Fall reflections in a lake going dry

Column by Hal Walter

Drought – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

It’s fall at timberline and I am camped high in the northern Sangres at a lake that shall remain nameless though by context the observant reader may be able to guess. In checking the register at the trailhead, it appeared fewer than a dozen people had visited this place in the last year.

Read more

Trading our birthright

Letter from Slim Wolfe

Modern Life – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine


The passing stranger wondered how I was celebrating September 11; at first I wrote off the odd bit of usage since she had an overseas accent, but in a sense, America this past year has been in a state of perverse celebration.

Read more

Larger legislative maps

Letter from Bill Eichelberger

Redistricting – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Hi Ed & Martha:

As usual, a great issue of Colorado Central (October). I was interested in the maps on page 8, showing the old and new legislative districts for Colorado. I have been trying to find good maps like that for a group I volunteer for. Can you tell me where I can get copies, hopefully larger and more readable?

Read more

Where’s the coltan?

Letter from Dave Delling

Minerals – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine


Articles by Writers on the Range authors are usually the first thing I read when Colorado Central arrives. I’ve found them to be generally credible and factual and that’s important since some of your readers are impressionable and take whatever is laid out to be so. They are influenced by what they read. I may not agree with the author’s position but I can at least respect their point of view if its based on factual information.

Read more

Fish Farm not that old

Letter from Dick Scar

Highway 17 – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Ed & Martha,

In the last issue, p.36, the story about the fish farmin the San Luis valley, you state that the fish farm started 50 years ago? I thought it was more like 20 or 25 years ago.

Read more

Water numbers don’t agree

Letter from Kathleen Curry

water – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear Ed,

Just wanted to let you know that some of the figures in your article on water in the October edition of Colorado Central should be adjusted. On Page 13 you state that there are 309,000 acres of irrigated land in the “Gunnison Country.” If you are referring to the higher elevation area above Blue Mesa Reservoir, the total irrigated acreage is about 63,000 acres. If you add in the areas tributary to Morrow Point Reservoir and Crystal Reservoir, the total is about 78,000. The farmland in the Uncompahgre Valley under the Uncompahgre Project is in the range of 80,000 acres.

Read more

Problem Solving

Column by George Sibley

Community – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

“Problem solving” in the West has historically been a matter of applying science and technology to “tame the land” and make the wild West more people-friendly. This problem-solving process has significantly rearranged a lot of western ecology, especially in the vicinity of surface waters. It takes a real enviro-purist to see all of these changes as negative, and a deliberately obtuse “Wise-User” — blind to obvious system overloading and desertification — to see all of them as positive.

Read more

What makes Curtis run?

Article by Ed Quillen

Politics – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

It was one of those September days that make you wonder how you ever lived anywhere else, or even ventured outside of Chaffee county. A couple of days of off-and-on autumn rain had greened the valley floor, temporarily hiding the stark brown of the worst drought since Colorado’s first town was founded in 1851. Slate-edged clouds swirled just below the freshly frosted summits of the highest range in all 3,000 miles of Rocky Mountains. Below the cloud layer, changing aspen reflected golden sunshine.

Read more

Taking negativity to new heights

Essay by Martha Quillen

2002 election – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Decisions, decisions.

The 2002 election is still nearly a month away, but I’ve made quite a few decisions already. First, I’m going to vote against all of the Amendments: 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31.

Consider Amendment 27. Although campaign finance reform may sound like a good idea, it would take a wealthy candidate to pay for the lawyers to interpret just what this particular amendment calls for. And complex legal restrictions just make it more difficult for the little guy to compete — even though the intent is to level the playing field.

Read more

CWD: the mysterious malady

Article by Martha Quillen

Wildlife – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

As Chronic Wasting Disease spreads across our state the question arises: Is our government doing too much or too little to halt this deadly epidemic?

A fatal brain disease found in both deer and elk, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was first identified in 1967 at a government research facility near Fort Collins. In the ensuing years, researchers have tried to figure out how to cure, prevent, or at least stop the spread of CWD, but the condition is still poorly understood.

Read more

Saving Souls or Sanity? Leadville vs. the Salvation Army

Article by Lynda La Rocca

Local History – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

For me, at least, the words “Salvation Army” generate benign visions of holiday bell-ringers, donation kettles, and prim, button-downed characters like Miss Sarah Brown in the musical Guys and Dolls.

It’s hard to imagine this evangelical Christian movement, which began in England in 1865, causing a near-riot in frontier Leadville.

Read more

Campaign sign modified

Brief by Central Staff

Politics – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

One common play on the governor’s name is ” He’s Bill Owens, and I’ve been Owin’ Bills most of my life.” This campaign sign, just north of Almont, underwent a different transformation, to “Ill Omens.”

Read more

Improving Guanella Pass?

Brief by Central Staff

Transportation – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Guanella Pass crosses the west flank of the Mt. Evans massif, connecting Georgetown in Clear Creek County to Grant in Park County.

