Written by Alex Handloff, Mountain Studies Institute
How do you know space? How are you shaped by the landscape you live in? When was the last time you just listened to your surroundings?
For us at The Stewards Guild and our partners at Mountain Studies Institute (MSI), we like to remind ourselves that our work is the world we live in, the one right in front of our noses (once we leave the office).
But what about beyond our noses? For example, how can we know five million acres? I mention that number for a reason. Let me explain.
Space and distance are funny things. We have a very good sense of them at human scales, but at large scales, our ability to perceive becomes wildly inaccurate. Five million acres happens to be the size of the 2 Watersheds – 3 Rivers – 2 States Cohesive Strategy Partnership (the 2-3-2), coordinated and supported by The Forest Stewards Guild and Mountain Studies Institute. The 2-3-2 works collaboratively, bringing together government agencies, tribal partners, non-profits, community members, and more to make decisions collectively about our forests, rivers, wildlife, and communities in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. The largest project of the 2-3-2 is the Rio Chama Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project (CFLRP) which is part of a congressionally approved program designed to increase the resiliency of forests and watersheds in priority forests across the US through partnership between collaborative groups and the US Forest Service.
The 2-3-2 recently created a podcast, The Dirt and Dust, to explore people, places, and peculiarities of the 2-3-2 and Rio Chama CFLRP. The first episode follows Alex Handloff, Collaborative Communications Manager at MSI, who caught up with a through hiker on the 2-3-2 landscape, covering 35 miles in a couple of days on the Continental Divide Trail, exploring the idea of knowing a large landscape more intimately by walking through it.
The episode, Five Million Acres or Roughly the Size of the Moon, will air on September 19, 2023 at 9:00 a.m. MT on True Taos Radio. You can also listen to the podcast online or on your favorite podcast service in the near future. Stay tuned for more episodes over the fall and winter, covering stories about beavers (or the lack thereof), environmental monks at Christ in the Desert Monastery, the power of partnerships in the town of Chama, NM, and more.
The Dirt and Dust is brought to you by the 2-3-2, Mountain Studies Institute, the Forest Stewards Guild, USDA Forest Service, and Zebulon Croll.