I’ve lived in Crested Butte and roamed in its mountains since 1984. I grew up in the European mountaineering tradition of self-reliance and respect for nature and to this day I’ve applied this philosophy in climbing and skiing most summits in the Elk Mountains, often sleeping on many of their tops, and trying to capture their magic through photography as a full-time profession. I’ve done most of this without the use of motorized aid, just with a pair of good legs and the belief that the mountains, and for that matter the natural world, deserve more than just being used for our entertainment needs or athletic exploits with disregard of their life sustenance role. I try to look at my experience in the mountains with a wholistic approach. It’s more about the path that leads me there, the joy of silence and beauty and of leaving behind the devices and contraptions of everyday life. Of breathing in the mystery instead of falling to the demands of mainstream culture and peer pressures.
I support Elk Mountains Backcountry Alliance because I believe there is an urgent need to balance the impacts we have on the environment and climate through our recreation habits. I feel we should aspire to a more sustainable future that fosters a conservation-based policy from which we can all benefit in the long term.
I’m not in any manner trying to be self-righteous or be the judge of others. That said, the careless disregard for wilderness boundaries and other protected areas exerted by an increasing number of snowmobile and hybrid users that I’ve recently witnessed asks for swift action. Add to that the exhaust haze in the over-crowded trailheads, the constant drone of engines and high marking in most drainages and it seems obvious to me that this must be detrimental not only to our individual health but more importantly to the health of the wildlife and the very environment that nurtures us and makes this place so special and loved.
Self-powered, environmentally conscious recreation is not only good for a few of us, it is good for everybody and needs to be promoted and encouraged by individuals and entities alike.
I appreciate the voice Elk Mountains Backcountry Alliance brings to our valley.