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Friday, March 29, 2013

Wagner Continued from page 3 “What’s clear is the jury found him not guilty of animal cruelty to his entire herd,” Zettler said. Wagner spoke during the sentencing hearing, reiterating his stance that he is a good cattle ranch operator. He said he had been forced to go through some of the worst winter weather conditions in Park County without the financial support of his business partner, who failed on his obligation to provide operating capital. Speaking about the one animal on which the jury found Wagner guilty of animal cruelty, Wagner said he knew about that cow, and that she died from exposure and not starvation like the prosecution presented. “I am good at what I do despite the image that these people are trying to create,” he said. Other people in the courtroom, including Wagner’s wife, Veyon, spoke on behalf of the defendant. Veyon Wagner told Green about her husband’s background as a rancher. He was

Re-2 Continued from page 3 •a salary freeze for all employees; •the elimination of a second-grade teacher; •the elimination of a fourth- or fifth-grade position, with a class of fourthand fifth-grade students consolidated; •the elimination of the only music/art position at the elementary school, with other teachers asked to incorporate some part of the music/art curriculum into their curriculum; •the elimination of a principal position, with duties for the elementary, middle and high schools handled by one principal; •the elimination of a counselor position; •the elimination of an alternative education position, which was previously funded by a state grant to address at-risk students. Minnis added that the board would consider fees for sports events, entertainment events, and student parking as ways to increase revenue. There was a bit of good news, according to Minnis. The Lake George and Guffey charter schools have agreed to pick up an annual

Park County Republican and Fairplay Flume born into a ranching family, and after serving in the military, he attended Colorado State University and studied agriculture. “To say that Vern is an unfit operator is way beyond the truth,” she said. “Park County is looking at a great cattleman.” Park County Sheriff Fred Wegener spoke before the sentencing, saying that ranching has changed in Park County as the population has grown. “Vern failed when his ranching policy didn’t change, but the times did,” he said. Scot Dutcher, the chief of the Bureau of Animal Protection Division of the Colorado Department of Agriculture, spoke and asked Green to sentence Wagner to the harshest penalty possible. He said he had been trying to get Wagner to improve his ranching practices for 10 years. He called the treatment of Wagner’s cattle one of the “most egregious” mistreatments of animals that he’s seen in his life. Fairplay resident Marie Chisholm spoke at the hearing and said that she felt the case against Wagner was wrong.

$28,000 water monitoring tab imposed by the state. Of the more than 50 people who attended the meeting, 14 individuals spoke, each against the proposed cuts. Of most concern was the proposed elimination of the music/art teacher and the counselor. Some of those who spoke became emotional, and most threatened to withdraw their children from the school system if those cuts were made. Parent Gretchen Panicucci predicted a “mass exodus.” Aimee Warner suggested that this is a bad time in American schools to reduce counselor availability in light of the mental health issues already troubling those schools. Some of those speaking offered solutions. English teacher Leslie Faust suggested that the community needed a paradigm shift, but Maurine Stewart put it in plain English: She said there needed to be an increase in taxes. Among Carol McDevitt’s idea was that classrooms could be named and sponsored. Parent Kathy Jones spoke of reimbursements students could receive for high marks in online courses. She said she would gladly have the school keep the money.

“No one, not any rancher, would let a cow die if he could help it,” she said. Bankruptcy A March 21 foreclosure auction of Vern Wagner’s house, ranch land and personal property, was halted when Wagner filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in federal court in Denver on the morning of March 21. Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves a liquidation of assets. The bankruptcy filing halted the foreclosure auction, which was to be conducted by the Park County Sheriff’s Office. County Attorney Lee Phillips told The Flume that the foreclosure auction has been put on hold until the bankruptcy case is resolved.

Public Defender Daniel Zettler, who represented Vern Wagner, said it was clear that the jury didn’t believe Wagner was guilty of neglecting his entire herd. Wagner was found guilty on one count of animal cruelty. (Flume file photo)

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Summer in the Park

Summer events highlights BAILEY CAR SHOW, MAY 12 – BAILEY The first annual Bailey Car Show will be held on Main Street in downtown Bailey from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration is $15 and is at 9 a.m. Goody bags will be provided for the first 30 cars. The car show is open to all cars, and there will be one category for all pre-1950 cars, and then cars younger than that will have categories by decade (1951-1960, 19611970, etc.). For more information, see the Platte Canyon Area Chamber of Commerce website at http://www. bailey-colorado.org/ or contact 303838-1401 or 303-816-0760. RHUBARB FESTIVAL, JUNE 9 – PINE GROVE The 25th Annual Pine Grove Rhubarb Festival will feature its signature breakfast of pancakes with rhubarb sauce, music, a parade, duck races, local crafts and merchant booths, and fun activities for children. Also, the rhubarb bake-off will culminate with the winning cook being named rhubarb king or queen for participation in the parade.