It’s a twisting, narrow gravel road that the Federal Highway Administration wants to improve. After years of hearings and the like, the FHWA on Sept. 26 issued its final Environmental Impact Statement for a Guanella project.

Read more

When they say cedar, they mean juniper

Brief by Central Staff

Forests – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

This recent Wall Street Journal ad for mountain real estate promises some “Ancient Cedars” on 35+ acres that must be somewhere in the Westcliffe area. However, it’s unlikely that there are any cedars, ancient or modern, on the property.

Read more

Lake County deputy charged with animal cruelty

Brief by Central Staff

Law enforcement – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

A sheriff’s deputy in Lake County is being charged with animal cruelty as a result of shooting a dog almost a year ago.

It started on Nov. 5, 2001, when the sheriff’s office received a call about a vicious stray dog in a rural subdivision. Deputy Mike Martschinske responded, and he got some help from Jay Turner of the Leadville Police Department, who had a catch pole to assist in capturing the dog.

Read more

Meteor found near Cotopaxi

Brief by Central Staff

Meteors – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, was a fairly open-minded fellow, but when a couple of New England college teachers said they had recovered a meteor, he was skeptical: “I would sooner believe that two Yankee professors could lie than that rocks would fall from the sky.”

Read more

Just missed the jackpot

Brief by Central Staff

Human interest – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Carl Miller of Leadville, our state representative for the past six years, came within one number of winning the $16 million state lottery jackpot last month. There’s a saying that “close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades,” but in this case, close was good for $372.

Miller had represented House District 61, which covered most of Central Colorado. However, the boundaries had to be redrawn to reflect the population changes reflected in the 2000 census.

Read more

The return of the cloud seeders

Brief by Allen Best

Snow – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

With streams running at their lowest in 150 years, ski areas and cities in Colorado have been looking at once discarded ideas, including cloud-seeding. Deployed extensively after the last benchmark drought winter, 1976-77, the cloud-seeding generators have since been largely abandoned. The only consistent holdouts were Vail and Beaver Creek.

Read more

Conservation group helps Custer ranchers

Brief by Central Staff

Agriculture – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

On account of the drought, hay has been in scarce supply this year, and that’s been a real hit to mountain agriculture. Those who grow it haven’t had much, if any, to sell; those who buy it to feed their herds in the winter haven’t been able to afford it.

Read more

Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Bad Year for El Valle

Drought, wildfires, and a sluggish economy proved a triple whammy for the San Luis Valley. The Great Sand Dunes National Monument and Preserve saw fewer visitors, as did the Alamosa and Monte Vista Wildlife Refuges, which will not have a hunting season this year.

Read more

Trail funds available

Brief by Central Staff

Trails – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

If you know of a trail that could use money, the state has some — about $3.5 million in grants for design, planning and construction of pedestrian recreational trails, off-highway vehicle trails, and several other varieties.

The deadline for grant applications for the 2003-04 funding cycle is Nov. 29, and the grants will be announced next April. Applications are reviewed and awarded based on benefits, financial feasibility, and community support.

Read more

No local sites appear endangered

Brief by Central Staff

Historic preservation – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

We’re not sure whether this is good news or bad news, but in either case, no sites in Central Colorado or the San Luis Valley appear on the 2002 list of Colorado’s Most Endangered Places, issued recently by Colorado Preservation Inc.

It might be good news because we’re good at preserving our past, or bad news because our economy is so depressed that there’s not enough construction or development to put any old structures at risk.

Read more

Alma wants to be a quieter place

Brief by Central Staff

Small town life – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

There was a time when Alma, a few miles up the Hoosier Pass road from Fairplay, was a rip-roaring mining camp.

But now it would prefer to be a quiet place.

Read more

There is much to be done, but not by me

Essay by Robert Rowley

Activisim – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

They’re calling the new subdivision “Desert Mirage.” I wish it were a mirage. Unfortunately, I see it each time I drive to the Organ Mountains of New Mexico to hike — another blemish on the Chihuahuan Desert.

Recently, I wrote a guest column for a local newspaper criticizing Las Cruces for sprawling toward our nearby mountains. Afterwards, I got telephone calls and letters from people wondering how to stop such “progress.” The response rattled me. They wanted a leader to follow into battle.

Read more

Western Water Report: 19 November 2002


With $250,000 in start-up funds, the foundation was formed to “promote a better understanding of water issues through educational opportunities and resources.” The legislature allocated the money, along with $150,000 annually thereafter, to be administered by the Colorado Water Conservation Board. Karla Brown, a former water quality specialist for Colorado State Cooperative Extension, has been named as the first executive director for the CFWE. Brown holds a Masters in rangeland ecosystem science from Colorado State University, and earned a Bachelors in political science at Cornell University. Her background includes development of water-related research and educational programs, grant writing, public outreach and group facilitation.

Read more