Since 1972 the Crystal River Environmental Protection Association (CVEPA) has been fighting for the water, land, air, and rural and wilderness culture of the Crystal River Valley. Although we are a small, volunteer organization with no paid staff, we have an impressive history of fighting to protect the incredible environment surrounding us. CVEPA stopped the development of an alpine ski area above Marble, helped to oversee the reclamation of a major coal mine, helped prevent a proposed dam from destroying the upper Crystal River Valley, and continuously works to ensure public access to public lands around the valley.
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Even while preparing for the 50th anniversary celebration, CVEPA was active as an environmental watchdog. Members filed an inquiry with Gunnison County last week about a riverbank restoration project underway on private property affiliated with the Marble Airstrip, about 2 miles west of the town of Marble.
Photo by Molly Briggs
A ragtag citizens group was started in 1972 with an ambitious goal of preventing development of the Marble Ski Area and a related real estate scheme. The little group that helped defeat the Marble Ski Area celebrates its 50th anniversary. The Crystal Valley Environmental Protection Association continues to help protect the special place!
The origins of CVEPA began back in 1970 when a handful of Marble residents and others in the Crystal River valley, decided to form a group to oppose the development of a proposed major ski area in Marble, which also included a massive surrounding residential development. J.E. Devilbiss, a Carbondale lawyer who later became District Judge, drafted the charter for a non-profit to oppose it and named the new group the Crystal Valley Environmental Protection Association (CVEPA).
Jack Roberts was a well educated artist who loved western history. One of his other passions was the Crystal River Valley.
He used his artistic talents to help spell doom and increase public interest for not only the plans for the Placita Dam (West Divide) project, but also the Marble Ski Area proposed development. Mr. Roberts created many cartoons that tell the story of CVEPA’s battles on behalf of the Crystal Valley, depicting the characters and situations in uniquely pointed ways. CVEPA is fortunate that Jack Robert’s son, Gary Miller, made these cartoons available for our website.
" . . . One wonders if those three people drinking coffee at a kitchen table in Marble 50 years ago envisioned the future impact the nascent group would have on their beloved valley. Did they know that the environmental threats wouldn’t stop? That the use of the area by visitors would increase dramatically? Could they have envisioned social media and its impact on an ever-widening love of the outdoors? Did they foresee climate change and how it has made resources more scarce, wildfires more frequent, and wildlife habitat more rare?"
" . . . We are fortunate that much of the Crystal Valley’s agricultural lands are now protected by conservation easements. These legal restrictions permanently retire development rights and protect land for continuing agricultural production. The Darien Ranch, Cold Mountain Ranch, Sustainable Settings and other key irrigated lands in the Crystal Valley are now safe from development. "