Thursday, January 29, 2015

In the Forest: ‘It is all about caring for the land, and serving the people’

Restoring resiliency to the "Wildland Urban Interface" by thinning out dense forest, reducing fuels and collaboratively managing resources like the land, water, and providing for travel management planning are all part of the drill, says Erin Connelly, Forest and Grassland Supervisor for the Forest Service's Pike and San Isabel National Forest Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands, when she spoke to Woodland Park residents at the Ute Pass Cultural Center on Tuesday, Jan. 20.

"It is all about caring for the land, and serving the people." Connelly says.

Citing a recent study identifying the top five reasons visitors come to the forest, she notes:

1. They are here to view natural features.

2. Relax.

3. View wildlife.

4. Hiking or walking in the natural surroundings.

5. Driving to places within the forest.

Local residents in attendance challenged some aspects of the operation, however.

"Some of us think of you as the Forest Closers," said local resident Curt Grina. "It seems more areas are closed all the time. And much of the forest is cut off from us except for about a third of the year."

He asked Connelly and Pike National Forest District Ranger Oscar Martinez to identify how many miles of road had been closed and additionally how many roads in the forest are targeted for future closer.

Both Connelly and Martinez said they have to look at management with all stakeholders in mind. Concerns for water, and forest management that restores resilience to a diverse and multi-faceted forest landscape, while helping collaborative efforts in the private sector, and with interactions with all organizations is key to their success.

Upper Monument Creek Project

When asked this week about any specific areas of concern as it pertains to the threat of wildfire, Pikes Peak District Ranger Oscar Martinez tabbed the Upper Monument Creek landscape.

"We are just beginning a modelling project to take that landscape and look at how to fragment the way that fire moves there. Our intention is to manage the landscape so that we might be able to design treatments to put speed bumps in place should a major wildfire occur."

Carin Vadala, NEPA Planner for the Forest Service is the lead for the Upper Monument Creek Project, and says things are just beginning.

"The Front Range Roundtable identified this area as a high priority treatment area to reduce the risk of large severe fires and to increase the function of the watersheds. They have worked to garner funding through the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project which will help fund the work done on the forest. The estimated costs are approximately $10 million over a ten-year period or about $1 million a year to implement. The main objective is to create a forest structure that is varied across the landscape and is also resilient to disturbances. The timeline is not completely set because the district is currently working on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which will be released to the public for review later this year. Once the EIS is finalized it is anticipated that projects will continue for about 10 years," Vadala says.

According to a description in Forest Service reports, "The landscape is highly urbanized with the Colorado Springs metropolitan area dominating on the southeast border and the community of Woodland Park on the southwest. Two smaller communities, Monument and Palmer Lake, border the landscape to the northeast. The U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) is a significant presence on the landscape’s eastern boundary. The USAFA also maintains the private 655-acre Farish Recreation Area as an inholding within the landscape itself. The northern portion of the UMC landscape includes approximately one-quarter (4,407 acres) of the U.S. Forest Service’s Manitou Experimental Forest and 3,409 acres of designated Colorado Roadless Area. The 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire burned across approximately 11,000 acres at the landscape’s southern tip.

"The UMC Initiative builds on the work of the Front Range Roundtable, which has been working together since 2004 to dramatically increase forest management that reduces wildfire risks to communities and restores resilient ecological conditions in Front Range forests. The 67,000-acre UMC landscape is located within an area designated as a high priority for management by the Roundtable. Treatment within the landscape will be implemented under the auspices of the Front Range Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project (CFLRP) and Long Term Stewardship Contract, both of which are Roundtable priorities, according to and executive summary of the initial report.

"The UMC Collaborative used a series of workshops and field visits to identify effective strategies for restoring desired conditions to the UMC landscape. Using both spatial and non-spatial analyses, the Collaborative found that: three major forest types comprise 85% of the landscape; forests in older age classes are significantly underrepresented; and forest conditions are considerably more dense than they would have been historically, particularly in the drier Ponderosa Pine and mixed conifer systems. Analyses also revealed that these closed forest conditions place people, water and wildlife at significant risk from unnaturally large and damaging wildfires," the report says.

Based on these analyses, it recommends over the next 7-10 years, the USFS use a combination of mechanical, manual and prescribed fire treatments to manage conditions on approximately 18,000 acres within the UMC landscape.

"First, treatments must be designed and implemented at a meaningful scale, ensuring that they are able to effect a landscape-scale change in conditions and processes. Second, treatments should be strategically scheduled and located so that they maximize benefits to both people and nature. Finally, treatments must be carefully designed, using the best available science for individual forest systems and ensuring that the purpose of treatments is clear," the report said.

You can also find more information about the project at the following webpage.


