One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor,
One man’s wall is another man’s door.
One man’s river is another man’s creek,
One man’s plenty is another man’s bleak.
One man’s wild is another man’s tame,
One man’s glory is another man’s shame.
One man’s whole is another man’s part,
One man’s end is another man’s start.
One man’s treasure is another man’s token,
One man’s fixed is another man’s broken.
One man’s mountain is another man’s hill,
One man’s yawn is another man’s thrill.
One man’s deep is another man’s shallow,
One man’s wide is another man’s narrow.
One man’s long is another man’s short,
One man’s beauty is another man’s wart.
One man’s high is another man’s low,
Where do you draw the line?
Where would you draw the line on 3rd District Congressman Scott McInnis’ Deep Creek Yampatika Ute Wilderness Act? There seem to be wild fluctuations lapping the edges of that bill. No one seems to have a firm grasp of the situation. One side is calling for a high mark of 22,000 acres and the other side is calling for a low mark of 7,350 acres.
First of all, I’d like to commend Rep. McInnis for supporting another wilderness bill in addition to the 18,000-acre Spanish Peaks Wilderness and the Great Sand Dunes National Park in southern Colorado. They were good.
Unfortunately, there seems to be some foamy math coming out of his camp on the Deep Creek bill. As I understand it, Rep. McInnis has called for 7,350 acres of land to be designated as wilderness there. When you round-off 7,350, you apparently get 8,000. This is the number that Blain Rethmeier, McInnis’ spokesman, uses to describe the size of their proposal. He and Josh Penry, chief of staff for the House Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health, have both used the 8,000-acre figure to describe the 7,350-acre proposal.
They both say that environmentalists once supported an 8,000-acre wilderness area. According to my records, when the Mount Sopris Group of the Sierra Club first introduced Deep Creek protections back in 1997, the study area included 9,300 acres.
How did 9,300 get rounded off to be 8,000 also?
(May I use this kind of math on my tax forms, or do I have to be a government employee to do that?)
The environmentalists aligned under the Colorado Wilderness Network don’t look much better. A month ago it was reported that they wanted 22,000 acres. This month it was 21,000 acres. And then the number plunged dramatically to 11,000 acres with a contingency plan on the rest.
The story the numbers tell makes the environmentalists look greedy. You can’t jump from 9,300 to 22,000 without looking a little arrogant. If they were just looking to protect water flows, they should’ve said so. I’m sure the increased acreage would require new plans to purchase or trade water rights, right?
Conversely, if Rep. McInnis cannot guarantee that water will flow in a wilderness called Deep Creek, then we should rename it the “Not Very Deep Creek” to start with. The “Deep Creek Wilderness” without water would be a joke. But, it would go well with the Yampatika Ute name. They don’t exist there anymore either.
Personally, I’d rather see a wilderness too large rather than a wilderness too small. I’ve enjoyed watching deer, elk and bighorn graze in the meadows above the canyon. I’ve camped with coyotes on the upper rim and I’ve seen bear tracks there, too.
The Yampatika Utes used to camp in the meadows above the canyon rim as well. I know of a place called the “Buffalo Jump” where they used to herd bison over the cliffs from the upper meadows.
I’ve hiked the length of Deep Creek in the canyon. I’ve also driven my vehicle on nearly every dirt road on both sides of the canyon rim. There was more wildlife above the rim than below it.
For a healthy, intact ecosystem, I can’t imagine why a Deep Creek Wilderness could not be drawn around the edges of these upper roads. This would allow vehicle access to all the places already accessible while protecting the areas currently pristine. It’s a win/win situation.
If Rep. McInnis can “round-off” his Deep Creek proposal to include some rolling meadows and forests above the jagged rim, I’d bet he’d get at least another 8,000 extra votes in the next election (rounded off, that is).
Draw the lines if you dare, and protect the water if you care.
One man’s circle is another man’s line,
One man’s silence is another man’s whine.
One man’s water is another man’s right,
One man’s creek is another man’s fight.
One man’s gallop is another man’s whoa,
One man’s stop is another man’s go.
One man’s seven is another man’s eight,
One man’s love is another man’s hate.
Bernie Boettcher’s column runs every other Thursday in the Post Independent.
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