Wolves. Wild horses. Water.
Wouldn’t you say the three most controversial and divisive topics in the west?
I can see both sides on the first two topics and am unable to choose sides. I can see through the power and passion of emotion ruling both segments to a middle ground where the two should but just won’t meet, won’t budge, won’t give, fingers pointed and backs turned and nothing positive is resolved. That’s where we need to focus. On the compromise. I guess that’s usually how things end up getting resolved. But in the meanwhile, it does take both borders to define the middle ground. Change often requires conflict to come about.
And then there is water. The first essential to life. The west was built with liquid gold, and our future is pending upon it. I see no controversy in the obvious and inevitable. What am I missing here, because somehow, we’re not agreeing that there is a problem? Man based, nature based, call it what you will. While some places are getting flooded out, pummeled with regular deluges, and learning that natural disasters are a usual occurrence, the Southwest is drying up. Yes, even in the high mountains. Even in my back yard.
Yesterday Forrest and I hiked up West Lost Trail to Slide Lake. Elevation 11,400. We wore shorts and t-shirts. There was green grass, wild flowers and the dog swam in the waters while the squeals of the pika and marmot echoed on the hard face of the rocks surrounding us. And everywhere we looked the one rich green slopes were striped with the red and brown of dead trees defining draws and shoots as the beetle kill seemed to be pouring from the top down. If you don’t get this picture, figure this out. 11,400 feet elevation should just be melting out in May.
Data from the NRCS as of May 18th show the Upper Rio Grande Basin snowpack level, which was reading at 52% of average, dropped to 14% with the peak a full month ahead of average. Current reports from the Snotel at Beartown read the water equivalent of our snowpack to be at 1% of average.
These are not opinions. There is no emotion here. These are simply stated facts, real and raw. Do you see a problem? So now the question is raised. What are you going to do about it? What am I going to do?
Maybe it’s just this year, we say. Maybe it’s just a coincidence. Maybe we don’t have a do a thing.