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Dear Editor:

It should be no surprise that the board of the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association has unanimously endorsed Initiative 1A as GARNA’s mission is “stewardship of the natural resources of the Arkansas River Valley.”

Many of you are members of GARNA or have participated in our programs or volunteer activities. You share our sense of pride in, and concern for, the health of our natural and cultural resources. You know and understand the importance of instilling a public land ethic in our youth, our visitors and in every person moving into this valley. We want this valley to stay just as beautiful as it is, right? But is that realistic?

Even though our portion of Forest Service lands were not burned this year, GARNA volunteers cleared 266 fallen trees from wilderness trails on Forest Service lands. Volunteers cleaned 124 water bars on those trails in 2018. What would it be like if we did suffer a fire?

Importantly, measure 1A isn’t just about protection of forests, water and working lands. It’s also about GARNA’s partners, the recreation and ranch and agriculture businesses in this valley. Fifty percent of us depend on healthy forests, water and working lands for jobs, while the rest of us depend on those services.

Stewardship means “to take care” of what matters. The forests, water quality, working lands and the jobs of the people who depend on them in this valley are what matters. GARNA encourages you to vote “Yes”on 1A for our future!

Kate Garwood
GARNA Board of Directors