VAIL DAILY 10-13-14 CO EcoFlight focuses on Wilderness Proposals

Oct 13, 2014

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October 13, 2014
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EcoFlight’s latest airborne adventure focuses on wilderness proposals


Expand PhotoEcoFlight flew a group of students from Colorado colleges around Colorado, Utah and Wyoming to fly over and hike through wilderness areas.

EcoFlight flew a group of students from Colorado colleges around Colorado, Utah and Wyoming to fly over and hike through wilderness areas.

Expand PhotoStudents were flown over areas in Eagle, Pitkin, Garfield and Summit counties, learning about wilderness area both existing and proposed. Special to the Daily |

 

Students were flown over areas in Eagle, Pitkin, Garfield and Summit counties, learning about wilderness area both existing and proposed.

 

EAGLE COUNTY — There’s nothing like an aerial view to

broaden your perspective; there’s nothing like a hike in the

forest to focus it.

 

EcoFlight flew a group of students from Colorado colleges around

Colorado, Utah and Wyoming to observe and hike through

wilderness areas.

 

EcoFlight invites students from in-state colleges to spend a week

flying over and walking through wilderness areas — both protected

and proposed — and to learn why they it should be protected.

 

The focus of this year’s program is the celebration of 50 years of the

Wilderness Act. In this area, the students were flown over areas in

Eagle, Pitkin, Garfield and Summit counties, where they learned

about wilderness area both existing and proposed.

 

The students also learned that wilderness is not necessarily silent.

They learned this by hiking into the wilderness and sitting quietly

for an extended period of time.

 

“They sat in silence and listened to the world,”

said Michael Gorman, of EcoFlight.

 

Speaking of perspective, EcoFlight is clear about theirs.

They advocate for the protection of wild lands and wildlife habitat

by flying people over them.  Gorman said the flights help people

see the impacts of things like oil and gas drilling, mining, water

diversion projects, forest clear-cuts, road building and off-road

vehicle use. “Our job is to get people in the air so they can educate

themselves,” Gorman said.

The students left Aspen last Thursday and spent their weekend

collecting their thoughts about wilderness and its place

— and ours — in the world.

They did presentations on Tuesday at Aspen High School when they

returned to Aspen.

“They get exposure to all the issues. By presenting them with the

aerial perspective, we hope to broaden their personal perspectives,”

said EcoFlight’s Justin Patrick.

‘WHAT WILDERNESS MEANS TO US’

Jessie Dunlop is majoring environmental studies at the

University of Colorado.

“We’re seeking what wilderness means to us,” Dunlop said.

For Emily Denham, nature is therapeutic, something she hopes to

use in her chosen vocation.

James White has been out of college for 10 years, working in

digital media and broadcast design for Fox Sports, among others.

He also wandered around southeast Asia living on $10 a day.

He got sick, got well and got around. He published a couple large

format coffee table books about the experience and combined them

with his digital background. Some of his buddies were pilots,

and he saw how they were using geographic information systems.

He is now studying that at the University of Denver.

He said he’ll probably use his presentation as the foundation for

his next project.

 

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935

or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

 

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