"The Colorado River provides water to nearly 40 million people, flows through 9 National Parks, and drives a $1.4 trillion economy. If the Colorado River basin were a country, it would be the world’s 7th largest by economic output. But the river is stretched to its limit. Climate change and increasing water demand due to an expanding population is and will continue to present significant challenges that if left unaddressed, will impact our regional and national economies, degrade the environment, challenge our agricultural heritage and food production, and limit recreational opportunities from fishing and boating to skiing."
-- excerpt from americanrivers.org
So what do these numbers and letters mean? They are GPS coordinates. More specifically, those for La Poudre Pass. Otherwise known as the headwaters for the Colorado River. It straddles the Continental Divide and also serves as the northern border for Rocky Mountain National Park.
The Colorado River has been and continues to be an important part of our founder’s life. Being raised during many of his more formative years in Colorado, Jim first learned to camp near it, first learned to river fish in one of its tributaries (Yampa), first experienced the thrill and adventure of rafting in it, and more including introducing the children to it.
Even now it is the source of the water that flows from his drinking taps in Tucson and Telluride as he and his family are amongst the 40+ plus million the river serves.
And not just people, over 1,600 species of plants call the Colorado River watershed home. As did 49 species of native fish at one point, of which 42 are-were endemic; as of this writing 4 of those species are now extinct and many others are experiencing severe declines.
In a word, the Colorado River, and many others, are lifeblood.
The reason to care, the reason to act, is abundantly clear. Water conservation in the form of supporting policies, strategies, and activities that help manage the natural resource of fresh water, for the purposes of sustaining life and providing responsible recreation, and protection of the larger hydrosphere in general, is of particular interest to the foundation.