Our purpose is to educate the public about the forces that are ruining the rural Mountain West, and to discourage this destruction wherever and whenever possible. Film and video will be the primary tools used to accomplish these objectives.
Roger Brown has been taking on environmental issues since he moved to Colorado in the 1960’s.
Roger’s first successful effort was stopping the Denver Water Board from dewatering Gore Creek in the Vail Valley with trans mountain water diversions. Since then trans mountain water diversions have become politically unpopular throughout the State of Colorado.
Brown’s group helped to create a minimum stream flow law that allows water to be claimed in the stream for environmental purposes. This was the first law of its kind in the West. Since then it been copied by several western states.
Oil companies were about to start what would have been the largest mining operation in the world to remove oil from shale near Parachute, Colorado. Brown made a film called “Oil Shale: an Environmental Dialogue” which exposed the potential impacts of this project. As a result the mining operation did not move forward.
Brown and his son Nick produced a film called “Western Ranching: Culture in Crisis”. The purpose of the film was to stop a substantial Public Lands grazing fee increase that would have forced many ranchers out of business, causing a substantial decrease in open space and the wildlife that depends on the rancher’s irrigated pastures.
“Our purpose is to educate the public about the forces that are ruining the rural mountain west.”
Roger Cotton Brown| Founder
These films are currently in the storyboard/ scripting stage.
Ranching and the inheritance tax. Presently the inheritance tax on ranches in Colorado is determined by adjacent non agricultural land uses. At the time of the death of ranch owner an acre of his land might be worth $30.00 for agricultural purposes but will be valued at several thousand dollars an acre by the tax appraisers based on what is called “highest and best use”, in this case home sites. Most viable ranches are at least a thousand acres in size so this tax forces them to sell in order to pay the inheritance tax. The law needs to be changed so that the “highest and best use” tax is not applied until the use actually changes. Then the family can keep on ranching if they want to.
Length 5 minutes.
Colorado Senate bill 35 allows ranchers to cut off and sell thirty- five acre parcels. This not only impacts the viability of the ranching operations but wildlife habitat as well. These subdivisions are often far away from urban centers and difficult and expensive to maintain.
The rural landscape is severely compromised. The open space provided is lost and wildlife often ends up trying to graze on golf courses.
Towns should be built from the center out, not scattered over the landscape. Senate Bill 35 needs to be repealed.
Length 5 minutes
“How the West Was Lost” is a film about improper land use. The first part of the film follows a band of Ute Indians as they migrate from river basins to high mountains through the seasons. This takes place before the arrival of the white men in the mid 1800’s when the migrations were stopped. The film contrasts the Indian migration and land use with land developments and uses that have occurred in recent times.
As a feature documentary the film will be 90 minutes long. As PBS documentary it will run close to an hour.
Brown's 2004 book "Requiem for the West" predicted the growth problems we now have. Land Use experts and concerned citizens like Henry David Thoreau, Wendell Berry, Howard Zahniser, Randy Udall, Dick Lamm, and John McBride are quoted among many others.