September: A fleeting, magical month

Column by Hal Walter

Mountain Life – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

IF THERE’S ANY good reason to live in Central Colorado, it would have to be September, that magical month with brilliant days, blanket-cool evenings, golden trees, cobalt skies, and bugling elk.

September. The kids are back in school where they belong. Their parents are back at work where they belong. The pilgrims, the ones who haven’t moved here semi-permanently, have gone home where they belong. I now find myself outside where I belong. Unhassled by the Chinook winds of winter, the blizzards of spring, or the high-powered pyrotechnics of the summer monsoon, I’m free to enjoy the outdoors virtually unfettered.

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Isn’t it time we tried a New West festival?

Essay by Ed Quillen

New West – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

THIS YEAR, every town big enough to boast a high school, and more than a few that have trouble keeping a post office in business, hosted a festival.

Even though these small-town celebrations go by different names — Wild West Days, Gold Rush Days, Pioneer Weekend, Founders’ Day, Old West Festival — they hold much in common: They all focus on the Old West.

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About Whirling Disease

Sidebar by Ed Quillen

Whirling Disease – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Whirling Disease gets its name from its effect on fingerling trout. If they’re infected, they tend to swim in circles, like puppies chasing their tails — except it isn’t cute when trout do it.

WD most often affects trout when they’re young, less than four inches long. It attacks their soft cartilage before it hardens into bone, causing skeletal deformities and nervous-system damage (thus the whirling), and sometimes death.

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Californicating the fishery

Sidebar by Hal Walter

Wildlife – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Four strains of cutthroat trout are native to Central Colorado waters, yet the Colorado Division of Wildlife places an emphasis on stocking rainbow trout, native to the West Coast.

Why Californicate the fishery? While many believe the rainbow is superior in “sporting qualities,” the truth is that simple economics makes it the trout of choice for mass production, the figurative feedlot cattle of the industrial-recreation racket.

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Salida’s own vortex

Article by Ed Quillen

Salida politics – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

EVEN THOUGH SOME Crestone residents claim that they live in a vortex where great forces swirl and converge, it might be easier to make that case for a 51-acre irrigated pasture on the north side of Salida.

Water, wildlife, tourism, recreation, politics — they all meet in this spot that looks pretty much like any other artificial meadow.

The land is owned by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, and desired by some Salidans for an expansion of the municipal golf course from 9 to 18 holes.

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Saving Open Space inside a Big Empty

Article by Marcia Darnell

Open Space – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

YOU KNOW that overcrowding has reached insane levels when the San Luis Valley starts a land conservation program. Yep, the place with the Massachusetts-sized area and sparse population is feeling the impact of too many new neighbors.

In addition, many ranchers (already an aging population) are going to that Big Roundup in the Sky, leaving their children with an enormous tax bill. Often, the heirs have to sell the ranch, or part of it, just to pay the inheritance tax on the ranch.

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How Citizen Participation changed the Planning Profession

Essay by Kenneth D. Munsell

Planning – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

TWO DAYS AGO, I turned on the television and happened upon a rural development conference. The state public affairs channel aired the meeting, and it involved panelists talking to state legislators about the problems and potentials of rural areas in Washington.

Experts in various fields gave their testimonies and talked about the structural economic development problems inherent in smallness: the inadequate numbers in the work force, the transportation networks, the lack of housing, and other dilemmas.

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Perhaps a plan that Salida can live with

Essay by Martha Quillen

Salida politics – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

ANOTHER DAY. Another dollar. Another plan. On September 1, Salida presented its second comprehensive plan to its citizens.

My impression this second time around was that — with some judicious modifications — this new plan could be made both acceptable and beneficial to most Salidans. But right now, I wouldn’t want to predict what will actually come of this plan.

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Remembering the Four Mile Ranch

Article by Jim Ludwig

Local History – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

THE OTHER DAY I was scrounging through a box of odds and ends, Dad’s jewels, the kids call them, and I found an old chert Indian scraper. It fit comfortably in the palm of my hand, the scraping edge sharpened by careful chipping of the chert.

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A whiff of hypocrisy?

Letter from Patrick O’grady

John Walker’s Letter – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear Ed and Martha,

I was taken aback by the vehemence of John Walker’s personal attack on Hal Walter in response to Hal’s “Killer Coyote” column in the August issue of Colorado Central. Why are so many people who profess to revere wildness so eager to declare a jihad against anyone who worships nature at a slightly different altar?

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A new standard for arrogance

Letter from Hal Walter

John Walker’s Letter – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear John Walker:

I don’t normally respond to letters to the editor. I figure I had my say, now you get yours. However, your letter was so ill-conceived and illogical that I could not leave it unanswered. Your unwarranted derision of my family, “generations of Walters” of whom you know absolutely nothing, and your fascist suggestion that I leave the area if I can’t abide by your belief system, set a new standard for arrogance in my hefty letters-to-the-editor collection.

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Limits of Political Correctness

Letter from Clay Warren

Mountain Life – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine


I knew that the humidity from all the rain and hot weather was going to get to some people, but I had not realized it was so much warmer and wetter to the southeast as to elevate such a crop of grouches and bring the PC storm troopers up like crocus in the spring. I had thought Erik Moore’s Vicarian piece [Aug. 99] would elicit some criticism for its frank truthfulness. Little did I even imagine any criticism would come at me for seemingly innocuous commentary or that anyone would dare criticize a burro chaser in print. I do make note of the fact that humans are the only predators whose chosen foods are the adult version, if one excludes veal and stealing eggs, rather than the young as Mr. Walker points out.

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About backwater English

Letter from Slim Wolfe

Grammar – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear Clay Warren Pseudonymous:

If you delete all the ain’t and cain’ts from your epistles, you leave me with self-indulgent convoluted barristerese, mud without a rock to step on. Don’t flatter yourself that I tried to emulate your style.

