We need more protected spaces in Mesa County

I am grateful that Denver Rep. Diana DeGette continues to champion for the conservation of public lands with the reintroduction of the Colorado Wilderness Act.

In Sunday’s Daily Sentinel newspaper, Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland reacted to the introduction of the Colorado Wilderness Act with a misleading and inaccurate statement saying that protection of these lands would be a “slap in the face of people with disabilities because you can only access it if you’re able-bodied and can walk or hike.” I want disagree with her statement for the following reasons.

Rep. De Gette’s bill provides for protection to nearly 600,000 acres located in 36 places across our state. Colorado’s magnificent BLM-administered public lands lag in protection relative to other public lands — only 8% have permanent protection. It is time to recognize the many, many gifts we all gain from protected landscapes and successfully pass legislation that will guarantee their protection.

One of those gifts is the various forms of wildlife that live in protected places. We all enjoy watching them, some of us hunt and fish, others simply enjoy occasional sightings and knowing that the wildlife are there living their lives as they have for ages. Wildlife need large protected places were they can raise their young, find needed food in the winter, and graze across a variety of landscapes as the seasons change. Protected lands like those in this bill give all of us cleaner air. As plants go through the process of photosynthesis they give off oxygen which we need while taking in carbon dioxide which we need to have removed from the air. Then the plants sequester that carbon in the ground. We need protected lands to clean our water as it travels from high places to our agricultural lands and our communities. Protected lands shelter cultural artifacts from the people who lived here in the past. The native plants found on protected lands are the basis of over 50% of our medicines. Protected landscapes are places were those seeking peace and quiet can find the personal renewal for which they are searching. Wilderness areas are places with rules about what can and cannot be done in them, but those limitations also give many need things to all of us.

Providing much needed clean air, clean water, home for wildlife, protection of native species of all kinds is not a slap in the face.


Grand Junction

Stay the course; don’t abandon what flattened COVID curve

When a doctor diagnoses an infection and prescribes a 10-day course of antibiotics, we don’t stop taking the medicine after the fourth day because the symptoms improve. We keep taking it for the full 10 days to assure the infection gets completely cleared up.

If the way you are behaving in college earns you “A” grades, you don’t start skipping classes and partying because you’re doing well. If a behavior regimen works, you stick with it so you graduate and don’t waste your tuition money.

When something is working to move you toward your goal, you don’t slack off doing it because it works. You take that success as a signal to keep doing what you are doing, because that’s how you achieve a goal — by doing what works.

So I don’t understand why, when current behaviors to rein in the pandemic are working to reduce case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths, we all of a sudden reverse course and stop doing what is working.

Why do we take success at reining in the pandemic as a green light to change course and encourage people to engage in more of the behaviors we KNOW WORSEN the pandemic — like telling people it’s OK to gather indoors in bigger numbers, more often and for longer amounts of time? That will only set us back and prolong the pandemic, and public health officials know it.

The only thing that will vanquish this pandemic once and for all is doing what WORKS to rein it in. If we view any progress as a green light to let up and engage in more behaviors we know make the pandemic worse, we’ll be living with constant masking, an oppressed economy, physical distancing and the inability to visit or hug our family and friends — forever.


Grand Junction

Rick Wagner’s ‘Doublethink’ musings are double baloney

Rick Wagner’s Doublethink is double baloney. Building homes for the homeless won’t reduce homelessness? Using taxes from marijuana to improve the community; ask Palisade and Debeque. A better education doesn’t make better citizens? Stricter gun laws don’t keep guns away from some of the crazies and gun safes don’t prevent child deaths? Laws passed without your consent? Try voting. And as for “Municipal leaders who have shown an inability to be successful should be reelected to lead their city to a brighter future.” Last time I looked this city and this county is mighty red. He probably thinks red lights, stop signs and speed limits are a loss of freedom. Doublethink, double baloney.


Grand Junction