Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge Update

The Denver Post had a Sunday front page article titled “Rocky Flats Ten Years After the Cleanup: A Safe Refuge?,” by John Aguilar. I commend the author and the Denver Post for an article that is balanced. There was a time when the media dominantly published the opinions of the anti-Rocky Flats activists. This article presents both sides.

I have always contended that a positive legacy of the Rocky Flats Plant is that it resulted in saving a segment of the high mountain prairie. “Just 16 miles from downtown Denver, it’s a tableau of wild beauty and one that few get to witness so close to a major metropolitan area.” The 5,000 acre Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge is scheduled to formally open to the public at the end of 2017. There has already been what was officials called a “soft opening” with one guided hike that occurred on September 25 and another that is scheduled for October 16. You can call 303-289-0936 if you want to go on that hike. The announcement was made on the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge web page and said, “Join us to explore the wildlife, birds, and plants…Please be comfortable hiking up to 3 miles.” A Daily Camera article predictably adds that hikers can go, “…if they are not concerned about radioactive plutonium-239, which officials say is not a danger.”

The usual critics are cited in the Camera and Post articles with their usual warnings about why the public should not go onto the site. One said he wouldn’t let his children go there. I recommend reading the full Post article and note the assurances given by the various public officers. I’m guessing they would be proud  to show their families the beautiful place.

One thought on “Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge Update

  1. I’m guessing that many readers saw the recent Post article detailing the conditions in the area around the Chernobyl site. This spot is a hundred times hotter than Rocky Flats ever was and has been off limits to human habitation since the accident. Conventional wisdom says it should be a dead zone. It isn’t. It is more alive than ever, a veritable wildlife sanctuary. No tours there, as yet. Good news for the animals, which seem to be dealing with elevated radiation levels much better than they did with human intrusion.

    This is not to minimize the harmful, sometimes fatal effects of nuclear radiation. But the proliferation of apparently healthy animal life throughout the most contaminated nuclear site in the world might indicate that our calibrations are a little bit conservative. Maybe if we take advantage of the research opportunity that the Chernobyl recovery presents, we can fine tune some of the irrational fear out of them. If the recovery tells us nothing else, it says that there is more to learn.

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