HELSTON: Not everyone is motivated by money, and we're all better for it

Charlotte Helston is the Vernon reporter for InfoNews.

You’ve probably heard your grandpa say it in a nostalgic tone: ‘Land: They’re not making much of it anymore.’

You only have to look at this Google image time lapse from 1984 to 2012 to see how much green space in Vernon has been lost in the last 30 years alone. Sure, people need houses and places to live, and eat and work, but we also need places where we can take a break from all that.

It’s something Roy Farnsworth understands well. The 89-year-old fell in love with Middleton Mountain the first time he saw it some 60 years ago. He bought it a few years later, just to ride his horses on it, and enjoy it. When developers came knocking, he refused to sell.

Imagine wanting something from the moment you saw it, making it yours, and then giving it up so that everyone can enjoy it? That’s exactly what Farnsworth did when he turned the land over to the regional district to be used, and preserved, as a nature reserve. One can imagine the value that high mountain view held to developers, but for Farnsworth, you couldn’t put a price on the beauty of his mountain top.

It’s a real gift in this day for someone to appreciate land value in more than just dollars. Farnsworth’s foresight in preserving the peak of Middleton Mountain is something that will benefit many generations to come. The trail network provides a place for recreation and exercise. The reserve will also play a role teaching generations about nature and wildlife, perhaps instilling in them the same stewardship of the environment Farnsworth has.

From the top of Middleton Mountain, you can see Kalamalka and Swan Lake, Coldstream Valley, the City of Vernon, Turtle Mountain and the Commonage. It’s a breathtaking view, one that leaves you with a sense of awe. It’s a vista that connects everyone who’s seen it, from Farnsworth gazing out at midnight on horseback, to the next person who takes it in today, tomorrow, and years from now.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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