Community Agriculture Alliance: A river connects us, brings us health |

Community Agriculture Alliance: A river connects us, brings us health

Lindsey Marlow
For Steamboat Pilot & Today

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The season is changing in the Yampa Valley, and it is changing quickly. It starts with the sound of the birds returning, then the increasing sound of water as the snow melts and drops turn into trickles. Trickles meet and turn into a stream making a soothing noise as it goes past; those little streams meet to make creeks as the sound increases turning from a trickle to a roar as all become one — the Yampa River.

The rising Yampa marks the beginning of the season. We see the grass slowly emerge and the ground’s hue changing from a tan or brown to vibrant green seemingly overnight. Every time you enter the outdoors, the scenery becomes new and yet remains the familiar place we all love. 

As the Yampa rises, so does new growth, so does new life and so does our spirits. Whether you’ve lived in Colorado all your life or you just moved here, you are likely familiar with the health benefits of the great outdoors. In fact, it seems that the season changing couldn’t have come at a greater time.

The Rocky Mountains offer countless outdoor opportunities to its residents and visitors. Within the Yampa Valley there is a heritage of love for our lands and love of our Yampa River.

Whether as a rancher living off of the land and the river or an outdoor enthusiast, the love of our lands — and river — runs through us and is used by us. The river is the lifeblood of our community, and whether you think of your community as Steamboat Springs, Routt County or the entire Yampa Valley, we are connected by it.

Although the reason for our love of the river may be slightly or largely different, we all need it. 

During this time of COVID-19, we are fortunate to live in this valley. We have the river, we have our public lands, we have our rolling and green vistas dotted with grazing cattle.

At a time when our physical health is at risk from a global health crisis, we could all use a boost. There is no better time to get out, enjoy the outdoors and our beautiful scenery, natural and human influenced. There is no better time to spread out and use this time as a great reason to discover a new place, a new way to enjoy the outdoors. There is no better time to truly realize our dependence on the land and our river for our mental health, our livelihoods.

Always remember this connection with nature’s resources, and when you are able, do what you can to make sure these resources are sustained and continue to connect us all.

Lindsey Marlow is program manager for Friends of the Yampa.

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