Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It Must Be A Dream


…The new look “Colorado Rockies” looked woeful in the hot July heat. A once promising right handed reliever walked the bases loaded, only to give up a go ahead three run triple to a pinch hitting lefty that hadn’t been able to lift the bat off his shoulder, let alone lace one down the line in a clutch situation. I’ve seen enough. Taking the last big gulp of my now warm banquet beer, I remembered the days when a Coors label let you know that the beer was still cold, but that was a long time ago. I emptied out of my seat, only to wait in the aisle on my way out of the stadium, wishing I had ordered another dog and stayed put. I was frustrated enough. It is July in Colorado, and the only thing to do outside is watch less than perfect baseball. What happened to the days I used to wet wade in the Colorado River, chasing trout that used to call those waters home?

The boulevard showed off foreign grasses in brilliant green as I walked back to the parking ramp where I had left my car. Stone condos lined the street, a reminder that not long ago Colorado’s population had grown to unhealthy levels, before ebbing back a bit in the last few years. It appears that the brochure’s these transplants had received from the Colorado Chamber of Commerce painted a picture of what used to be, not the reality of the new Colorado that had taken advantage of its natural beauty to print an ideal. Propaganda that brought a new crop of people to a state that was known for its mountains, rivers, and availability to outdoor recreation. I should know, it wasn’t long ago that I was one of those transplants. After all, there are only two places people from Fargo move after high school, Denver or Minneapolis.  I just chose Minnesota before Colorado, but here I am.

I left Denver heading north, wishing I was home. Looking west I saw a hidden glimpse of Long’s Peak, a 14er I have always wanted to hike, but have never taken the chance. It’s been awhile since I’ve been in those hills. It’s been awhile since I’ve strung a rod. Nothing against carp, but I can catch those close to home. And when the water disappeared a few years ago, it took both the trout and my desire with it. Just take a drive up a canyon road and you’ll see ghost towns created by the greed and green grasses up and down the Front Range, displacing small businesses and families that loved a state that used to give so much. A state that used to care, not wavering to the highest bidder, no matter what their environmental impact study found. It'll be fine, we need water, but not in the mountains, "they" say. Our population is growing, and Greeley owns its rights to the Colorado, and Million traded the Green River for a pipeline that does nothing more than line his pockets. But who cares now? I just miss my trout. I miss Colorado, I miss the west.

It’s been a few years since Governor Hickenlooper effectively killed the Colorado River, but that’s his legacy. He chose to trade small business and the Colorado lifestyle for a few drops in the bucket. Doing nothing more than draining one of the West’s true wonders in response to a spreadsheet that warned of population growth in cities, not the impact it would have on a watershed that provides more to a state than insignificant fish. He had his chance, but listened to the wrong people. Just like many before him, and I’m sure a few after him. But that’s politics, and he wears his sponsors proudly on his sleeves. Just like a Nascar rounding the final turn as the winning advertisement. Who knew Cheerios were so fast?

I pulled into the driveway, only to find two three weights in the hands of the two little Sanders boys. They were laughing, playing two swashbuckling pirates, not worried one bit that dad would mistake two fly rods for swords. I smiled, happy that my boys never got the chance to see a trout, as I try to protect them from getting hurt and the disappointment I now feel for the loss of such beauty….




*I know that this is late notice, but if you are in Denver tomorrow (2/22), please join Trout Unlimited, the folks from Save the Colorado, and all the others that fight so hard to keep water in our rivers. The festivities start at 11am on the steps of the Colorado state capital, and each voice matters. It’s not too late for us to be heard, let’s just hope our Governor listens. It should be easy for him though...does he want to be the governor that saved the Colorado River, or the governor that watered all the lawns and golf courses in Denver?


See you there!

24 comments:

  1. On point. I'll be there tomorrow!

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  2. I can't be there in person but I'll most definitely be there in spirit!! It seems like such a no-brainer....unfortunately some of the people in question who make the decisions fall into that category.
    Good Luck!!

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    1. I just hope the Governor looked out a window to see some people who care.

      Glad to have your spirit along for the ride today!

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  3. Another guy that has a job. I can't be there in person but will also be there in spirit!

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    1. You were with us in spirit for sure! Lots of people turned out, hopefully someone listened.

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  4. Well written, Sanders! These battles seem neverending... Less than perfect baseball. Yeah, I know about that too...I grew up with the Angels when they barely could put 7,000 in the seats! Not anymore! Lol. A time and a season for everything, I guess! Hopefully, Colorado gets it right sooner than later.

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    1. RD! The battles they are neverending for sure. Just when you start feeling confident about a decision in your favor, the switch is flipped. Hopefully people realize the value of a river and make the best decision for the state.

      I grew up a Twins and Cubs fan, so I feel your pain...I guess I've always liked the underdog :-)

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  5. Well done Sanders. You had me at baseball...until the prospect of the New Colorado River was presented. I wish I could be there. Cheers to you sir.

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    1. Thanks Ivan. It was worth the drive to Denver to show some support, glad I went. You were with the others in spirit!

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  6. Awesome piece...although I wish there wasn't a need for you to write it...you know? You know.

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  7. Nicely done. Show, don't tell. Wish I could be there.

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    1. Thanks Mike! It was definitely good to be there, hopefully someone heard the mob...

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  8. In 2008, I had the unique privileged of doing the start-up for this initiative: http://colorail.com/ Concept: connect Colorado via passenger rail, which means compact growth, lower impact.

    Rural Dems -- in Pueblo were major supporters. However then Gov Ritter killed the Sentate bill to get this onto the ballot, and the "environmental" groups didn't want to fight the gov. In 2006 an anti-growth initiative suffered the same fate.

    Bottom line: the existing players don't give a rats ass about Colorado, and only the "silent majority" of Colorado (not Nixon :) )need to unite, and take back this miracle.

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    1. Anon- Thanks for stopping by! and thanks for the background. It's a sad day when the voices of many are drowned out by the money of some. I just hope someone sees the value in our natural heritage sooner rather than later.

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  9. On my way. Being from Fargo you'll be able to find me. I'll be the guy with the funny look ya know.....I just look funny.

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    1. Mark- Great to meet you today! Glad we could lend our voice/presence to the cause.

      Looking forward to getting on the water with you sometime!

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  10. Somehow they seem to think taking 2/3 of the water isn't going to matter. I'd like to take away 2/3 of what matters to them and see if they get it. Probably not though. They'd just steal it from somewhere else.

    A long uphill fight for a downstream flow...

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    1. A long uphill fight for a downstream flow...I like it (the words, not the truth of that statement)!

      I think your right, maybe we should see how the governor feels about a 67% reduction in his salary...

      Thanks for the comments as always.

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  11. Visions of the future Sanders- sons and no fish. You'd better teach them to play baseball....

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    1. Not a happy vision (well, sons or daughters would be nice, the no fish part is what gets me)

      ...not sure I'm the best baseball coach...ha!

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  12. hopefully the future you write about has been avoided. I've just recently joined our local TU chapter. I was hesitant at first because, I don't know what they do (they being the local chapter not TU). I don't think they have meetings or events. I think that is mostly because we are about 3 hours from the closest trout water. We'll see if there is any active involvement, but at the least, the membership dues are a donation to a good cause and a way to protect what we love.

    Great writing.

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  13. Thanks d nash! Sorry for not responding sooner, but I've been moving the last week or so and have gotten behind...anyway.

    Glad you joined TU out there, hopefully you meet some good folks!

    Appreciate the comments as always.

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