C.J. Mucklow and Medora Fralick: Uniqueness based on Western heritage | SteamboatToday.com

C.J. Mucklow and Medora Fralick: Uniqueness based on Western heritage

We support the passage of Referendum 1A, the Preservation of Ranchlands and Natural Areas.

Why vote “yes” on 1A? Two recent studies show that agricultural landscapes and natural environment are the most appreciated amenities for our Routt County citizens. Referendum 1A provides the necessary funding for the preservation of these assets. Here’s why your support is so essential:

First and foremost, in our resort economy, one that competes with all the resorts in the world, our uniqueness in the marketplace is based upon our landscape, showcasing our Western heritage, including agricultural fields, meadows and rivers. No other resort has this unique combination. If our community doesn’t step up to protect it, nobody will.

Our scenic landscape is important to locals and visitors alike; that’s why we use it as advertising to promote our Western image, one that separates us from other resorts in Colorado. Other resort landscapes in Colorado are protected by federal ownership. By contrast, our Yampa Valley landscapes are privately owned. To hang on to our uniqueness, we must offer incentives to protect the private property from development.

Second, while most of us don’t know it, our riparian forest along the Yampa and Elk rivers is globally rare, as noted by The Nature Conservancy. This riparian forest and surrounding agricultural lands are home to many wildlife species, including deer and elk, numerous plant species and neotropical songbirds. Referendum 1A offers us the best opportunity for a voluntary protection program of these areas. (Remember, the vast majority of Routt County’s riparian areas are privately owned). Again, we can’t rely upon anyone else to help us protect these valuable assets.

Third, agriculture still matters to Routt County. We are distinctively situated as one of the greatest grazing environments for cattle and sheep in the continental United States. Losing this ability to produce locally raised food is an unrecoverable loss. Historically, all cultures that sustain themselves have the ability to produce their own food. This is an asset the Yampa Valley doesn’t want to lose. Referendum 1A will provide for livestock and crop production and provide the triple bonus of agricultural lands producing food, supporting riparian forests, making for an impressive destination resort.

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Vote “yes” for the program that allows landowners to voluntarily protect their land from future development. Since 1996, this program has been successfully run by a Citizens Advisory Committee, protecting more than 7,400 acres of Routt County open space. Vote “yes” on 1A to continue the efforts to preserve our Ranchlands and Natural Areas.

C.J. Mucklow
Advisor, Citizens Advisory Committee for Purchase of Development Rights

Medora Fralick
Yampa Valley Land Trust
Board of Directors