Locked out in the New West

Column by Hal Walter

Changing Times – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

AFTER DRIVING PAST without so much as a wave, the man in the pickup stopped at the gate and was standing in the road waiting.

“How did you get in here?” he asked.

I pointed to the gate and told him that I had climbed over it to go running on the subdivision roads.

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Other Sawatch Peaks have their legends

Sidebar by Ed Quillen

Local Lore – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

ANGELIC MOUNT SHAVANO isn’t the only peak in the Sawatch Range with a legend.

At the south end of the range near Marshall Pass is Mount Ouray, which just misses 14er status; it’s 13,971 feet high. On its east side is an immense glacial cirque or cwm (pronounced koom; it comes from Welsh and it can be a handy word in a Scrabble game).

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Tracing the source of the Angel legend

Sidebar by Martha Quillen

Local Lore – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

THE LEGEND of the Angel of Shavano varies considerably, depending upon who’s doing the telling, but Harrington’s version is fairly faithful to a fable created by Corinne Harpending in the 1920s, and recirculated ever since.

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The legend of the Angel of Shavano

Article by Eleanor Perry Harrington

Local Lore – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

HIGH ABOVE THE Upper Arkansas Valley on Mt. Shavano lies an angel sketched in snow. Each spring as the warm sun melts the snow surrounding her, the angel patiently waits. Finally, the snow in her deep crevices stands out sharply on the mountainside reminding the people below that once again she has come to provide moisture for their crops and stock when the streams and rivers run low.

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The downsides of parking the monument

Essay by John Mattingly

Sand Dunes – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

MY HOME AND FARM are located about eight miles from the northwest boundary of the new Sand Dunes National Park and Wildlife Refuge. I opposed expansion of the Sand Dunes National Monument to a National Park, having a bias in favor of National Monuments. Monuments tend to be smaller, less crowded, primitive with services, and focused on a single natural feature. Parks are pretty much the opposite. It’s a personal preference: I would rather see more Monuments than existing Monuments supersized to Parks.

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New roads to old lands?

Sidebar by Marcia Darnell

Sand Dunes – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

The issue of roads is a hot topic in the West, especially as it pertains to federal lands. Speculation as to whether — and where — new access points will be made to the Dunes has been on the table since the first public meeting about converting the monument to a national park.

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And now, Great Sand Dunes National Park

Article by Marcia Darnell

Land Use – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

WELL, IT’S OFFICIAL. The San Luis Valley is home to the nation’s 58th national park. The Great Sand Dunes National Monument and Preserve is no more. All hail the Great Sand Dunes National Park!

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Democracy running wild

Column by George Sibley

Politics – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

ELECTION NIGHT, I was sitting at home going back and forth between the disaster area of book piles and paper piles I call my office, and the bedroom where we keep the television (out of the closet but not out of the bedroom), and as the national voting picture was unfolding, I was just getting more and more depressed.

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The problem with those sacred places

Essay by Ed Quillen

Geography – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

THE ANNUAL Headwaters Conference at Western State College in Gunnison did what it was supposed to do this time around — make me think about things I don’t normally think about. I’m pretty good at getting bogged down in daily minutia, from firewood splitting to computer maintenance, and thus seldom step back to look at the bigger picture. When it comes to “not seeing the forest for the trees,” I suppose I prefer to look at the individual trees and rate their suitability as cordwood, rather than ponder biodiversity, ecosystems, endangered species, global warming, or other major matters.

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Loving the terrarium

Letter from John Mattingly

Politics – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

Martha:

I read your Letter from the Editors last night on my way to sleep. It kept me awake. Really liked the piece, the twist at the end, and especially the reference to cheerleading choruses.

Other insights were on target as well. The one about how we are awash in information systems and yet chose the most superficial debris on the beach is so, so true. OK, OK, I can only confirm that I agree with you by reading your own piece back to you, which you have already read.

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Now a peacemaker?

Letter from Slim Wolfe

Colorado Central – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

Editors:

Hear Hear! John Mattingly for the most apt bit of commentary (November’s edition). It boggles the mind how many folks seem to think Kerry is intelligent and has a program, or that the debates were somehow heartening (to use Martha’s word), but given the past four years it comes as little surprise that we’ve forgotten what intelligence looks like.

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Kick out the Bay State

Letter from Clay Warren

Politics – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

Editors,

Ah reckon thet hit was the doe-eyed, near tears, expressions of sadness on the faces of some o’ mah friends what got me to thinkin’ up what I figure is simply another modest proposal, which ah will make below. Defeat is never a pretty thing, but ah suppose whut really hammered hit home was thet this time G.W.(er 43 if yuh prefer) got three million more votes than the hollow man.

