The place I thought of when I read our assignment to go find somewhere that has changed due to human ideas and human activity was Spring Creek. It is between Arboles and Bayfield. I have grown up going there because I am from Ignacio. Spring Creek is part of the National Forest and is bordered by Southern Ute Indian Tribe reservation.
I thought this would be the perfect place because it is preserved for outdoor activities, such as: hunting, hiking, camping, and horseback riding. It also has well sites and well roads (meaning roads that zigzag created by oilfield traffic). All of the traffic from hikers, atv’s, and horseback riders have created trails, not trails built on purpose just trails from traffic.
A lot of people doing these activities leave trash all around disrespecting the beautiful nature. The well sites and the preservation are due to human ideas. The well sites to bring in oil and gas, and the preservation so that people can hunt for sport or provide for their families. All of the trails and pollution are due to human activity.
Poaching (hunting illegally) is a big problem around Spring Creek and it diminishes the population of wildlife in the area.
Shed hunting is also a big thing at Spring Creek everyone around Ignacio, Arboles, Bayfield, Durango, and Pagosa that likes to shed hunt has probably been to Spring Creek and got some pretty good finds. Now the government is changing regulations on shed hunting, becoming stricter and limiting shed hunting to a certain time of the year instead of year round. My question is why? Sheds are antlers that have dropped off of a buck or bull so why is it a big deal when people pick them up. It’s not affecting the wildlife or environment.
All around the Fort Lewis campus there is trails. Are they all built purposefully or did some of them get built unintentionally by foot traffic moving along that area? It is hard to say. Across the parking lot and road from the West dorms there are trails forking off along. I wanted to observe one place in particular called “Egypt”. It is off the trail and has a spectacular view. We were told to observe how humans change the environment and this spot went off like fireworks in my head when hearing about the assignment. I have been going to “Egypt” since I started school at Fort Lewis and it is an incredible spot.
It is called “Egypt” because there is a huge rock that from the top looks completely normal, but when you walk down to the front side of it, it has carvings done by I’m assuming former students. I don’t know how long it has been like this or who created this piece of art, but many people at the Fort go there to soak up the beautiful view of Durango. I understand that that was an intentional change to the environment but its still a way that we are affecting the environment.
All the trails around the fort whether intentionally built or not are examples of humans changing the environment. Those trails not only make awesome biking and walking paths but they also give animals such as deer an easy path to follow. Where the trails are there is no longer vegetation growing with the exception of a few weeds. Is that bad? I do not think so because of how plentiful the vegetation is around all the trails. The whole side of the mountain is covered in various vegetation. I believe that the trails help some animals get higher up easier and maybe faster.
I have also noticed the difference in deer along that area and on campus. Most deer that I have encountered out in Arboles or Ignacio are scared of humans where as the ones near campus are not timid and don’t run away as easily. I believe humans and deer around here have found a way to coexist and interact.
When sitting on the top of “Egypt” you can observe many different things. Deer, vegetation, the town of Durango, and the skies. The rock isn’t man-made but man changed it by carving into it. It did not affect the rock at all, it is still there doing the same thing it did before. I believe there are many examples of humans changing the environment “Egypt” and the trails just being a small part of our impact. Even though its just a small part of our impact it stood out to me. I was not exactly looking for a way we change the environment in a negative manner but rather positive or non affecting.