Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Green Golf?

The Nature Conservancy is weighing the feasibility of maintaining a golf course on its new 100,00-acre acquisition in the Valley. Discussions with the public have revolved around the concept of “green golf,” an environmentally friendly way to maintain golf courses. Other factors in the debate include the course’s financial drain, its role in the community, and its lure for eco-tourists. The governing board of the Conservancy has final say in the fate of the Zapata golf course.

Summitville Redux

Battle Mountain Gold is being slapped by the state’s Water Quality Control Division for allowing pollutants into Rito Seco. The agency issued a cease and desist order to the mine, which has not operated since 1997.

The pollutants flowing into the creek include manganese and sulfate. Battle Mountain Gold is four miles northeast of San Luis. Company managers claim to have self-reported the problems, which they say pose no risk to the lives of the local people, plants or animals.

Owing Water Woes

The San Luis Valley, usually as arid as the Mojave, has been awash in water this summer. Rain fell almost every day from late July to Labor Day weekend. You’d think this would be a good thing.

Wrong! The barley crop is wet, the chili crop is virtually nonexistent, and worst of all, we owe a riverful of water to New Mexico. By the terms of the Rio Grande Compact, the more water we get, the more we owe. Life ain’t easy in rural Colorado.

Train Debate

The idea of reviving the rails between South Fork and Creede has people divided, mostly along residential lines. People in South Fork, for the most part, love the idea of housing and feeding day-trippers to Creede. Many Creede people hate the idea, pointing to the pollution, crowds, and lack of ambiance the train may bring.

Opinions Wanted

The town of Antonito will poll its citizens on the issue of locating a private prison in town. The usual issues — jobs and economic benefits vs. crowding and tax giveaways — will boil down to a yes-or-no question on a postcard.