Twenty Years of Preserving this Place Called Home

By Hal Walter

Poet and conservationist Gary Snyder once said: “Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.”

For 20 years now, San Isabel Land Protection Trust has been helping people protect places they call home, and in turn helping provide a home for nature in a time of increasing strain on land resources in Southern Colorado. Over these two decades the population of Colorado has exploded, and the ripple effects of runaway growth and development on the Front Range and I-70 corridor have been felt in all corners of the state, including here in Custer, Fremont, Huerfano, and Pueblo Counties, where San Isabel serves to protect land and water resources.

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The South Park City Museum

By Laura Van Dusen

At South Park City Museum in Fairplay, time stands still.

Visitors there can wander through buildings salvaged from the gold and silver mining craze of the 1860s-1890s. They can touch the furnishings, sit in the chairs or even lie in the beds once occupied by frontier Colorado miners and railroad tycoons. One can visit a frontier Masonic lodge, a drugstore full of pre-1900s remedies or an old-time saloon complete with a wall-sized oil painting of the lovely unclad “Rachel. ”

The painting once graced the walls of the historic Antlers Hotel in Colorado Springs (since replaced by the Antlers Hilton).

Abandoned ghost buildings are tough to find these days in their original environment, which makes the collection at South Park City all the more fascinating.

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The Natural World: Lagomorpha

By Tina Mitchell

Bugs Bunny is an imposter. Those extraordinarily long ears and gangly limbs expose him as a hare, not a rabbit. Bugs is not the only victim of rabbit confusion. The early settlers on the plains named the first bunny-like beings they encountered “jackrabbits” – but those critters also were hares, not rabbits. Likewise the adorable, alpine-dwelling pika snagged the name “rock rabbit” – again, not a rabbit. 

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About the Cover Artist: Brynn Ronning

Brynn Ronning paints with oils and finds home in the town of Buena Vista, Colorado. As a seven-year resident, Brynn has immersed herself in Jailhouse Arts, a community project of artists that collectively and creatively inhabit the town’s former jailhouse. Brynn has acted as gallery and events coordinator for the Jailhouse, encouraging the hands of local artists to turn this historical, stone-walled building into a space for the arts. The collective’s focus has been to showcase local talent, offer studio space, and develop workshops and classes. Brynn is grateful for the unfolding of both intentional and spontaneous acts of art to occur at the Jailhouse from a community of collaborators.

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Dispatch From the Edge

by Peter Anderson Road weary after the drive up from Page, I stop in Kayenta, near a handmade espresso sign on a sheet of plywood, and I follow the arrows – coffee this way – through an opening into a courtyard and into the Blue Shepard Coffee Shop. Try a cool, refreshing Nava-Joe, says another …

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News from the San Luis Valley

by Gena Akers Gator Gets a New Home Jay Young, owner of the San Luis Valley’s Colorado Gators Reptile Park, recently drove 2,200 miles in 48 hours to rescue Jaxon, an 8-foot alligator. Wildlife officials found Jaxon in a backyard in Los Angeles, relocating him to a zoo. After retrieving Jaxon, Young visited the alligator’s …

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A Farmer Afield – American Schnitzel: The War on Peace

by John Mattingly Note: This is the second in a three-part series that looks at the current cultural sausage being made by our U.S. military, starting with the curious case of the American Sniper, followed by the troubling question of military honor and why our high-powered, big-dollar U.S. military keeps losing wars. The final piece …

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Quillen’s Corner

by Martha Quillen Americans Are Still Strong, Courageous and Bold, But Courage May Be Overrated Are Americans driven by unfounded fear and anxiety? According to an article in the March issue of The Atlantic, our fears regarding crime and terrorism are way out of touch with reality. With backup from numerous experts and studies, Jonathan …

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On the Ground – Down on the Ground with Prosperity

by George Sibley “Economic development” is again in the air in the Upper Gunnison Valley. For the past three decades, the Upper Gunnison River basin has periodically engaged in the quest for economic development. The first effort, in the 1980s, was mostly the conventional smokestack-chasing gambit typical of mid-20th-century local economic development. That effort ended …

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Places: Aspen Ridge

by Ericka Kastner Aspen Ridge is highly regarded by Colorado leaf-peepers touring on four wheels in the fall, but fewer people consider the area’s beauty and recreational merits for two-wheeled outdoor enthusiasts in the spring and summer. The nearly 40 miles of double track spanning from Salida to just east of Johnson Village on Trout …

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Wild Connections: Mapping Potential Wilderness Areas

By Tyler Grimes

Up the East Gulch from its confluence with the Arkansas River, a few miles east of Texas Creek in Fremont County, is Echo Canyon. Further up the gulch, Table Mountain looms to the southwest, past Bull Ridge.

