FRISCO — As the co-founder, former president and current board member of the Eagle Summit Wilderness Alliance, John Currie Craven was a shoo-in for the organization’s first Award for Wilderness Stewardship.
The award will bear his name going forward.
“The Currie Craven Award for Wilderness Stewardship is given for exemplary dedication to the protection and preservation of our wilderness, as illustrated by both personal and social characteristics that Currie Craven has practiced daily, for many decades, including his personal industry, outreach and advocacy as well as the joy, wit and sparkling sense of fun that he brings to our work,” Wilderness Alliance chairman Bill Betz wrote in an email.
Craven became involved with preserving the wilderness area after former Summit Daily News reporter John Fayhee wrote an article calling for the support of Eagles Nest Wilderness. Fayhee and Tom Jones Jr., co-owner of Wilderness Sports, hosted a public meeting to form the early stages of the alliance.
Craven attended the meeting and became actively involved in forming the nonprofit organization that would become Friends of Eagles Nest Wilderness, which recently was renamed Eagle Summit Wilderness Alliance.
“It’s been very gratifying that the county has responded very positively to it,” Craven said. “I’m very fortunate to work with such a great organization.”
Craven served as president of the organization and chairman of the board for more than 20 years. Today, he remains an active board member.
“It seems an appropriate, if inadequate, measure of our deep appreciation to create an award given annually in his name to those, who, like him, demonstrate the highest principles of stewardship for public lands in general and wilderness in particular,” Betz wrote.
“The award is an honor I never could have imagined. … It gives you the warm fuzzy,” Craven said. “It’s also the fact that we’re making a difference is why we’re happy to do it.”
Thinking back on the accomplishments he’s most proud of, Craven talked about the inclusivity he has tried to instill in new wilderness proposals. Specifically, Craven talked about the land management proposals he worked on with former congressman and current Colorado Gov. Jared Polis.
Craven talked about how the alliance worked to find a way to include different groups who wanted to use public lands in an appropriate manner. For example, designating some areas for motorized use and others for mountain biking.
“The acceptance that we’ve gained as a legitimate spokesman for wilderness values has been very rewarding,” Craven said.
Craven expressed disappointment with current politics surrounding public land because he wants Coloradans to continue to enjoy and recreate in public areas.
“If we can find a common denominator that would appeal to the public land and the enjoyment of public land, and recognition that this is a very unique resource, then maybe there’s hope for us as long as we can comply with (regulations),” Craven said. “Then, hopefully we can leave this world a better place.”
The award itself is a stained glass piece made by local artist Gail Shears. The piece is modeled after a photo Craven picked out of a view from Eagles Nest Wilderness.
“Currie’s legacy touches deeply every aspect of our activities at (Eagle Summit Wilderness Alliance), and naturally it is fitting and proper that he was selected as the inaugural recipient of the award,” Betz wrote.
Craven will be presented with the award Thursday, Sept. 10.