VALLEY COURIER 10-15-19 Top of the Scene

Oct 15, 2019

ALAMOSA — Sixteen individuals saw a new perspective of Water in the Rio Grande Basin on Saturday.

Thanks to the Salazar Rio Grande del Norte Center and Eco Flights, a small group of students from Adams State University and Colorado Mountain College had the opportunity to take a flight over the Watersheds of the Rio Grande and Conejos Rivers.

Based in Vail, Colo., EcoFlights is a program designed to raise awareness about environmental issues among the younger generation.

Bruce Gordon founded the program in memory of his friend, singer/songwriter John Denver.

Since that time, the program has conducted trips that highlight issues across the United States. During Saturday’s tour, water-security issues, watershed health, forest health, and the importance of reservoirs were a central point of discussion.

The flight traveled from the San Luis Valley Regional Airport, up the Conejos, and over the Reservoirs at the headwaters of the Rio Grande, landing at the Creede Airport. Following lunch and discussion in Creede, the group returned to Alamosa.

Additionally, the trip included presentations from Cleave Simpson of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District, Rob Phillips of the San Luis Valley Irrigation District and Heather Greenwolf of the Headwaters Alliance.

During the flight, those in attendance viewed the magnitude of the West Fork Fire Complex of 2013 and the impact of the event on the Rio Grande Watershed. There was a consensus among the group that there is a need to speak out about the necessity of protecting natural resources. After the tour, Gordon admonished the students present to remember that natural resources and the health environment are essential no matter what side of the political spectrum one may fall on.