Articles of Organization
PUMA; Preserve Unique Magnolia Association
The organization of PUMA grew from a community interest in the preservation of certain qualities found in the area, widely appreciated, and increasingly rare. These qualities include: quiet, rural character, wildness, wildlife, scenic beauty, and readily available access to the natural surroundings. These commonly appreciated qualities were first explored and summarized by PUMA members while evaluating USFS planned revisions of its Forest Management Plan for the Arapaho/Roosevelt National Forests. Additional concerns and values of active PUMA participants were discussed and incorporated into a document to act as a guideline for PUMA structure.
In early 1997 discussions were initiated to review those earlier guidelines, modify according to the group's wishes, and formalize a procedure for review/renewal on a periodic basis.
Of primary concern to members of Preserve Unique Magnolia Association (PUMA) is the preservation of a reasonable balance of resident and non-resident uses of the Magnolia area with an understanding that we share this unique ecosystem with many other species. As a group we wish to pursue the preservation of aesthetic, emotional, and spiritual values common to residents of the area that include peace and quiet, relative isolation, association with nature and natural surroundings, views, clean air/water/earth. Active PUMA participants and members share a commitment to understand that the Magnolia area helps to provide to residents of the greater metropolitan area elements such as: water-shed and "airshed", aesthetic rural flavor, brief periodic access to the aesthetic, emotional, and spiritual values as outlined, and ecosystem-compatible recreation. It is our hope that the impact of our presence on the surrounding ecosystems and the need for preservation of natural systems can be communicated to Magnolia area residents and visitors through our group's activities.
PUMA members have expressed a belief in the above mission statement and have outlined their intent to adhere to those principles through these goals:
1. We are a community of residents, not isolated families. Among this community are many different viewpoints, but a general sense of concern, compassion, and consideration for others' needs and values. As much as possible, conflict can be minimized by understanding how our personal choices may affect ourselves, our neighbors, our community, and our globe.
2. Concerns that are common among Magnolia-area residents and PUMA members include:
a. wildfire - how it may affect us all, how it fits into a healthy natural ecosystem
b. road/trail use - how roads and trails are a necessary part of our area for transportation and recreation, and how they may adversely affect the natural ecosystems
c. effects that cross barriers: such as noise, which has few natural barriers other than distance
d. firearms - issues of safety, noise, and appropriateness
e. general area growth - how it can affect the qualities of the area that we all seek
3. We share a general goal to retain, and restore when possible, a healthy residential-forest-mountain ecosystem.
Pursuit of these goals requires comprehensive understanding of the problems encountered and accurate non-aggressive communication. Information alone is insufficient.
The express desire of most active PUMA members has been that PUMA not take on a formal organization and process, but that the operation be motivated by member interests and personal involvement. Autonomy within a flexible framework is key. Officers are considered a necessity for communication with the preponderance of more formally structured groups outside of PUMA.
Those officers shall be:
Primary responsibilities of each office are:
President - organize and chair meetings, oversee PUMA activities to ensure consistency with mission stated goals, seek new ways to pursue those goals, aid in definition of issues, and suggest the creation of ad hoc committees to address those issues (or the assimilation of these issues by existing committees). The President shall identify Working Group or committee chairs and suggest them to the membership for approval.
Vice President - assist the president, perhaps in an even division of responsibilities to be reached by mutual decision. The VP shall also work with the Membership Chairperson to act in welcoming new members and to organize and promote activities targeted at community-building.
Secretary - take minutes at meetings, help with communications required for PUMA events and neighborhood activities. The office of Secretary may be filled by two persons willing to divide the responsibilities (suggested "recording" and "corresponding" secretaries).
Treasurer - keep books (in 1997 this requires maintenance of three parallel sets: PUMA general funds, MEPP, and Boulder County Healthy Communities grant). The treasurer shall write checks as necessary.
Election and terms - Each paid member gets one ballot that may be submitted by mail, email, proxy, or in person. All officers shall be elected by a majority of members voting. A nominating committee shall be appointed by the president in order to identify candidates for office. Nominations shall also be accepted from the general membership with consent of the nominee. All terms shall be for one year minimum. There shall be no term limit. Notice of election shall take place in the regular agenda or a special notice to be distributed at least one month prior to election.
