Travelers pass through one jaw-dropping landscape after another where the snowy San Juan Mountains meet the canyon and mesa country of the Colorado Plateau in southwestern Colorado. Yet this small but remarkably varied region also plainly reveals a history of hard use, including logging scars, mine-polluted rivers, and overgrazed grasslands and forests.
In The Nature of Southwestern Colorado, Deborah D. Paulson and William L. Baker guide readers through this awe-inspiring land and its human legacies, describing in detail the ecology of its six subregions, showing readers how to recognize human influences on the flora and fauna, and discussing current trends.
It's not just the mountains and canyon country that meet here; the Old West's grazing, mining, farming, and timbering culture and the New West's tourism and recreation culture are mixing in fascinating ways, generating unprecedented alliances and initiatives. Although some of the policies and attitudes in southwestern Colorado continue to harm the natural world, a number of community projects suggest a promising future. Examining these trends, the authors search for signs of a new relationship between people and nature emerging here, one that enables people to protect, restore, and coexist with the wild.
The Nature of Southwestern Colorado will provide readers with "new eyes," so that—whether visitors or residents—they might be inspired and enabled to help create a future that maintains and restores the vibrancy of the natural world.