Steamboat Pilot & Today (November 3, 2012)
By Tom Ross
Steamboat Springs — Yampa Valley residents have a chance Sunday night to admire images from John Fielder’s newest books while gaining renewed appreciation for the wealth of benefits lottery proceeds, in the form of millions of dollars in Great Outdoors Colorado grants, have bought to the landscape of the Yampa Valley.
Fielder, easily Colorado’s most-recognized landscape photographer, will give a slideshow and speak at Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library, placing particular emphasis on local projects that have received GOCo grants.
Anytime I pull one of Fielder’s books out of my own library, I never fail to be impressed at his ability to find great photographic images in all kinds of light. His 1993 book “To Walk in Wilderness,” about a summer devoted to the Maroon Bells–Snowmass Wilderness Area, is a great example. Some of my favorite images in the book were made under overcast skies. And if I’m honest, I have to acknowledge that I might have been foolish enough to take a pass on those photographic opportunities because “the light was too flat.”
His newest books are a guide book, “Guide to Colorado’s Great Outdoors: Lottery-Funded Parks, Trails, Wildlife Areas & Open Spaces,” and a picture book, “Colorado’s Great Outdoors: Celebrating 20 Years of Lottery-Funded Lands.”
I can promise you that Fielder’s presentation will help you see our valley through fresh eyes.
But Sunday’s presentation takes on additional meaning from the fact that it also will observe the 20th anniversaries of GOCo and the Yampa Valley Land Trust, which also has played a major role in preserving the Yampa and Elk river valleys. Fielder will give 30 percent of the proceeds from book sales to the Land Trust.
GOCo’s grants to land preservation projects here are too numerous to mention.
As recently as June of this year, GOCo announced a $2.4 million grant to help secure a conservation easement that would add trail links and a public fishing area along the Yampa River just south of city limits. A portion of the funds also would be used to create a parking area formalizing access to a piece of city land straddling the river between Snow Bowl and Steamboat Campground at the Fournier Open Space.
GOCo was created by a citizens initiative approved by 58 percent of voters statewide in 1992. It is funded by half of Colorado Lottery proceeds.
GOCo had awarded 109 grants totaling $18.6 million in Routt County through June 2008, but the true number was closer to $30 million with inclusion of $12 million in grants for projects overlapping county lines. The largest share of the $12 million is $9.4 million for the Yampa River Legacy Project. And the grants have continued to flow our way.
GOCo grants also come in smaller packages. In 2011, a $35,000 grant helped to complete the Beall Trail on Emerald Mountain, and a grant of $21,840 supported the Steamboat Springs Community Youth Corps.
Sunday night offers the opportunity to see the Yampa Valley the same way one of the most talented photographers in Colorado does, while showing appreciation for what Great Outdoors Colorado and its staff have done for the landscape we love.