Votes - each paid member shall have one vote. Any member may vote by proxy, letter, or email with reasonable justification for absence. "Family" memberships shall receive two votes maximum.
Permanent - the only Working Group likely to be permanent is the Membership or New Members Working Group. All others shall be organized ad hoc, as required. Several Working Groups are likely to remain active long term (e.g., wildlife, fire mitigation, newsletter).
Ad hoc committees - if the membership feels strongly that new issues can not be absorbed into existing Working Groups, new Groups can be created at any time. A chairperson shall be identified who will organize the Group for its duration or one year minimum.
Working Group chairs - same as ad hoc committees. Committees and Working Groups shall be disbanded when they no longer fill a need.
Membership shall be established by payment of annual dues set
initially in summer 1997 at $15 (individual), $20 (family) with
future adjustments made by vote of the active members in
attendance. Gifts above and below standard membership level shall
be recognized in the following categories:
low income/student $10
benefactor over $500
It shall be decided by consensus what members receive as acknowledgement of dues. Upon adoption of these Articles, receipt of the Newsletter is not contingent upon paid membership. However, other items of value may be based on paid membership (e.g., certificate of appreciation, decal, phone card or ID card, etc.).
This policy can be changed by vote of a quorum of active
after August, 1998.
A framework for process and discussion is appropriate for most PUMA activities. This framework is outlined below. For the purposes of relative autonomy and decision making, each Working Group should establish a list of plans, goals, specific tasks, required communications, hopes and fears. For cohesiveness of the organization, all planned Working Group activities and political efforts should come up for discussion at least once during monthly meetings. All Working Group communications directed outside (e.g., letters to the County or Forest Service or editor or any communication expressing a united PUMA position) should be proofed and reviewed by at least one other member of one other Working Group and one officer (the two shall not be the same person). Requested feedback should be quick when called for by the originating Working Group. It is also understood that much of our public commentary may be of a timely nature and under such circumstances each Working Group will make an appropriate effort to obtain review and input from at least one other Working Group member.
Decisions of sufficient magnitude shall be approved by consensus. Discretion by officers and Working Group chairs shall be exercised in deciding what constitutes "sufficient magnitude". Any issue may be brought to vote by any member. Operating decisions by officers shall be made in a responsible way, individually, with appropriate discretion for review and approval by the active membership. Officer's decisions shall be subject to the same procedures of review as those outlined for Working Groups (above).
Preservation of the Magnolia ecosystem - There are not many places like Magnolia left along the Front Range. The combination of relatively low human population density, high wildlife counts, semi-flat forested area, and proximity to metropolitan services and amenities constitute the "unique" in Preserve Unique Magnolia Association. Magnolia's development was delayed compared to her sister ridge, Sugarloaf, to the north. Perhaps access was the controlling factor. Regardless, an area roughly 10 miles by 4 miles now contains lands desired and shared by humans and wildlife. Both are residents and visitors. It is this desire and this sharing that present both a problem and solution. Magnolia is not an area that should be consumed by hard boundaries. The region is small and one part should not be limited to exclusive uses. Some visitors come to take advantage of the peace and quiet offered. Some visitors come to an area they perceive to be free from regulation and control. Solutions to conflicting uses of the Magnolia area must be both educational and legislative in nature. Infractions born of maliciousness must be curbed by appropriate enforcement of appropriate laws. Infractions born of ignorance should be rewarded with patience, care, and information. The mountain/forest/residential ecosystem is more complex than the wildest of wilderness areas and well beyond our understanding. Human egos and morals do not bend to evolutionary pressures. Humans are very similar to animals in many ways: both tend to overpopulate an area until the resources or initial values of the area are ruined or depleted.
Mikail Gorbachev said, "Man should not play God". He believed we have become too powerful and in "playing God" we can do as much damage as we can repair. We can probably never fully understand the complexities of the ecosystems in which we live much less truly control them, but we can minimize our own effects and help others to do the same.
Scott C. Reuman
June 5, 1997