The Return of Alces alces shirasi

Moose foothold gaining strength in Central Colorado

By Christopher Kolomitz
Once considered a rarity in the state, moose are quickly becoming another attraction to the Colorado wild lands, right up there with snow-covered peaks, blazing aspen stands and cold, clear streams.

Specifically, it’s the Shiras moose that has tourists and locals doing a double-take. Typically smaller than their cousins to the north in Canada and Alaska, the Shiras moose has gained a foothold in Colorado, thanks to reintroduction efforts by state wildlife officials, a lack of natural predators and abundant suitable range.

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The Fryingpan-Arkansas River Project at 50

By George Sibley

Part I: The “Political Infrastructure” for Trans-mountain Diversion

Driving down U.S. 24 from Leadville to Buena Vista, along the Arkansas River that carved the valley, you don’t have the feeling of traveling past a man-made waterworks. It is in fact a beautiful stretch of river that looks quite “natural.”

You have to know what you are looking for to see the waterworks – for example, between Granite and Buena Vista, looking up on the hillsides across the river, you’ll see a barnlike industrial structure – a pumping plant, pulling water from the river and pushing it through the mountains to another natural-looking waterworks across Trout Creek Pass, in the South Platte River tributaries.

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Q & A with Colorado State Senator Gail Schwartz

Senator Gail Schwartz (D-Snowmass) was elected to represent Colorado’s Senate District 5 in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010. Previously, she was elected to serve on the Board of Regents of the University of Colorado from 2000 to 2005 and, before that, she was appointed by Gov. Roy Romer to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education from 1995 to 1999.

Colorado Central: Could you briefly explain SB12-048, the “Local Foods, Local Jobs Act” and how it will affect residents of Central Colorado? Where does the bill currently stand? 

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Patience and time scouting pays off for Twin Lakes hunter

By Christopher Kolomitz

Don Mann isn’t the type of guy that gets nervous very easily. The former Marine and accomplished hunter has bagged some of the more notable animals in North America – mountain goats, desert sheep, caribou, Dall’s sheep, Rocky Mountain bighorn, Canadian moose and more.

But, with the 2011 moose rifle season approaching and Mann spending countless hours in the field looking for moose, he was getting itchy. He’d seen plenty of moose sign – droppings, tracks and thrashed willows – but he hadn’t seen the animal.

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Book Reviews

Crooked Creek
by Maximilian Werner
Torrey House Press, Paperback, 178 pp, $15.95
ISBN-10: 193722600X
ISBN-13: 978-1937226008

Reviewed by Annie Dawid

“Not to have known – as most men have not – either the mountain or the desert is not to have known one’s self. Not to have known one’s self is to have known no one.” So begins Utah writer Maximilian Werner’s novel with this epigraph from Joseph Wood Krutch. Such an opening portends a fiction about self-knowledge, it would seem, or an attempt at such a voyage.

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Leadville’s Favorite Unsinkable Titanic Survivor

By Joyce B. Lohse

“It isn’t who you are, nor what you have, but what you are that counts. That was proved in the Titanic.” – Margaret Brown, The Denver Post, April 27, 1912.

Margaret Brown, wife of Leadville mining engineer “J. J.” Brown, was an outgoing woman with a lot to say on many subjects. If she had no audience, she would find one, or contact friends in the newspaper office. In today’s world, she probably would have been delighted with Facebook and Twitter. Print newspaper was the available media in the early 1900s, and she used it well. According to a Rocky Mountain News retrospective when she died in 1932, she stated that when she survived the Titanic disaster, “It was Brown luck. I’m the Unsinkable Mrs. J.J. Brown.”

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Water Update

by John Orr

The National Ski Areas Association Sues the Forest Service

Colorado Supreme Court Justice Greg Hobbs was speaking over in Breckenridge a couple of years back and told the group in attendance that “the water ditch is the basis of society.” Colorado law grew from those simple agricultural roots: put the water to beneficial use first and you get the right to divert the same amount in subsequent water years. Another early beneficial use developed around mining operations.

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Sculpting Humanity – Jaroso Artist Lynn Kircher

by Kenneth Jessen

Jaroso was founded in 1910 as the southern-most point reached by the San Luis Southern Railway originating in Blanca, 31.7 miles to the north. A year later, Jaroso (pronounced Hah-roh-soh) got its own post office and with rail access, it grew to become an agricultural trade center. The Dust Bowl, the Great Depression, sustained droughts and the fact that the land was never developed caused the town to fade away. The railroad was dismantled and its depots abandoned. Located just north of the Colorado – New Mexico line in Costilla County, it could have become one of the 1,500 or so Colorado ghost towns. The Anderson family became its only occupants.

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Sagebrush Rebellion, An Update

By John Mattingly

The Western United States have always thought of themselves as different from the East, so it isn’t surprising that in matters of States’ Rights, the Western States burned their own brand of mischief, which, in one curious case became known as the Sagebrush Rebellion.

Sagebrush rebels practiced “uncooperative federalism,” or provocative non-compliance with a federal law when that federal law was at odds with a sensible state law, or when a federal law failed to measure up to Westerners’ standards of horse sense – or, in this case, donkey sense.