1. Erin Connelly, Forest and Grassland Supervisor for the Forest Service’s Pike and San Isabel National Forest Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands, spoke to Woodland Park residents at the Ute Pass Cultural Center on Tuesday, Jan. 20, about policies and upcoming issues.

2. Oscar Martinez, Pikes Peak District Ranger, outlines initiatives and addressed questions by locals at the meeting Tuesday.

3. Map outlining the scope of the upper Monument Creek project.

4. Mount Herman Road is still closed but work is expected to be completed soon, weather permitting.

Photos by Rob Carrigan, Map courtesy of Pike National Forest District

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Duke's impact and connections to the homeland

Rooster Cogburn (played by John Wayne) confronts the four outlaws across the field.
Ned Pepper (played by Robert Duvall): What's your intention? Do you think one on four is a dogfall?
Rooster Cogburn: I mean to kill you in one minute, Ned. Or see you hanged in Fort Smith at Judge Parker's convenience. Which'll it be?
Ned Pepper: I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man.
Rooster Cogburn: Fill your hand, you son of a ...! 

__ From the 1969 version of True Grit, Directed by Henry Hathaway, Written by Margueritte Roberts, based on the novel by Charles Portis.

The big star was connected to area in other ways.

By Rob Carrigan,

I just finished Scott Eyman's 2014 bestseller "John Wayne: The Life and Legend" and I am struck by how much impact a figure from the silver screen can have on a person— namely me.
Having grown up in southwestern Colorado, where the actor was almost woven into the fabric of the area, I feel connected, like he was a not-too-distant relative, (maybe  great-granddad or something).
Part of it, has to do with location.
Monument Valley, location for multiple John Ford westerns that molded Duke Morrison from a "B"movie crew member into the larger-than-life John Wayne, and sets him up as an American icon, straddled the Utah and Arizona border. Other films were created near Mexican Hat and it all, was not so terribly far from my boyhood home in Dolores, Colorado. If you followed the streamflows back uphill, to locations of the "Sons of Katie Elder," "True Grit" and other films, it meandered its way up the Dolores River, over Lizard Head Pass and high into the San Juan Mountains of Ridgway, Ouray, over Dallas Divide and into Montrose, where I was born.
Deb's Meadow, near the summit of Owl Creek Pass, with Chimney Peak and Courthouse Mountain featured in background, is where the film scene above took place. Duke used a trick similar to the one he learned for opening scenes of "The Searchers" of Monument Valley fame, in which a customized, sawed-off Winchester Model 1892, could be twirled to cock under his arm with just one hand.
"For his close-up, with reins between his teeth, twirling and cocking one-handed as he bore down on the outlaws, Wayne was not sitting on a horse, but on a saddle mounted on a camera car," wrote Eyman, in his recent book.
The hanging scene early in the movie was filmed in the Ridgway Town Park and Chin Lee's Place was on Clinton Street there. A little bit further up in Ouray, at the Court House, some of the court scenes were in the real thing there. The Ross Ranch, where the aging Wayne did his own horse jump for the freeze frame at the end of the movie, is out, off Highway 62, on the Last Dollar Road.
The truth of the mater was, that the big star was connected to area in other ways.
Today, thanks to the Pauls Family Work, large areas of the forest are accessible, and even that has ties back to Wayne.
Glen Pauls said he first came to the area with his family in the 1970s. After decades of planning, purchasing land, and dreaming, Glenn Pauls, his wife Dianne, and the Pauls family have transferred the first phase of the Ophir Mining Roads Public Access Preservation Project to the United States Forest Service. This transfer includes 109 acres and three building sites in the Water Fall Canyon area. These lands can never be developed and can never be closed to public motorized access.
"From there we came back nearly every year to motorcycle and jeep the trails, and we began to buy land. I now have approximately 1200 acres, almost all, of the mining claims in and around the Ophir Valley my parents and I have purchased since the mid 80s," Glen Pauls described how their efforts took shape.
"It started when I was told of a deal by realtor Bob Forsberg, where I could buy the entire holdings of John Wayne (the actor) and Donald Koll, who had planned to build a silver mine or ski area. The Hunt brothers and Telski dashed their dreams, and we bought them out. The path to preservation was conceived," he said.
Self professed "cowboy hippie" lawyer Dick Unruh, who still calls Telluride home, represented John Wayne and Ed Smart in a land transaction related to East Ophir when he came to the area in 1972.
In 1972, according to Unruh, pre-ski area, only about 400 people lived in Telluride.
And and though I have not been able to verify or prove it, I believe I ran into the Duke up there one year at the annual Fourth of July celebration, as military jets from Pete Field preformed a flyover worthy of the star's enthusiastic military support, and a better-than-average parade snaked down the main street. I think I probably have seen all of his movies, most before his death on June 11, in 1979.
Eyeman says John Wayne became not only Hollywood's most famous and successful actors, but in the process became a symbol of America itself — for better and worse.
It has made me wonder about a great number of possible ties of my home ground over the years and speculate about connections to the early film industry. For example, the most-storied bar there being known as the Hollywood, and the three-storied Del Rio Hotel finished in the early 1930s reportedly being frequented by Clara Bow and perhaps others, but I am also intrigued by the name itself, as Dolores Del Rio was one of the top starlets of the 1920s. With director John Ford (and his biggest star John Wayne) doing a lot of work in Monument Valley in the 1930s it doesn't seem to be out of the realm of possibility. 
At Pacific View Memorial Park, in Newport Beach, California, a stone was placed years after Duke's death in 1979, on his grave and carrying a quote by the legend himself.
"Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes to us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday."

