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Briefs from all over for July 1995

Brief by Central Staff

Rural Life – July 1995 – Colorado Central Magazine

No Secrets

To demonstrate that keeping anything secret in a small town is nearly impossible, we present a portion of a letter that appeared in the May 25 edition of the Wet Mountain Tribune:

Dear Jim,

Do you know someone who would like a puppy? I certainly don’t, and didn’t expect my daughter to come home with one from the rodeo.

It seems that the children were given the prize of “mutt” puppies for catching a goat and calf. I have heard of winning a piglet for catching a greased pig, but this was a cheap trick.

Now I am in the position of either finding it a suitable home, or taking it to the pound. And what about my daughter, who tried very hard and caught the goat? What is her reward for a job well done? A broken heart …

Delores Schambeau

Silver Cliff

And now, from the Tribune’s letters one week later:

Dear Jim,

I’m really sorry I lied about how I got my puppy. I lied because I thought that my mom would get mad at me if she really knew how I really got it. I’m also sorry my mom wrote to the paper about it, and everyone got mad at me anyway.

Kimberly Jean Hoffman

Silver Cliff

Monarch enjoys record season,

but competition could be coming

Although skiing overall was down in Colorado during the past season, Monarch Resort showed an increase and set a record.

In 1994-95, the resort enjoyed 162,982 skier-days (one day’s visit by a skier or snowboarder). That’s a 3 percent increase from 158,148 in ’93-94, and it breaks the resorts all-time record year of 1986-87, when it had 161,002 skier-days.

The record might have been higher if extreme weather hadn’t forced the ski area to close for one day during the height of the season.

Monarch general manager Rich Moorhead credited local skiers for “being the backbone of this success… We also had a record number of season pass sales. Without local skiers’ support, Monarch would not have experienced this kind of year.”

Monarch may face a revived competitor for local skiers’ dollars in 1996. The old Conquistador ski area in the Wet Mountain Valley, later operated as Mountain Cliffe, has been shut down for several seasons, but it has new owners — Paul Zeller, owner of Horn Creek Conference Grounds near Westcliffe, and Mark Musser, controller of an insurance company in Madison, Wis.

Zeller said he will re-open the area’s 36-unit hotel this summer, and that he plans to re-open the ski area, although likely not until the fall of 1996.

Bye, bye, AWDI

The northernmost Mexican land grant in the United States has changed hands, thus eliminating one group of owners who had plans to export water from the San Luis Valley to the Front Range, but local activists need not fear for an issue: the new owner also wants to sell some water to outside markets.

The old land grant is the 105,000-acre Luis Maria Baca Grant No. 4, which essentially fills everything between a Moffat-Crestone line and Great Sand Dunes National Monument.

AWDI (American Water Development, Inc.) bought the Baca in 1986 and soon announced plans to tap the “abundant” ground water with wells, and sell the water to Front Range markets. Last year, a long court battle put an end to that scheme.

Gary Boyce, who owns a neighboring ranch, bought the property this spring for $13 million, and he’s a principal in Stockmen’s Water Co., which might be trying up to 50,000 acre-feet of surface water each year — assuming that there’s a market, and that such water development isn’t blocked by the courts.

In a way, the Baca Grant dates back to 1823, when Luis Maria Baca received a huge grant of Mexican land in the area of Las Vegas, N.M. Ownership was disputed, especially after the Mexican War of 1846, and in 1860, the U.S. Congress allowed his heirs to select five other sites, each about 100,000 acres.

Thus the “Baca Grant No. 4” name. By 1865, the land was in the hands of William Gilpin, first territorial governor of Colorado, and in recent years, it has been owned by Arizona Land & Cattle Co., and TOSCO (The Oil Shale Company).