I was up at Big Sky yesterday for the celebratory first day on the ski hill. Somehow, I managed to talk my 8 year old son, Alex, into playing hooky so that I could take advantage of my ski free opportunity at BS. Anyway, we had a great time, got a little sore, spent more money than I thought possible for a free day of skiing - I had to buy a new pair of ski pants before leaving town as my old ones must have shrunk...substantially & Alex forgot his coat btu remembered that he forgot his coat when we were wlking to the lift!
I hadn't given the snow conditions much thought until today. There really wasn't too much up there...or anywhere around here right now. Sure, the hills are white but we need some serious snow. I'm sure we'll get it as we always seem to have just enough at the right time...but it's always a little nervewrecking.
I've been thinking about water a lot latley. It's really going to be the one resource that we can't get from somewhere else or come up with an engineered substitute - at least from a landscape view. More houses...more wells...more concrete....more yards to water...same depletion and less to start with every year. It's going to catch up to us sooner than later I'm afraid. Water conservation and protection is the single most important conservation issue that the west faces. As individuals and as a society...I hope that we can stay ahead of the curve so that our rivers, lakes, and mouths can stay wet. I'm not sure what the solution is, but I think we need to start paying attention to the reality of the approaching problem.
As the ground water gets depleted from wells, surface water from rivers, streams, and rainfall is used to recharge the "aquifers." Over time, with increased uses coupled with drought or droughtlike conditions, that recharging process takes more water whihc results in less of that surface water actually staying on the surface. If you know me at all, you know that the phrase "environmentalist" is not often used to describe my nature...that's how important I think this water conservation issue is. It actually does keep me up at night! So, water your yard less, turn the faucet off while brushing your teeth, drink bottled water, and...if you have enough money...go lease some water rights in the Gallatin Valley and put that water back into the streams. The trout will love you for it and I'll take you fishing anytime!