April 10, 2014
From the Gunnison Country Times
THE 'WHY' BEHIND PUBLIC LANDS PROTECTION
The Gunnison River watershed and surrounding mountains and valleys are a unique ecosystem that needs to be protected. We, the local residents and citizens of the world, are fortunate that some large open spaces remain that can be protected. For within the boundaries of these open spaces and wildernesses are contiguous areas for plants and animals to live and thrive.
In an editorial in last week’s Gunnison Times, Will Shoemaker of the Times, asked the “Why” of the Gunnison Public Lands Initiative. He went on to say, “Yet, I raise these questions with emphasis on what’s best for us and the place we call home.” I maintain that what is best for us humans is to preserve these open spaces and wildernesses. In the past man has taken a very self- centered approach to this earth and its other inhabitants for short term monetary gain, a desire to “conquer” the wilderness and simply because we can. We have conquered the wilderness, for man has touched and modified nearly every spot on this planet. Now it is time to respect and save what is left.
Millions of years of geologic activity and evolution have created the beauty that surrounds us. As human beings we see and feel this beauty. When we enter into a relationship with natural habitats by visiting them, our spirits are lifted and renewed by realizing that we are part of something much larger than ourselves. We are part of this incredible mystery called life.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, an act which helped lay the foundation for the preservation of our natural heritage. Let us continue that legacy. Preserving wilderness and open space is the right moral action. We humans and the plants and animals of this earth, as far as we know, are the only living organisms in this infinite universe. This is why I say yes to the Gunnison Public Lands Initiative.
Paul Buck, Gunnison