Update: Vision of a Salida-to-Leadville Trail Along the Old Stage Road and Midland Railroad

By Alan Robinson

Readers of this magazine may recall the September 2008 article on “The Stage Road from Canon City to Leadville.” There I summarized the history of that 1870s passenger, mail and freight route, and 1880 construction of the long-abandoned Colorado Midland Railroad (CMRR) through Chaffee and Lake Counties. I also asked rhetorically if in today’s environment, where preservation of our area’s cultural heritage is increasingly recognized as important for both social and economic reasons, there might be an opportunity to develop a long-distance public heritage trail along those routes. The initial vision was to connect Buena Vista and southern Lake County with a slow-speed pathway of about 30 miles – some sections for vehicle travel, some for hikers, cyclists and horseback riders – which would celebrate the stories of those two routes, stimulate preservation of their deteriorating physical features, interpret their history to strengthen the public’s appreciation of their value, and in some cases, make sections now inaccessible open to public use.

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Surveying Chaffee County’s Historic Resources

By Fay Golson for The Chaffee County Heritage Area Advisory Board

Driving along the Collegiate Peaks Scenic and Historic Byway (Salida to Poncha Springs and Buena Vista to Granite), buildings and structures come into view that have many stories to tell. Some of these buildings and structures are not visible from the Byway but instead are nestled within the towns.

In 2010, on behalf of the Chaffee County Heritage Area Advisory Board (CCHAAB), the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA) received a Colorado State Historic Fund Grant (SHF) to have 65 properties in Chaffee County included in a Historic Resources Survey. GARNA selected Tom and Laurie Simmons of Front Range Research Associates (FRRA) to perform this work. After two years of work by volunteers, Colorado Mountain College students, the CCHAAB and the FRRA, the project is now complete. Documents will soon be available to the public at the Salida Regional Library and the Buena Vista Public Library.

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Guidestone – New Ways of Thinking About Agriculture in Colorado – Part One

by Mike Rosso

The Upper Arkansas Valley is entering the 21st century with innovative farming and sustainable land use groups dedicated to the local foods movement and to maintaining and enhancing the agricultural heritage of the area.

One of the major players in the new agricultural movement is Guidestone and its Central Colorado land-link initiative. Formed three years ago with the primary purpose of fostering a local food system by assisting new farmers to find access to farmland, the group is the brainchild of David Lynch, who ran a similar program on the Front Range. It was then known as Guidestone Farms, which was a fully diversified community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm that served over 350 families in northern Colorado.

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Central Colorado Gems: Chaffee County’s Heritage Area and Collegiate Peaks Scenic Byway

by Alan Robinson- Chaffee County Heritage Area Advisory Board member

Concern for preserving “heritage resources” (the collective natural, cultural, historic and scenic features which define an area’s sense of place) in Chaffee County took a front seat in 2004 when its county commissioners ambitiously declared the whole county a heritage area. They also appointed an 11-member Advisory Board representing public land managers, historical societies, towns, ranchers, local nature associations and the general public, and charged us not only with identifying heritage, but with educating our fellow citizens about its value in social, ecological and economic terms, and with planning how heritage can be managed to preserve and perpetuate those values. Board members volunteer their services but, recognizing future administrative and technical services, the commissioners also appointed non-profit Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA, www.garna.org) and its director as the board’s executive arm.

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