By REID PRIEDHORSKY
I’m one of those kids who came back. I had many choices, but my family and I chose Los Alamos. Why? What makes Los Alamos special?
My friends who live elsewhere are not impressed by my lab job. Nor are they impressed by the slower small-town pace of life, the great schools, the friendly people, or the opportunity to really make a difference in public service. These types of things are big pluses, but they are available in lots of places.
However, they are impressed by the fact that I can walk out my back gate into a forested canyon system on public land. If that’s iced over, I count at least half a dozen official and unofficial trailheads within a couple of blocks. And this from a house in the middle of town!
What makes Los Alamos special is our extraordinary natural setting. Los Alamos County itself has 10,000-foot peaks, large and small tuff canyons, large and small basalt canyons, caves, ponderosa forests, spruce-fir forests, piñon-juniper forests, meadows, mountain and canyon streams, springs, mesas, the Rio Grande, hundreds of cultural sites, 1,000 species of plants, a national monument, tremendous views, and more. Within a day’s drive, we can reach world-class mountains, rivers, and canyon country. I don’t think there’s anywhere in the world that really has what we have.
Any successful institution must understand its competitive advantage and invest properly to not only maintain that advantage but enhance it. For Los Alamos, that’s our open space in all its forms — it has huge value, and our county strategy and policies should reflect that.
The first step is to support Craig Martin’s Open Space Management Plan, along with the ordinances and budget to support it, including filling the upcoming Open Space Specialist vacancy with the level of talent it deserves.