From the Steamboat Pilot & Today: “Photographer Zooms in on Yampa Valley With Presentation”

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.

John Fielder captured the YVLT-conserved Rossi Ranch, the state's first conservation easement to be funded by GOCO.
John Fielder captured the YVLT-conserved “Rossi Ranch on the Yampa River,” the state’s first conservation easement to be funded by GOCO.

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.

Ambassador Bats Coming to Steamboat Springs to Help Dispel Stigma

Steamboat Today

Yampa Valley Land Trust sponsors bat specialist Rob Mies as he returns to Werner Library on Sunday for two live bat programs featuring ambassador bats from around the world.

Nichole Inglis


Steamboat Springs — The silhouette of a bat is an ancient Halloween trope: Nocturnal and mysterious, the bat often is cast as a spooky symbol of fear and fright.


But bat conservation specialist Rob Mies is in Steamboat this weekend to help dispel the stigma of a fascinatingly misunderstood creature: They’re not slimy or dangerous, and they’re not disease-ridden; they’re actually more closely related to primates than rodents.


Mies will be bringing four ambassador bats from around the world to Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library on Sunday, including a Malayan flying fox (at 3 pounds, she has a 5-foot wing span), a big brown bat that can be found in Colorado and an endangered golden bat from an island in the Indian Ocean.


He and the bats will appear at a family-oriented event at 3 p.m. and a more in-depth adult program at 6:30 p.m.


The events are free, but donations will be accepted for the Yampa Valley Land Trust.


“I think the first thing I like people to understand is how amazing bats really are,” Mies said. “They’re the only mammals ever to fly. It’s very unique and even strange in the mammal world.”


And not only are they curiously interesting, they’re invaluable ecologically and economically.


Mies said a recent study placed a $34 billion value on bats for U.S. farmers who rely on bats to eat the nighttime insects like moths and beetles that could destroy crops or force farmers to use pesticides.


They’re also vital to the pollination of several plants, including the agave plant used in tequila.


“Toast the bats every time you have a margarita,” he said.


Here in Routt County, bats are an important part of environmental conversations.


The Yampa Valley Land Trust, which is sponsoring Mies’ two appearances Sunday, has a specific reason for its interest in educating the community about bats: The group is responsible for finding a new home for about 1,000 little brown bats that happen to reside on the historic Rehder Ranch. The land trust hopes to renovate the five historic structures on the property but not without working with state and national wildlife officials on finding a way to conserve these native creatures.


“We love the bats,” said Susan Dorsey, executive director of the Yampa Valley Land Trust. “We’re working to give them a home of their own.”


As a part of his presentation, Mies will talk about building bat houses as a way to offer up a home to native bats and help support the health of their population.


“For average homeowners, the best thing for all of us to do is to use as little pesticides as possible and putting up bat houses,” said Mies. “The bats that do make it through the winter need to find safe places to raise their young.


“And then, also teaching people. A lot of people fear bats. The more people know the uniqueness and the importance of bats, the less they’ll kill them, and the more they’ll protect them.”


To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email