When he leaves his position as executive director of San Juan Citizens Alliance this summer, Mark Pearson can look back knowing his legacy will last far into the future.
His continuous efforts to affect positively the policies that protect the quality of life that defines life in Southwest Colorado and Northern New Mexico have been measured, reasonable and built on grass-roots support. As a result, they have been successful.
The region has much for which to thank Pearson.
Not least among San Juan Citizens Alliance's achievements under Pearson's leadership is the organization's significant role in ameliorating the impacts on surface owners and the public of the extensive gas development in La Plata County.
The alliance has been a local and statewide leader in calling for regulations that protect surface owners' rights and force mineral rights holders to include landowners in discussions - if not decisions - about where and how drilling occurs.
Over many years of advocacy, the alliance and its partners across the state successfully lobbied for a sea change in the makeup of the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, which previously filled its seats primarily with petroleum industry representatives.
It also is no coincidence that La Plata County's gas and oil regulations are among the toughest in the state. Pearson and the alliance were crucial in making that so.
As director, Pearson has been a tireless advocate for protecting the H-D Mountains from invasive drilling tactics and has been effective in keeping them at bay.
That has largely been the result of grass-roots efforts to engage citizens - whether property owners or outdoor enthusiasts - as well as speak for the wildlife and ecosystems that would suffer under an intrusive drilling plan.
Other initiatives have involved participating in efforts to improve Forest Service operating plans and moves to safeguard river water quality.
These are, of course, just a few of the accomplishments Pearson can claim in the decade he has spent at the alliance's helm. They are representative, though, of the manner in which he approached all of the organization's campaigns.
Pearson and the community should be proud of that legacy.