This summer Roaring Fork Conservancy will honor Dorothea Farris as the 2013 Robert Billingsley River Conservator at the 14th Annual River Rendezvous. In her 44 years of public service and community involvement Dorothea has championed public lands, wildlife, and rivers with incredible enthusiasm. Dorothea served for 12 years as a Pitkin County Commissioner and has served on a very long list of boards both locally and statewide.
In the past several years Dorothea has helped champion the Crystal River through her role with the Crystal Valley Environmental Protection Association, helping to designate the river as one of America’s 10 Most Endangered Rivers in 2012. Conditional water rights including a dam, along with flow and sediment issues all contributed to the listing of the Crystal, one of the longest freeflowing rivers in Colorado. Dorothea knows the Crystal Valley is a special place to be respected and protected.
“I came to Aspen in 1957 to work at the [Hotel] Jerome and knew this place was home,” said Farris in May of last year. “This area has been our special place forever. It won’t remain that way unless we all have an active role.” For Dorothea, that active role has taken the form of service on numerous boards and offices to help improve the quality of life for people and the environment. She has also encouraged hundreds of other to protect the places we all love.
Dorothea grew up in New Jersey but was always intrigued by the West. She earned a degree from the University of Colorado before moving to the Roaring Fork Valley. Dorothea and her husband Doug raised their family in the upper Roaring Fork Valley and moved to the Crystal Valley in 1988.
“It is a pleasure to honor someone who is dedicated and committed to service. Dorothea is an inspiration as we work to change the culture of ourrelationship with water,” says Executive Director Rick Lofaro.
Currently, Dorothea works as a community liaison and consultant for the Carbondale-based Heartland Environmental Services and serves on several boards and committees including the Thompson Divide Coalition, West Elk Loop Scenic and Historic Byway Committee, Colorado Natural Areas Program, and USFS White River National Forest Stakeholder Committee. She has traveled extensively and written several articles and some fiction. Dorothea has been honored with numerous awards for her public service, most recently receiving the Pitkin County Cares, Volunteer Service, Greg Mace award in 2012.
When asked about the importance of our rivers Dorothea states, “The reality of a healthy river is that it not only provides clean water for people downstream, and for municipalities and ranchers, but provides an opportunity for people to witness beauty at it’s core.” www.roaringfork.org/rendezvous