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The Crowded Acre

by Jennifer Welch

“Thirteen Pair of Winter Cardinals”

Winter. It means something different to everyone. To me, it is the longest and slowest of all the seasons. It carries with it the least variability, gelatinous and dark, a time for reflections and musings. Sometimes it seems as though time stands still in winter; frozen within the ice, buried beneath the snow, waiting for the urgings of a new spring to push it forth from the dirt. When I was younger, it would tend to make me restless and fitful. Now I have learned to appreciate the tides of the seasons, the death that is so vital to the rebirth. And though most things use this time of year to remain dormant, my mind is anything but …

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Regional News Roundup

By Christopher Kolomitz

Parolee dies in Chaffee Barn Fire

BUENA VISTA – A parolee sought by Chaffee County authorities was identified through dental records after his body was found March 8 in a burned out barn southwest of Buena Vista. David Butler, 46, of Summit County, was found in the small residential barn following a search for him in the area near Maud Lane, which is just a little north of the Chalk Creek drainage. While conducting the search for Butler, authorities spotted smoke and responded to the barn fire and subsequently found Butler’s body, reported The Mountain Mail. It was unclear whether the death was a suicide or accidental, or what prompted Butler to flee from authorities.

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News from the San Luis Valley

By Patty LaTaille

Wind Warning!

Alamosa Elementary students and staff were advised to relocate to the gym if winds are sustained or gust at over 50 mile per hour. Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., of Lakewood, discovered that both school buildings, excluding the gyms, need reinforcement to withstand wind and earthquake forces. In a letter addressed to Alamosa School District Superintendent Rob Alejo from Neenan Co. project executive Mark Christensen, winds above 50 mph or greater could potentially cause damage to the building in the form of cracking of finishes, but not structural failure or any form of building collapse. With the mighty winds whipping through the SLV in the spring, this could be an issue.

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Dispatch from the Edge

By Peter Anderson

Dear Matt:

Sorry I missed your wedding. The East Coast seems further away than it used to. And I’m sorry I haven’t met your honey. Now your little boy is two maybe three and soon you will be driving him to school. When you were here, I was carrying Rosalea up the trail.

She is twelve now, Caroline is seven, and we are still here on the side of the mountain. If it weren’t for a stop sign and a slight rise in the grade once we get down to the valley floor, I could almost roll the girls out to school in neutral. They humor me on our morning rides when I play them my classics—no not make’em smart Mozart, but Jimi Hendrix, Electric Ladyland, 1968. Today, the intro to Gypsy Eyes, Mitch Mitchell laying down his base drum top hat groove – boomchazz, boomchazz, boomchazz, boomchazz. Jimi slides down the neck of his Stratocaster – can you hear it? – as we are losing altitude.

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Church and State

By Ed Quillen

Although I was born in 1950 and was thus around for the 1952 and 1956 presidential elections, I don’t remember them at all. Such recollections start with 1960, John F. Kennedy vs. Richard M. Nixon. My fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Wentworth, had us follow the campaign. We had to bring in a campaign clipping every week for current events, and we were supposed to catch the debates – which I did on radio, because our family didn’t have a TV at the time.

That said, I don’t remember much of it. My parents and Mrs. Wentworth and just about every other adult I encountered were all for Nixon, and that there was some concern about Kennedy’s being a Roman Catholic. As best I can remember, the argument was that as a Catholic, JFK was obliged to obey the Pope, who was not only the head of a church but also the head of a sovereign nation, the Vatican City. And the President of the United States should not be obliged to obey a foreign ruler.

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From the Editor

Best Friends

Back in February I got a call from my friend Ken Vargo of Howard. He was wondering if I had any interest in joining him for a trip to Southwestern Utah in early March to volunteer for trail-building at the Best Friends Animal Society.

Having had few opportunities to spend time in the red-rock country of Utah since I moved here from Durango, I decided to take the trip with Ken in his trusty VW Westphalia van along with his dog, Buster.

This would be Ken’s third trip to Best Friends in as many years and he had made all the arrangements. Ken works for the U.S. Forest Service so has lots of experience with trail building; skills that are a good fit to help out at what is considered North America’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary.

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Renovating My Life

By Susan Tweit

I didn’t intend to renovate my life, revising not just my daily routine, but also my path forward.

After Richard died two days after Thanksgiving, I figured I’d hibernate for several months to recover from helping him live well for as long as he could with brain cancer. I wanted time to hear myself think, to figure out this new and unsought role as Woman Alone.

I thought I’d read, rest, and get started on a new book – or books. Hah.

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Landmark Salida Restaurant Says Goodbye

By Ed Quillen

For fifteen years, we ran Colorado Central out of our house. While that’s convenient in many ways (i.e., short commute, and if you get a neat idea at 3 a.m. you can do something about it), there’s also a problem in that homes aren’t really set up for certain aspects of commerce.

So for those fifteen years, the First Street Café was where we generally met with writers, advertisers and whoever else might have had business with Colorado Central. The restaurant was more or less our front office.

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The Falcon’s Message

By Hal Walter

While driving home through the Wet Mountain Valley after picking up a homeopathic remedy for a sick cow, I detected a quick motion coming from behind and in a field to the right. Before I could even turn my head, the bird – surely a peregrine falcon – was angling across the road in front of me like a rocket, riding the contours with its built-in radar over fencelines and the rolling landscape.

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