Geologic Mischief

Letter from Robert Mcphee

November edition – December 1994 – Colorado Central Magazine


Your November issue was especially interesting to me. Jeanne Englert’s book review on roadside geology, the Climax Mine history, Frémont’s fourth expedition book review, the legislative race between Ken Chlouber and Curtis Imrie, and the religious pyramid controversy in Crestone — they all provided the kind of information that urban residents like myself find helpful in keeping up with you rural sophisticates.

Roadside geology reminds me of thoughts I repeatedly had when construction work took me afield in the fifties and sixties. Driving an empty pickup, I worried about its helplessness on icy roads. Thus would I stop on the way over a pass and put a dozen or so heavy rocks in the bed. Upon reaching the far side on a dry day, I would stop and unload the rocks, wondering always what questions and answers this strange unconformity would provide geologists a million years hence.

In an earlier issue you touched upon the chronic problem of affordable housing for workers in ski resorts. To me this is a classic example of miscreant county commissioners providing exclusive care for land owners while ignoring the basic needs of rank-and-file citizens. Obviously all developments should have been required to furnish some employee housing — either as part of the development or with funds to ultimately provide centralized housing near the resort.

Worse yet, truly enlightened commissioners could have made a strong argument that if the Forest Service can provide land for profit-making ski hills, it could also set aside some of its less pristine lands adjacent to the valley for much-needed housing.

Such public land would be necessary because most of the scarce private land in the valley would be needed to maximize the tax base required by the county to finance exploding service demands.

This would also avoid a repetition of the horror that occurred in the Eagle River Valley when one of the most beautiful pieces of open space in the state (the expansive irrigated pastures and hay meadows in the river bottom at the confluence of Lake Creek and the Eagle River) was hideously violated with development of a huge mobile-home park.

End of sermon.

Meanwhile my sincere best wishes to you with the particularly fond hopes that Colorado Central Magazine continues as a successful publishing venture. It fills a need; it is entertaining.

Robert McPhee, Denver

Former commissioner,

Colorado Land Board