Editorial: Keeping us mobile
This past week has brought a welcome break from the almost daily snowstorms we endured the week before. But we’re living in Northwest Colorado in the heart of winter, so our brief reprieve is sure to be just that: brief.
And as inconvenient as a significant snowstorm can be, on some level, we all recognize we need the precipitation; healthy snowpack in winter translates to healthy river flows in summer, and for evidence of this correlation, we need look no further than last year, when subpar snow led to drought conditions, rampant wildfires, and the first call ever on the Yampa River.
But as important as snowpack is in our high-desert home, our purpose today isn’t to deliver a droning lecture on the environment. Rather, it is to recognize and express our sincere gratitude to the men and women who keep us mobile whenever Mother Nature decides to deliver another dose of winter wonder.
We refer to the dedicated individuals who are up and at it every morning when most of the rest of us are still nestled in our warm beds, working to ensure the streets and roads of Craig and Moffat County are cleared and safe for motorists.
These employees, charged with the removal of snow from our roadways, are all-too-often overlooked; even worse, they are sometimes scorned.
Sure, it can be annoying to approach your driveway after a long day at work to discover an impassable windrow has been deposited there by the last snowplow to come through the neighborhood, but have you ever stopped to imagine what would happen if all the snowplow operators in Craig and Moffat County suddenly disappeared or went on strike, even for a few days?
The fact is, we depend on these workers, and without them, everything in the city and county — commerce, recreation, education, health care — would grind to a shuddering halt for five to six months every year.
It’s discouraging to realize these dedicated employees who keep our streets clear of snow and ice are sometimes yelled at, cursed, or given the one-finger salute for nothing more than doing their jobs and keeping us safe. But despite these reports of disrespect and abuse, we feel sure the majority of Craig and Moffat County residents appreciate these individuals and join us in sincerely thanking them.
Following are a few facts about what snowplow operators do for us.
• Any resident who is 65 or older or disabled can sign up with the city of Craig to have the windrows left behind by passing snowplows removed by city crews at no cost.
• During a significant snow event, Moffat County snowplow operators are on the road by 4 a.m., working to clear roads across the county’s 4,734 square miles, and during a major snow event, they may well have to start all over again once they “finish.”
• Snowplow drivers clear school bus routes first, followed by main collector routes, then secondary roads. The county’s motor graders average 96 lane-miles cleared following every storm.
We also offer our special thanks the city of Craig for stepping up and addressing a serious problem of snow pile removal on the 400 and 500 blocks of Yampa Ave. This shows the city values the downtown business, as well as the safety of citizens who visit and shop in those business.
These are but a few examples highlighting the vital work our snow removal employees do for us. Next week, the Craig Press will publish an in-depth article further detailing the work of these dedicated individuals.
We realize snowstorms can be aggravating and inconvenient, and travel delays seem to bring out the worst in all of us. Yet, we ask everyone to please remember that the snowplow operators are not the problem; they are the solution, and frankly, we couldn’t get along without them.
So, when you encounter the plows out making the roads safer for all of us, please remember their drivers are charged with a difficult, vital, and all-too-often thankless task, and maybe spare them a smile or a friendly wave.
It’s true they may sometimes cause us to move a little more slowly, but without them, we wouldn’t be moving at all.