Eleanor Hasenbeck: Maps, mountain lions and moving upstream | CraigDailyPress.com

Eleanor Hasenbeck: Maps, mountain lions and moving upstream

I could put Craig on the map from the time I was 7 years old, largely because my father brought home souvenir T-shirts and wild stories of mountain lions prowling feet away from the doorstep of the cabin he hunted out of near Freeman Reservoir. A laser-jet printed photo of that lion hung on a bulletin board in my childhood bedroom in southeast Missouri for about two years.

Last November, when I found that the Craig Press was seeking a government and energy reporter, the image of that lion danced in my head. I came here because I wanted to write about wildlife and land, and Lord knows, Moffat County has plenty of both. So it is certainly with a bit of sadness that this is my last week at the Craig Press. Luckily, I am not leaving the Yampa Valley. Or its views. Or its mountain lions. On Monday, I will start as a government reporter at the Steamboat Pilot and Today. I plan to continue living here for the time being, so it's a safe bet that you'll still run into me in City Market or running around my neighborhood.

In the short time I have been here, it has been my pleasure to get to sample Moffat County's best baked goods at Art Walk and to chase an eagle into a sewage pool. Though it isn't as fun, I'm also grateful to have written about the hard stuff, like the county's money (or lack of it) and the closure of Unit 1 at Craig Station. For four months, I've been constantly surrounded by talk of the need for economic and community development. Though I know I am not a Moffat County native, and I am certainly not very old or very wise, I have been in more city council and commission meetings than I'd care to count. From these, it has become evident that the only way our community will continue to succeed is with open minds from our leaders and ourselves.

Too often, I think people believe participation in government is limited to the voting booth or public meetings. The more use the library, the museum or the trails around Moffat County see, the more likely these facilities will continue to receive funds. The more of a stink you raise about the closure of the high school pool, the more leaders understand what you value. But doing what you love, and showing that you are doing what you love, you can have an impact without sitting through a city council meeting. Note: This reporter is not condoning skipping public meetings. Audience comments are usually the most entertaining part, so please show up.

In my reporting and in my personal life, I've tried to leave Craig a little bit better than I found it. I hope that you do the same. (Though I am not actually leaving, I'm just becoming a commuter.)

I am proud to say that, even as I head to Steamboat, I'll always have loved Craig first. After all, I couldn't put Steamboat on the map until I started bartering Honey Stingers gummies at the Boy Scout ranch where I worked at age 20.

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For now, I cannot thank you all enough for welcoming me into your lives and trusting me to tell your stories. Truly, it's been a privilege.