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Honest science will be none the worse off

Letter from Ide Trotter

Science – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine –

To the Editor:

It is hard to know where to start in my comments about George Sibley’s “Time for a Truce?” in the November Colorado Central. So I’ll start in the middle and work toward the edges.

He quotes from Thomas Kuhn’s “Structure of Scientific Revolutions,” the most cited work of the 20th Century, in an effort to support his questionable thesis that the scientific revolution has not been consummated. The idea that science has not triumphed must have come as a considerable surprise to most of your readers

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Orders to kill, not keep

Letter from Chris Dickey

Water – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

Editors:

Just browsing through the November magazine that came in the mail today and found a small error. In your “observations” section on page 9 you take a quote from my little rag over on this side of the hill — the Gunnison Country Times — which made me go back and dig through the files.

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Changes on the High Plains

Letter from Harvey Gardiner

Colorado – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

Editors,

Enclosed is $20 for another year. In the October issue you ran the story “Colorado As It Used To Be?” by Allen Best. Part of the idea he communicated is that the high plains have changed very little.

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Where to find the biggest one

Brief by Central Staff

Transportation – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

In some circles, driving the biggest rig provides a superior status. And if you drive in those circles, a Hummer won’t do the job any more — it’s no longer the biggest.

That honor now goes to the Navistar International 7300 CXT, which is nine feet tall, eight feet wide, and 21½ feet long. It seats five, can carry six tons, and costs $95,000 for the basic stripped-down model without leather seats or a DVD player.

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WACs at Camp Hale were hardly a secret

Brief by Central Staff

Local History – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

Camp Hale, the World War II Army base north of Leadville that trained the ski troops of the famous 10th Mountain Division, occupies a secure place in the history books.

And recently, there was a breathless announcement that there was more to the base’s history — specifically, 200 women served there during the war, among the 16,000 men.

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Regional Roundup

Brief by Martha Quillen

Regional News – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

Trail Trials

In November, Gunnison County decided to continue its six-year legal battle over a local trail, which leads to the old Yule Marble Quarry. According to a story in the Gunnison Country Times, “those who’ve visited the site say it’s a mystical place, with giant piles of marble stacked everywhere and massive, square holes carved deep into the mountainside.”

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Recent encounters at the Yellow House of Maysville

Brief by Reggie Morton

Local lore – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

While no real rival to Lynda La Rocca’s address in the “Stupid Zone,” we on U.S. 50, a.k.a. Th’ Backbone o’ ‘Murica, see our share of interesting droppers-by. My Dear Wife, the urbanite, tells me that this is nothing special, but as someone who has never before lived on a thoroughfare big enough to have painted lines, I’m continually amazed by our drop-in guests.

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Why use 2 wheels when you can break teeth with just 1?

Brief by Central Staff

Recreation – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

We’ve been around long enough to remember our surprise the first time we saw a bicycle on a back-country trail; today, of course, mountain-biking is a popular pursuit and the single-track trails of Central Colorado are a significant tourist attraction.

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One town decides to limit art galleries

Brief by Central Staff

Arts – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

Resort towns have trouble keeping their commerce balanced. For many years, residents complained that there were too many T-shirt and souvenir shops sitting in a given downtown.

More recently, the complaints have been aimed at real-estate offices in what had been retail space — it gets harder and harder to shop downtown for everyday items like toothpaste and shoe laces, while there’s an abundance of storefronts offering scenic and partially forested 35-acre lots that adjoin public land.

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Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

Pumpkin Fish

A truck overturned and dumped a lot of pumpkins into the Conejos River. No one was hurt, and the colorful Halloween veggies floated downstream, making a unique holiday display. One local wit has proposed making the “pumpkin regatta” an annual fundraiser.

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Sweet Home rhodochrosite mine ends production

Brief by Central Staff

Mining – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

One of Colorado’s few remaining hard-rock mines has closed its portal and gone out of production. The Sweet Home, which sat above Alma, started as a silver mine in 1873, but is best known for its production of rhodochrosite, a red gemstone.

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Turntable Restaurant in Minturn gets a reprieve

Brief by Central Staff

Transportation – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

Even though the rails remain in place, the trains don’t run through here any more, and many railroad structures were demolished after the Union Pacific took over the Denver & Rio Grande Western’s route in 1996.

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Lewis and Clark and the short view of Western history

Essay by Colin Calloway

History – December 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

IF AMERICAN HISTORY west of the Mississippi begins with Lewis and Clark, then the history of the United States seems pretty simple: “Indians owned the West, and then they lost it.”

History is never so simple. That some of the people Lewis and Clark met had “never seen a white man” did not mean they had not seen change.

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