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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Occasionally, I try to imagine what Marble Valley would look like today had the ski area developers prevailed. Permits for a schlock alpine village of 25,000 residents were being fast tracked. (In comparison our expansive town of Carbondale has a population of 7,000). Half a century has passed since CVEPA activists and founders galvanized to defeat this greed-fueled and poorly conceived development proposal. My imagination of the development is terrifying but it inspires gratitude and motivation.
What if the West Divide Project actually pursued their conditional water right and built a 301 foot tall dam in the Placita Gap? A CVEPA trustee succeeded in getting them to relinquish those rights after almost 40 years (with the help of Pitkin County).
What if the reclamation of Coal Basin was left half-finished after the State spent the inadequate bond money Mid-Continent Coal Corporation was required to post?
Mission statements – You can tell a lot about a company by its mission statement. Don’t have one? Now might be a good time to create one and post it here. A good mission statement tells you what drives a company to do what it does.
CVEPA trustees influenced and teamed with the State to complete the project.
What if no one questioned CDOT’s continued dumping of landslide debris in Placita Valley which was scheduled to bury upland sage habitat for half a mile along Highway 133? CVEPA alerted the Forest Service, demanded a halt to the dumping and helped the departments find a suitable dump site.
The list goes on and on but the lesson is that if you see something that doesn’t look right, it is because it isn’t! If you don’t speak up who will? In short, what would our valley be today without the commitment of our predecessors who recognized the unique and often fragile beauty of the Crystal Valley and were willing to fight to protect it?
One of CVEPA’s greatest challenges is facing us right now. CVEPA is seeking the next generation of environmentalists. Engagement of the next group of people who are devoted to defending our valley is critical to our future. Succession is a vital component of our mission. The past fifty years has taught us well. Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much!