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Over the River would enhance the Arkansas

Letter from Eldon L. Rush

Art – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine


Pueblo can certainly be proud of its magnificent Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center and its staff who so professionally exhibited Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Twenty-five Golden Years, the Tom Golden Collection, and who were such gracious hosts for the walk-through with the artists and the hundreds of interested visitors.

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The Oxymoronic Outdoor Products Industry

Essay by Hal Clifford

Outdoor Recreation – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

CALL ME NAIVE, but I thought the outdoor experience was about being outdoors. If I’m to judge by the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, held in mid-August in Salt Lake City, it’s about the idea of the outdoors.

Salt Lake’s tornado notwithstanding, it was a huge event. By my guess about 400 retailers set up elaborate booths in the Salt Palace Convention Center. One account said 18,000 people — wholesalers and retailers — were expected. I was there on my publisher’s expense account to sign a book, but I snuck away to spend some time wandering the aisles. I wanted to know: What, exactly, are several hundred retailers trying to sell to us schmucks who consume the products of the outdoor industry (a fascinating term, if you think about it)?

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Latest gossip says Tennessee Pass might re-open in 2000

Brief by Central Staff

Transportation – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Latest RR gossip says Tennessee Pass line might re-open next summer

Our spies along the idle Tennessee Pass rail line report that there are minor washouts and rockslides in several places between Minturn and Parkdale (the west end of the Royal Gorge) that Union Pacific hasn’t bothered to repair.

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Heard Around the West

Brief by Betsy Marston

Various – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Under the Gun

Fresh from a river trip through Cataract Canyon in Utah, five passengers and the pilot of a single-engine Cessna faced a nasty emergency: The plane from Redtail Aviation was lugging, failing to gain altitude. Adding to the tension was the weight of at least one man, reports the Times-Independent of Moab, Utah.

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Salida faces a special election about a shooting range

Brief by Central Staff

Salida politics – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

It’s a good thing that “Salida” means “exit” in Spanish, and not “simple,” or the city would need a new name.

The issues concerning a proposed land trade between the city and the Colorado Division of Wildlife are hideously complex (see the long article on page 33 for some of the issues), and a new complication emerged recently.

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Chlouber will run again for state senate

Brief by Central Staff

Politics – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

State Sen. Ken Chlouber, a Republican who represents much of Central Colorado in Denver, announced on Aug. 30 that he plans to run for re-election next year.

Chlouber, a former Lake County commissioner, served in the House of Representatives from 1986 to 1996, when in a hard-fought election, he defeated first-term Sen. Linda Powers, a Crested Butte Democrat.

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Bjüni’s latest firing

Brief by Central Staff

Buena Vista politics – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

The saga of Buena Vista’s police chief and town administrator might last as long as Salida’s golf-course expansion, and we’ve been writing about that issue since Colorado Central first appeared in March of 1994.

The most recent development came Sept. 9, when the town board of trustees unanimously voted to fire David Clyne, the town administrator, for insubordination because he had refused the trustees’ order to rehire Jim Tidwell as police chief.

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Oct. 2 hike might produce a name for ‘Point 11,682’

Brief by George Sibley

Geography – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

You might think that every place worth naming has been named now, but there is at least one small unnamed peak in the Colorado Rockies that is unique enough to warrant a name — and a coterie of Coloradans are going to do something about it, starting with a hike Saturday, October 2.

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Eagle Scout cleans Elephant Rock

Brief by Central Staff

Local lore – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

To become an Eagle Scout, a Boy Scout needs to complete a major project. Cameron Randall of Buena Vista took one on last summer — removing the graffiti from Elephant Rock, a landmark a couple of miles north of Buena Vista near the Midland Tunnels.

He started on August 3, and got a lot of assistance along the way from fellow scouts, church members, and various businesses and public entities. And now there’s a sign on the landmark, explaining a bit of its history.

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Guanella Pass paving isn’t popular everywhere

Brief by Central Staff

Transportation – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

To Pave or not To Pave? That is the Guanella Pass Question

Politicians used to get elected by promising to pave roads and re-elected by delivering the asphalt. But times have apparently changed.

First there was 12,126-foot Cottonwood Pass, across the Continental Divide between Buena Vista and Taylor Park. The feds wanted to pave it, and Chaffee County was agreeable. But Gunnison opposed pavement, and eventually prevailed — on its side of the Divide.

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Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Green Golf?

The Nature Conservancy is weighing the feasibility of maintaining a golf course on its new 100,00-acre acquisition in the Valley. Discussions with the public have revolved around the concept of “green golf,” an environmentally friendly way to maintain golf courses. Other factors in the debate include the course’s financial drain, its role in the community, and its lure for eco-tourists. The governing board of the Conservancy has final say in the fate of the Zapata golf course.

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How to change García into Garcman

Brief by Central Staff

Typography – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

How to use a computer to change García into Garcma

We never heard of anyone named “Garcma,” either, nor of a place called “San Josi.” So we don’t have any good excuse for the errors we made last month in publishing Jeanne Englert’s review of Brujas, Builtos & Brasas: Tales of Witchcraft and the Supernatural in the Pecos Valley by Nasario García (rather than Garcma).

Our abject apologies to all involved.

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‘Trailer Trash’ deserves a place in the New West

Essay by Dewey Linze

Housing – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

IN THE MID-1930S, when poverty had a stranglehold on the country and sliced bread was a nickel a loaf, we lived in a trailer park, or trailer court, and everyone outside of the encampment called us “trailer trash.”

It was insulting, but this was the way the “haves” set themselves apart from the “have nots,” or the trailer people. To the cops and welfare and truant officers, the trailer court was where all evil spawned and spread.

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