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Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – May 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Developer Backs Down

Land Properties, Inc., has scrapped plans for a 48-acre RV park along the Rio Grande east of South Fork. Loud opposition to the development persuaded the company to withdraw its application for a zoning change of the property. The Rio Grande County commissioners had allowed 30 days to consider the request and hear from the community. Kudos to Land Properties for listening.

Bad Bet

Lucy and Andres Quintana gambled their ranch on Byron, their son, and lost. The couple put up their family ranch as bond for their son, who failed to show up for his 14-year prison sentence.

The Quintanas have been ordered to forfeit their ranch, more than a year after the initial bond hearing. Knowing the family, the court went to great lengths to avoid the forfeiture order, but time finally ran out.

Byron Quintana was convicted of first-degree assault in 1995 for beating Mike Shanahan, who was permanently disabled by the attack.


A group of Alamosa citizens has formed the Alamosa Uptown and River Association, devoted to revitalizing the downtown area. Working with the city’s comprehensive plan, the group has formed a downtown merchants association.

The work of AURA to date includes bylaws, articles of incorporation, and steering committees including design, promotion, membership, and economic development.

For information on AURA or on starting a similar group in your town, call Holly Felmlee at 589-3681.

Entz on Board

Lewis Entz, the San Luis Valley’s longtime state representative, was named to the Colorado Water Conservation board. Entz, a Republican, lost his seat on account of term limits, which prevented him from seeking re-election after the Valley was divided into two representative districts last year.

Entz, a rancher, will represent the Rio Grande drainage basin on the board.

Lynx Update

A fourth lynx has starved to death in the reintroduction program in the San Juan Mountains. That didn’t stop the Department of Wildlife from releasing four more cats near Creede.

More lynx, raised in the Yukon, are scheduled to be released in May, when prey is more plentiful in the mountains. The first of the cats were Canadian — the DOW imports the animals from different areas to ensure genetic diversity of the animals in Colorado.

Wildlife officials in Colorado and Alaska have been criticized for the animals’ deaths. Protesters say the plan was ill-conceived and led to the cats’ suffering.

Another Taylor Hearing

The U.S. District Court will have a hearing to determine whether to issue a restraining order to stop logging on the Taylor Ranch in Costilla County. The ranch is known locally as La Sierra.

The restraining order would be in effect until a decision is made regarding the county’s land use enforcement action against the Taylor family and the logging companies operating on the ranch.

Train Going Down?

A group wanting to resurrect the rail line between Creede and South Fork for tourists got some bad news this month. The Willow Creek watershed, the area the line is in, is listable as an EPA Superfund site. If it’s listed for cleanup, whoever owns the land will be responsible for part of the bill.

A spokesman for the EPA says its possible, but unlikely that the area will be a Superfund site, and much less likely if a local group improves the area.