of the National Park Service. He offered a comprehensive look at sound, its effects and at new and improved methods of measuring it – including some simple equipment for less than a hundred dollars that we could use to monitor our high pass soundscapes and see where noise violation hot spots might be occurring. He promised to send me his PowerPoint, which I would like to show to the Telluride community this summer. He even offered to come talk to us to explain better the importance of sound in our environment … Some folks will tell you that a couple decibel increase in noise isn’t significant. Not so, explained Fristrup. “A three decibel spike in sound loses a listener 50 percent of their listening area.” He also noted that there are “many species of blind vertebrates, but there are no deaf invertebrates.” Hearing is essential for a critter’s sense of warning. The effects of sound, added Fristrup, are not only to scare animals away from an area, but also to limit the natural sounds one can then hear, like birdsongs … My takeaway from the Quiet Commotion event was a growing sense of the urgency of federal and state land managers coming to grips with the changing nature of our wild lands and the need for quiet users to get involved with agencies in planning and working collaboratively to come up with management strategies for restoring the quiet to big chunks of the public lands (not just wilderness), while at the same time providing reasonable areas of motorized recreational use that don’t involve resource damage … “Quiet use isn’t land protection,” noted Sloan Shoemaker, executive director of the Wilderness Workshop. “Quiet use has impacts just like motorized recreation.” But at the same time, Furnish struck a firm note, “The status quo is not acceptable. OHV abuse must be stopped and its proliferation must be curbed and brought into regulation.” … For more information, visit the Quiet Use Coalition’s website (and get involved) www.quietuse.org.


PEACE MEET … The World Peace Conference is hosting an international gathering in neighboring Santa Fe at the Hotel Hilton May 16-17, Building a Culture of Peace. You can join 500 peace leaders from around the world in a two-day inquiry on how we can build a culture of peace in our society … Speakers include Arun Gandhi, Nobel Peace Laureates Rigoberta Menchu Tum and Jody Williams, as well as His Holiness the Dalai Lama … This is envisioned as an open space process in which everyone is an expert in sharing wisdom, leading edge questions and best practices in five peace councils – 1) Demilitarization and Peace Economy, 2) Our Youth Our Promise, 3) Knowing the Other as Ourselves, 4) The Living Spirit of Peace, and 5) The Politics of Peace … Organizational tables at the associated Peace Fair are available for only $29. And individual registration is only $45. For more info, call 505/827-6461 or go to www.worldpeaceconference.org.

 WEEKLY QUOTA … “More than half of all farm spending [federal subsidies] flows to roughly 5 percent of America’s farmers.” -Scott Faber, director of Environmental Defense’s Farm Policy Campaign

 ARE WE SMARTER THAN YEAST? Richard Heinberg, author of the books The Party’s Over and Powerdown, shows a slide during his presentations that plots the vertical growth of yeast when sugar is added to a petri dish. The yeast multiply out of control before starvation and toxins in their own waste cause a massive die-off. In the next slide Heinberg plots growth of the human population since the discovery of fossil fuel, a curve that happens to match the growth part of the yeast curve. Then he asks, are we smarter than yeast?

 SILVERLINE PROJECT … A number of folks have lobbied me about this project, and the associated Mountain Village Rec Center. After much digging and lots of questions and emails, I've come to the same conclusion Mayor Rube Felicelli and the town council have made – this seems like a proposal that will provide significant benefit for the region, as well as the Mountain Village. I would urge a yes vote, for those who can vote.

 © 2007 Art Goodtimes




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