March 14, 2012

The Importance of Our Work

[one_half]Ask most residents and visitors what brings them here to live, work, and play, and they’ll tell you it’s the wonderful variety of outdoor activities available year-round and the inspiration of living in the midst of such spectacular beauty.

[blockquote author= “Al Laurette, Glenwood Springs Parks Superintendent, on building the Wulfsohn Trail system” align=”right”]Without a wealth of government money on our end, we wouldn’t be doing it.” [/blockquote]

Engaging our residents and visitors to take a direct role in enhancing our recreational opportunities and conserving these public lands is the mission of RFOV. The importance of our work is really twofold:

[list type=”plus”]
[li]recruiting folks to volunteer as a way to increase their sense of stewardship[/li]
[li]contributing the physical improvements and value to our trails, open spaces, riparian zones, and forests[/li][/list]

Like most of us, the agencies that manage our public lands have budgets. Increasingly, many can often do only what’s essential to maintain public safety and access to these lands. Constructing new trails and making anything more than priority enhancements is often out of the question. That’s where RFOV comes in. Every spring, summer, and fall we partner with local agencies and municipalities on a variety of projects from building and maintaining trails to planting wetlands, removing invasive species, and refurbishing historic sites.[/one_half]
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These projects improve the health of our public lands and the recreational amenities for our residents, and also draw thousands of people each year who help keep our local economy humming.

With a small staff, a shed full of tools, a stable corps of volunteer committees and crew leaders, and project volunteers from our regional community, we’ve run a lean operation and completed projects worth several million dollars in value to public lands.[/one_half_last]

[one_half][image shadow=”true” border=”true” height=210″ width=”280″][/image]

[image shadow=”true” border=”true” height=210″ width=”280″][/image][/one_half]

While we can’t scientifically measure the increase in stewardship values in our volunteers, we can see it in the volunteers who return to work with RFOV again and again, often bringing their friends and family with them. Volunteers have seen what it takes to build a sustainable trail, learned the correct way to plant a tree, or gained an understanding of what it takes to create a healthy wetland. They have worked shoulder to shoulder with agency staff and other volunteers to accomplish significant tasks that will benefit their children and grandchildren. Even the better-funded agencies want to work with volunteers because they see the value of involving their constituents in their projects and programs.  We believe that RFOV strengthens our community’s connection to our lands and thereby helps to insure their preservation into the future.

At left: The bank of the Colorado River at Two Rivers Park in Glenwood Springs before and after an RFOV tamarisk removal project[/one_half_last]