Surrounding this mountain, gulch and canyon are 32,000 acres of roadless Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. The area is classified under the BLM’s Area of Critical Environment Concern (ACEC) because of its valued species: a BLM Instant Study Area protecting 17 native grasses: and its importance as a wildlife corridor for mountain lion, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, black bear, elk, mule deer, pronghorn, Gunnison prairie dog, wild turkey, peregrine falcon, Mexican spotted owl, great blue heron and bald eagle. Conservation Science Partners (CSP) recognizes 7,641 acres of Table Mountain as having “important ecologically based indicators of high biodiversity, resilience to climate change, and landscape connectivity.” The unit is deemed one of Central Colorado Wilderness Coalition’s (CCWC) top 11 areas worthy of wilderness designation. 

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Book Reviews – Phantom Canyon: Essays of Reclamation

Phantom Canyon: Essays of Reclamation By Kathryn Winograd Conundrum Press, 2014, paper, 148 pp, $12.99 Reviewed by Annie Dawid Phantom Canyon, a rough and rustic valley in the Front Range, inspires Colorado essayist and poet Kathryn Winograd to write visceral essays that both wound and heal. Rich with mining history and the detritus of a …

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Hollywood’s Railroads, Volume Three–Narrow Gauge Country

by Larry Jenson Motion picture directors, producers and writers have long recognized the multitude of possibilities for comedy, drama and suspense that railroads offer. Chases, races, robberies, wrecks, derring-do and intrigue on and around trains provided the kind of excitement that kept audiences coming back for more. In a quest to find interesting locations, Hollywood …

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The Natural World

by Tina Mitchell Bugs Bunny is an imposter. Those extraordinarily long ears and gangly limbs expose him as a hare, not a rabbit. Bugs is not the only victim of rabbit confusion. The early settlers on the plains named the first bunny-like beings they encountered “jackrabbits” – but those critters also were hares, not rabbits. …

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The Story of Uncle Bud

by Mike Rosso Nestled in the pines at 11,380 feet, a few miles east of the Continental Divide and just outside Leadville, sits Uncle Bud’s Hut, a true gem in the 10th Mountain Division hut system. Below lie the shimmering waters of Turquoise Lake, and across the valley stand two of Colorado’s mightiest peaks, Mount …

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From the Editor – Just Our Type

by Mike Rosso When we approached Buena Vista artist Brynn Ronning about featuring her artwork on our April cover, she offered us quite a few suitable “springtime” options. But there was something about that typewriter, maybe a bit of nostalgia – the clacking of keys versus the sterile sound of today’s computer keyboards. Perhaps it …

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The Real Deal Music Review: Leadville Cherokee – How to Build a Fire

By Brian Rill

A dry lake bed is perhaps the appropriate place for lighting a signal fire. That’s just what Leadville, Colorado band Leadville Cherokee has done with the release of their first studio-length album How to Build a Fire. Out of a chilly 10,000-foot mountain town, they have coveted ingredients for combustion: a large cluster of superheated gas and rock grinding together in a vacuum. Producing a loud exclamation of exaggerated activity, they are blazing the trail to ignite a new star, in the form of lead vocalist Coco Martin.

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A 1933 Farm Program Aids a Town Via Tech Jobs

By Forrest Whitman

One thing is constant in my small town: bitching about the local economy. I’m accustomed to hearing the same old complaints. Plenty of folks at our coffeehouse call it a permanent recession resulting in low wages with no break in prices. I’ve got a couple of coffee bets out that something new is going to help.

Our economic squeeze is partly due to the local industries. The river rafting companies do hire in the summer, but that’s short term. Our local ski area isn’t a big one. Again, the jobs are not well paid. Walmart is at least consistent, but no source of a big salary. This is an old tale of economic depression told again and again in the small town west.

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