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There are many good things I could say about my mother such as her stability, her cooking, and her designing our family home in Applewood Mesa. A rock in the community, mom stayed put in the same home for over 50 years — a gathering place at holidays for neighbors, old schoolmates and assorted relatives.
The backyard sloped up, and behind our property the land continued to rise until you were at the top of a mesa called South Table Mountain.
My mother and I rode our horses up the rocky dirt trails to the top and then galloped along the wide expanse of land stretching all the way from the eastern edge the mesa to the western rocky outcropping above Golden. Living where we did, a deep connection with the mesa was formed inside of our hearts and minds.
In the l980s when a certain land owner and a large local beer company started plans to turn the mesa into a gravel pit, an emotional earthquake inside my mother trembled and shook.Her anger and passion for the mesa was turned into productive action. She had to protect the mesa we all loved from destruction.
Betty McFerren, my mother, and Carl Eiberger. a lawyer neighbor, spearheaded legal protests over the gravel pit. They fought against it in Golden courts. The battle went on for years, but they didn’t give up.
Bravo mom and Carl! You eventually won your case. What a coup for the whole community and generations to come. Thankfully Jefferson County Open Space became the owner and protector of South Table Mountain.
Just yesterday I hiked up the mesa — the dirt trails, rocks and yuccas resonated with me.The entire scene on the trail had been indelibly etched into my memory, a treasured place I’ve known most of my life. The mesa feels like a wonderful old friend.
No matter what is happening in my life, a hike up South Table Mountain takes me back to my roots, to the natural world, a place with the divine scent of God.
If I could talk to my mother, Betty McFerren, who passed away in 2010, look into her eyes, I would say, “Look what you did, Mom, what a beautiful legacy that South Table Mountain is available to hikers, bicyclists and horseback riders. And I am most grateful to you for your grit, determination and activism when it was needed to save the mesa you loved, a crown jewel.”
Mary Stobie is a syndicated columnist and author. Her website is www.marystobie.com.
Stobie and her family are supporters of Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit based in Boulder—which is dedicated to preserving land in Colorado and around the world.
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