Top: John Wayne in 'True Grit' from 1969.

Bottom: John Wayne, Dolores Del Rio, and John Ford, at dinner meeting in Monument Valley.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Write back where I came from

Write back where I came from
The light is on in the hall
I left the woods and tree stumps
Left the streets and crawl

Folks, they think they know me
They know nothing at all
I was different then and now 
Put all on paper, tack it to the wall

"Sensitive"  they called it.
So angry, I'd start a brawl
Snatches of conversation
Stories of the maul.

Stories were my salvation
For tell-tale, I had the call
Sensed things were to happen
Put it all on paper, tack it to the wall

Write back where I came from
Paint a pictures big and small
Memories true and false
Lady was beauty, fact, she was a doll

"Sensitive" they called it.
The light is on in  the hall
Capture all of their spirits
Put it all on paper, tack it to wall

___ Rob Carrigan

Building was once Gwillimville School

With much fanfare, the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce moved into the Highway 105 location in 1985, but the building itself has quite a storied history. It's been a bit transient.
According to a letter dated March 15, 1985, from long-time Monument historian Lucille Lavelett, the building has been bopping around Monument since perhaps as early as 1869.
"The C.E. (Christian Education) Building was once a one-room Gwillimville School. Gwillimville was once a small, thriving community five miles east of Monument on Highway 105. It was founded by Gwillim R. Gwillim in 1869."
Lavelett relates the following story:
"During a period of a few years, a dozen or more families had come from Wales and several from England, and settled in the community. Church services were held in the one-room Gwillimville School until the Gwillimville Church was built in 1893. This Church was built on the northwest corner of (Highway) 105 and Highway 83," wrote Lavelett.
"On Aug. 6, 1919, Monument School consolidated with three smaller districts which were Pring, three miles south of Monument, Husted, six miles south (Husted is now part of the United States Air Force Academy), and Stout, which was east of Husted. The following year, Gwillimville joined the new district (1920)," she wrote.
"It was in the late 1920s or early 1930s, Rev. R.J. Hassted, minister of the Presbyterian Church, and Earl Thompson moved the little white school into Monument and put it south of the Presbyterian Church to be used as a Sunday School and community services. To help the church, the Monument Homemakers Club in 1938, and 1939, paid for having ceiling and walls re-plastered and painted, built a new flue in the west end, bought a large coal circulator heater to heat the building and put linoleum in the kitchen area. The east end had a cook stove, sink and cupboards. Cook stove did not give enough heat to warm the building, so the new flue was built," Lavelett said.
"In the late 1940s, the church built the new kitchen and Sunday School room on the north side of the building. Also a rest room. The town, at that time, had natural gas, so a gas heater was installed," she said.
At the time of the 1985 move to its present location, Lavelett noted that this was third move for the old Gwillimville School.
"When it was built, its home was about one and a half miles north of (Highway) 105 where the children had to walk through a cattle pasture. Children were afraid of the cattle, so it was move close to 105. Moved then to Monument, and in 1985 to home of the Chamber of Commerce," according to historian Lavelett.
Then County Commissioner Frank Klotz and Chamber President Sandy Smith turned a spade-full of dirt in honor of the new building in February, and actual move took place in April of that year, reported the forerunner of the Tribune at the time. The chamber had been organized nine years prior to spearhead efforts to attract business and industry to the Tri-Lakes area.
The Chamber owns the building itself but not the land on which it is located (property of the Colorado Department of Transportation), and will be looking for a suitable tenant for their former location on Highway 105.
"I love this building," says current Chamber Executive Director Terri Hayes, "But we are just out of space."

