CFWE: Diane Hoppe Leadership Award presented to Gov. John Hickenlooper #COWaterPlan

Governor John Hickenlooper at the Colorado Foundation for Water Education's Diane Hoppe Leadership Award Reception, May 20, 2016.
Governor John Hickenlooper at the Colorado Foundation for Water Education’s Diane Hoppe Leadership Award Reception, May 20, 2016.

The administration of water rights is serious business. Governor Hickenlooper recognized the need for a Colorado Water Plan and then issued an executive order to produce one. Some said that he was asking them to, “Do the impossible,” that is, bring the varied entrenched water interests in Colorado together.

The Colorado Foundation for Water Education presented the Governor with their first Dianne Hoppe Leadership Award yesterday evening. Eric Hecox, board president, cited Hickenlooper’s leadership, dedication to wise governance, and faith in the power of listening to all sides in an issue to find common ground.

The governor credited everyone involved with the Water Plan. He singled out the IBCC and roundtables for their 10 years of effort working the grass roots across Colorado.

Heather Dutton received the Emerging Leader Award. Greg Hobbs’ introduction on Your Colorado Water Blog says, “[Heather Dutton] the newest manager of the San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District, glories in the heritage of the Rio Grande River. She’s a fifth-generation daughter of the Valley’s farming and ranching community, like her father Doug, who farms in the center of the Valley.”

Ms. Dutton thanked her family for their support and also cited the collaboration and mentoring from friends and colleagues.

Nicole Seltzer and the CFWE staff are getting pretty good at throwing these shindigs. I thought it was a great tribute. to change the President’s Award name to the Diane Hoppe Leadership Award. She was instrumental in passing the legislation that established the Colorado Foundation for Water Education. Diane passed this year but leaves a deep legacy.

Here’s a gallery of photos from the event:

2016 #coleg: Third Saturday in May set aside to appreciate the state’s outdoors — The Denver Post #keepitpublic

brushcreek

From The Denver Post (Joey Bunch):

On this day a year from now, Coloradans will get to celebrate Colorado Public Lands Day, thanks to a bill that squeaked through the gridlocked legislature this year.

But in terms of better protecting Colorado’s public lands, that hat-tip is about all that got accomplished this legislative session…

And like most discussions of the increasingly politicized issue of public lands in the West, the commemorative day turned into a mountain-sized argument. Kerry Donovan, a Democratic state senator from Vail, introduced Senate Bill 21 during the first week of the four-month session in January, and it passed during the session’s last week in May.

Amendments in the legislature larded up the bill with partisanship and acrimony. Finally, Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, a strong conservative from Sterling, brokered a solution in a committee tasked to find a compromise.

The committee stripped out all the added amendments and preserved just the day and its name…

House Democrats killed another Republican bill this year that would have given local and state law enforcement more authority over federally managed lands…

In a West Vail diner this week, cradled by the high, green shoulders of the White River National Forest, Donovan reflected on the work that led to Hickenlooper’s signing her bill into law, making the third Saturday in May each year Colorado Public Lands Day…

Over eggs benedict and coffee, Donovan pulled out a letter her grandfather, Bill Mounsey, wrote to Gov. Dick Lamm in 1976. He compared the growing public push to preserve public lands to the American Revolution. Mounsey helped chart the boundaries for the Eagle’s Nest, the Flat Tops and the Weminuche wilderness areas for The Wilderness Society.

Her parents successfully sued the U.S. Forest Service in the early 1970s to prevent a timber sale in what would become the Eagle’s Nest Wilderness Area, protections that were pending before Congress.

To Donovan and countless Coloradans, public lands are a lot more than trees and dirt — they’re a fight worth having.

“They’re one of the most beautiful examples of democracy, right?” she said. “It doesn’t matter what your station in life is or how much money you make or what your background is or anything. We all have the same ability to go to a trailhead, walk out and have the experience of enjoying those lands.”

Sonnenberg is in the camp that public-lands advocates such as Donovan and Scott Braden of Conservation Colorado fear most. He supports more state control over federal lands to allow more use of the economic resources and more access for the public. Sonnenberg thinks the federal government does a horrible job of it at Coloradans’ expense, citing wildfire prevention, pest control and over-regulation.

The cost for Colorado to control federal lands could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars each year, but Sonnenberg said the state could swing it by allowing more use with responsible management, the way it manages state lands.

“I’m afraid the issue has become too polarized on both sides,” he said this week. “We need to find something in the middle and cut all the rhetoric on both sides, to get down to what the issues are. Public Lands Day came together at the end, because people were willing to do that.”

[…]

“It’s easy to go inflammatory on this [state takeover of federal lands],” Donovan said. “Will the Maroon Bells be sold off? No. We’re not going to sell off these incredible vistas and the most valuable assets. But would public lands across the state start getting chunked off without a lot of people being able to keep track of it? Absolutely. And who’s going to be the highest bidder? Not some land-conservation nonprofit.”

Latest News – May 21

Leadville Today

All Aboard! Specials and Packages on the Rails

Next Saturday, May 28 the Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad‘s (LCSR) will blow the whistle on its 28th year in business. So “All Aboard” to catch up with what’s happening on the Leadville train.

The Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad track crew worked hard to clear all of the snow off the train tracks earlier this month. Opening Day is one week from today, May 28. Photo: LCSR The Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad track crew worked hard to clear all of the snow off the train tracks earlier this month. Opening Day for the 2016 summer season is one week from today, Saturday, May 28. All Aboard! Photo: LCSR


Spac_50Daily train rides will begin over memorial Day Weekend, with an afternoon ride leaving at 1 p.m. until June 18, when things kick into high gear with two-a-days, departures at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

This year, there are more packages and special rides than ever. If you and your family/group are looking for some Rocky Mountain adventure, take your pick from the “Raft and Rail”…

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