March 2019 - Soaring Soirée

Mar 27, 2019
Captain's Log Starship 1XE, Day 15 in the month March, Earth Calendar year 2019.
What a winter it has been. It feels like I have spent the entire time in a blizzard. Driving in snowstorms, skiing in them and flying around them en route to our partners in California, the very same storms that ended up bringing extreme weather to Colorado. So extreme that an avalanche in Conundrum Valley, where I live, is being evaluated as the largest of its kind in U.S. history.

In between navigating these 'pineapple express' moisture-laden storms, we were still able to accomplish most of our missions in the Golden State: documenting connective desert wildlife corridors with policy makers, scientists, and staff from the National Park Service, flying an urban development proposed shortsightedly in the middle of three wilderness areas, flying our iconic Joshua Tree National Park, and working for the protection of the unique Puente-Chino Hills corridor.
EcoFlight's inaugural Soaring Soirée in Snowmass
So, finally home for a short while to host our inaugural gala. Many of you might be familiar with this type of event as a fundraising vehicle but I was not. Gala: a social occasion with special entertainments or performances, a black-tie gala that begins with a cocktail reception done as a fund raiser. I guess the term black tie event put me off since I don't own one of those outfits.
But, what an evening Janey and our crew put together. We were surrounded by so many friends and supporters, including a personal message from Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado and a keynote address by friend and former Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, who is running for president.
The Governor was quoted in our local paper saying he had known Bruce Gordon "a long time and was an immediate supporter of EcoFlight because it was able to change people's perspectives. He praised Gordon and his partner, Jane Pargiter, for their willingness to improve everyone's knowledge of the environment."
And for what it's worth here is an abbreviated version of my speech: "Janey and I were having cabin fever so we planned a quick getaway to join daughter Tessa for a long weekend of skiing in Fernie, BC, a beautiful town, reminiscent of Aspen 30 years ago, in the shadows of huge mountains and incredible wilderness. Taking a nordic ski into a protected area, I saw the following sign: Whether we are hiking, swimming, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing or biking, or just taking a walk or having a picnic, our time in the outdoors connects us to this place and makes us a part of its future. But our choices and our job as stewards of this land don't stop there: the policies we support and our involvement in the processes that govern the land will also determine the story people will be telling in fifty years. What a privilege it is to play an active role in our legacy!
Looking around at the vast mountainous wilderness I was especially moved by this note." I spoke about what a privilege it has been doing my conservation flying and working with so many dedicated individuals working to protect our heritage of wild lands in the West, and what a privilege it is to leave this legacy.
Thanks to all of you out there - activists, funders, leaders and followers, who care - the real heroes of the conservation movement!
Bruce Gordon