Chamber to re-locate to former town hall

Beginning in February, the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce will be relocated to 166 Second Street in Monument, in what was once the town hall, and recently served as Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District's administration building. The move, from the Chamber's first permanent office on Highway 105 just south of the Village Inn where they have been located since 1985, will give the organization more room and access to events.
"We are just out of space," said Tri-Lakes Chamber Executive Director Terri Hayes. "The new space is about four times as large as we currently have. It gives us storage room. We can bring in more volunteers to help us. We have really grown in the last few years and this will allow us to actually have a front desk to greet visitors and conduct meetings without them conflicting with our efforts as a visitor's center."
The arrangement, Hayes says, puts the organization nearby for many of their major events, including the July Fourth Street Fair, Hop Fest, the Labor Day Kinetic Energy Race, and this year's fishing derby.
Town officials see benefits as well, and the arrangement is free of rent.
"It keeps the building from being empty and several groups meet there on a regular basis, so it is important to have some type of 'presence' downtown. The Chamber is perfect, because they work regionally for all of us and they will bring people downtown that might otherwise have never gone off of (Highway) 105," says Pamela K. Smith, Monument Town Manager
Smith says there are a number of benefits to town and citizens.
"Having an active 'business' that drives events and tourists to the downtown area is a win/win for all."
The specifics of the arrangement according to Smith are:
"It is an annual lease that can be broken by either party with a 90-day notice. The Chamber will keep up the maintenance and the Town is responsible for any Capital repairs."
She said the details of the arrangement were mainly worked out by Mayor Dominguez and Terri Hayes from the Chamber.
As far as a time line:
"We hope to have everything remodeled and the building occupied no later than Feb. 1. The Town's Community Relations Specialist, Madeline VanDenHoek will be officed in the building as well, since she works closely with the Chamber on events and with Downtown Merchants. It also allows for an additional meeting space in the Downtown area. It is an initial five-year lease renewable annually, but I think it is an arrangement that will last a long time," she said.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Spirit of George Kobolt lives on in Tribune

"Howdy and good morning," headlined the top of the page for the Palmer Lake - Monument News for the Jan. 15, 1965 edition of the paper. It was the second issue.
George Kobolt ran a photo of himself, and a caption that said, "Don't shoot this man, if you see him 'casing the joint' — It's Editor Geo. Kobolt, in a light blue 1962 or a green 1963 Chevrolet (Wagon) and he is probably trying to show a merchant how advertising doesn't cost — It pays!"
Years later, I would listen to ghost stories related of how old Geo. could be heard rattling around sometimes at night at what once was the reinforced basement of the former printing plant at 319 Perry Street in Castle Rock. The stories were most frequently focused on the area that was once under the presses known as the 'morgue' because it was where all the dead papers went.
"To answer the questions that arose from my visit to the Palmer Lake-Monument Post Offices last Friday morning, and advertising calls made Monday by our Bob Shchultz — We are concerned about the success of the new paper," Kobolt wrote.
"Because the Columbine Herald didn't make it, and another paper is having its troubles. Yes, I am familiar with both instances for we printed for another gentleman, the Columbine Herald. In those days, we were platen press printers and in my estimation, no newspapers could be printed economically in small quantities with that method. So, I held off until we purchased our present lithographic press."
Kobolt was proud of the new equipment, and at the same time cautious and distant, about a competitive product sometimes printed in the Tri-Lakes market at the time.
"It is the largest press of its type between Denver and Colorado Springs — even Littleton. The other paper we print when it is brought to us to print. We are the only commercial printers for it, not editors or business managers — wonderful people endeavoring to put it out for the area."
He answered a question about affiliations with other nearby papers at the time. "Are you Geo. Kobolt, connected in any way with either of the Colorado Springs papers?"
"No. I am a printer. Independent as a married man can be, with a 24-year-old married daughter and a 16-year-old son. I have no connections with the papers there — I'm just a little 'feller' competing in a world of tycoons," he answered and expounded upon the things his new paper was not trying to do.
"You will see ads from here and there. That is the choice of the businessmen to make. Please, do not take it as an indication that editor Geo. is trying to change your buying practices — Buy at home.
He noted the presence then of such fine establishments as Higby Mercantile, Glenside Store, McCall Mercantile, Churches including Little Log Church, St. Peter Catholic, Monument Community Presbyterian and others.
In closing, Geo. Kobolt had this to say about the new paper more than a half century  ago.
"This little Palmer Lake-Monument News is not out to cover the world — just the area of our local interest."
The Palmer Lake - Monument News has maintained that strategy for those 51 plus years and eventually became, over time and different editors and publishers, the Tri-Lake Tribune. The spirit of Geo. Kobalt lives on in the Tribune. Watch for details as we gear up to continue our tradition of more than half a century of local publishing history, and the businesses, sources, readers, advertisers, and friends who helped make it possible in coming editions.  And we will offer clues on where we are going for our next 200 years.