Restoring the Alamosa River

Article by Hal Clifford

Environment – December 2003 – Colorado Central Magazine

THE SAN LUIS VALLEY is a high desert with table-flat farmland surrounded by mountains. It’s a slice of Colorado that feels like New Mexico.

Just over a decade ago, the Valley made national headlines when cyanide holding ponds at the Summitville gold mine failed spectacularly and poisoned the Alamosa River, which runs through the village of Capulin. The 1990 spill killed everything living in a 17-mile stretch of the river — and turned a national media spotlight on the dangers of modern mining.

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The Oxymoronic Outdoor Products Industry

Essay by Hal Clifford

Outdoor Recreation – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

CALL ME NAIVE, but I thought the outdoor experience was about being outdoors. If I’m to judge by the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, held in mid-August in Salt Lake City, it’s about the idea of the outdoors.

Salt Lake’s tornado notwithstanding, it was a huge event. By my guess about 400 retailers set up elaborate booths in the Salt Palace Convention Center. One account said 18,000 people — wholesalers and retailers — were expected. I was there on my publisher’s expense account to sign a book, but I snuck away to spend some time wandering the aisles. I wanted to know: What, exactly, are several hundred retailers trying to sell to us schmucks who consume the products of the outdoor industry (a fascinating term, if you think about it)?

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