New Grand County Trout Unlimited website connects local rivers, people |

New Grand County Trout Unlimited website connects local rivers, people

Tonya Bina
Grand County, CO Colorado
Fishermen try their luck in the Colorado River west of Parshall on Thursday morning. Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi News
Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi News | Sky-Hi News

Trout Unlimited is collecting testimonials about what the Fraser and Upper Colorado rivers mean to the lives of Coloradans.

With preliminary focus on the Fraser River, Editorial Photographer and Videographer Ted Wood of Story Group, Boulder, is leading a project under the auspices of Trout Unlimited, collecting the photos and stories of individuals who depend on the river for livelihood, for recreation, and for the sake of spirituality.

With this “gallery of voices,” Wood hopes to personalize conservation issues facing the Fraser and Upper Colorado rivers.

“Our ultimate goal is to increase awareness on the Front Range about where their water comes from,” he said.

In the first installment of short multi-media side shows on Trout Unlimited’s re-launched website, Grand County community members Karen Vance, Liz McIntyre, Jane Tollett, and Hoppy Southway share what the river means to them and their community.

Wood’s goal was to “put a voice to their relationship to the river.”

With loaded policy issues like the Moffat and Windy Gap Firming Projects being proposed, he said, “oftentimes people feel like they don’t have a voice.” But by sharing with others, “they don’t feel so powerless anymore.”

Specializing in environmental and conservation stories, Wood’s work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Smithsonian, Audubon, The New York Times, High Country News, The Nature Conservancy Magazine and dozens of national and international publications.

Team effort

For the Trout Unlimted Project, Wood brought in Boulder colleagues Beth Wald, a photojournalist who of late has been covering environmental and cultural stories in Afghanistan, and Mark Conlin, a seasoned underwater photographer.

“We launched the project as a way to get more visibility of the stream-flow issues on the Fraser and Upper Colorado,” said Trout Unlimited’s Randy Schoefield. “What we’re trying to portray is the community’s deep connection to the river.”

The Story Group plans to add more portraits to the website in coming days and weeks. Eventually, Trout Unlimited hopes to host public events that display the portraits as well as work by other photographers, granting a full sense of the river’s significance in Grand County and the consequences of further transbasin diversions.

“We want to show decision-makers that people care about the health of the Fraser River and the Upper Colorado, that people are paying attention on what happens to the rivers, and that they are concerned,” Schoefield said.

– Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603

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