The Western Slope Conservation Center (WSCC) held its annual meeting in Hotchkiss on Sunday, Feb. 11. According to its 2017 annual report, the WSCC's mission is to build "an active and aware community to protect and enhance the lands, air, water and wildlife of the Lower Gunnison watershed." Karen Ortiz, chair of the WSCC board, and Alex Johnson, WSCC executive director, joined with other board members and staff to address the group which assembled in Heritage Hall. Documentary filmmaker Suez Jacobsen presented a keynote talk.
WSCC is entering its 41st year of organizing concerned citizens to take collective action to promote outdoor education and protect public lands and the Lower Gunnison watershed. For 2018, Ortiz emphasized that the group's vision "is to continue to build power for lasting change."
WSCC is headquartered in Paonia and most of its board members and staff live in the North Fork area. However the group's 600-plus members reside throughout Delta County and statewide and Ortiz stressed that everyone with an interest in conserving the natural environment is welcome to join the group.
Upcoming WSCC events include an environmental film fest in March 2018 and a Gunnison River float fest in June. One of the group's most pressing challenges for the coming year will be to monitor proposed changes to federal policies on the use of public lands.