RHUBARB KING Denver resident and 2011 Rhubarb King Tom Bost, left, rides with Bob Moses of Littleton, who is giving out candy to the kids, in the June 11, 2011, Rhubarb Festival Parade. Bost won first prize in the rhubarb baking contest and Moses came in second. (Photo by Laurie Allen/ The Flume)

The event is sponsored by the Pine/ Elk Creek Improvement Association. For information, see www.pecia.org or call 303-838-6338.

The festival is located six-plus miles down Pine Valley Road (County Road 126) from where it intersects with U.S. 285 at Pine Junction. (See map, Page 32.) THE BAILEY HUNDO, JUNE 16 – BAILEY The third annual 100-mile endurance mountain bike race will have 250 riders this year, the same as last year, due to a cap on participants by the U.S. Forest Service. Last year the Hundo raised about $25,000, with much of it going to Kids on Bikes, Trips for Kids, the Colorado High School Cycling League and the Colorado Mountain Biking Association. The route is a tough one that starts in Bailey and has 45 miles of singletrack. It goes through the Buffalo Creek Trail system and along the Colorado Trail to the South Platte to Deckers up Stony Creek Pass to Wellington Lake to a new festival-like finish area in a private meadow, says the Hundo website at bailey100.com. This year the Hundo is asking for $250 as the minimum raised to race, with 10 percent up front. That’s up

AT THE START Racers line up at a chilly start to the 2011 Bailey Hundo on June 18. The race got under way shortly after 6 a.m. (Photo by Mike Potter/ The Flume) 8 • SUMMER IN THE PARK 2012

Ancient trees stand among South Park’s treasures WINDY RIDGE At Windy Ridge, high above Alma, this lonely leaning bristlecone pine tree is perhaps the most photographed one in Colorado. (Photo by Bernie Nagy/The Flume)

Some trees go back 2,500 years By Linda Nagy South Park is fortunate to have two ancient species of trees that live to be 1,000 to 2,500 years old: the bristlecone pine and the limber pine. Bristlecone pine “The county supports the highest quality bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata) forests ever documented in the world... ,” says a Colorado Heritage Biodiversity study done in Park County in 2000-2001. The Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine is part of a family of trees considered to be the oldest living things on earth. One tree of the Great Basin bristlecone variety growing in the White Mountains of California is known as “Methuselah” and is estimated to be almost 5,000 years old. Rocky Mountain bristlecone pines are only found in the Southern Rockies. Most of the trees grow between 9,000 and 12,000 feet in elevation in rocky, arid soil where

they are subjected to extreme wind and cold. Their gnarled, stunted appearance is due to the effects of the harsh environment where they live. Because of the bristlecone’s dense resinous wood, it is highly resistant to

COLORFUL PALETTE The bristlecone pine has white resin dots on its green needles and the large green and purple cone has sharp, pointed scales. (Photo by Bernie Nagy/The Flume)

bacteria, fungi and insects. It grows very slowly, and even though part of the tree may be dead, it continues to produce some branches with new needles and cones with seeds. In some very old trees, only a thin strip of living tissue connects the roots with the live branches. The needles of the bristlecone are dark green and grow on twisted branches that resemble bottle brushes and have characteristic resin flecks that look similar to dandruff. The name bristlecone comes from the cones that are tipped with clawshaped bristles. Both the dark purple female cone and the male cones have a prickly surface, and the male cones are covered with thick, sticky resin. Limber pine South Park’s other ancient tree is the limber pine. Like the Rocky Mountain bristlecone, the limber pine grows at higher elevations in sites that are too rugged, dry, windy and cold for most other trees. Limber pines grow larger than bristlecone pines, sometimes reaching heights of 20 to 50 feet. The branches are so flexible that they can

Getting away from it all – including other campers Dispersed camping in Pike National Forest

If one really wants to get away from it all for a couple of days or a couple of weeks in Pike National Forest, there are a few options. One choice is to go to a developed campground. There are 30 National Forest campgrounds in Park County; most include picnic tables, fire grates, hand water pumps, vault toilets and trash removal. And a lot of camping neighbors. There are other options. Dispersed camping is primitive, leave-no-trace camping away from designated campgrounds, either from a vehicle or from a backpacking trail. It allows one to occupy a little slice of the forest away from sight or sound of others. A bonus: There is no charge for the privilege of being alone. Camping from a vehicle Both ranger districts in the Park County part of Pike National Forest – South Platte, based in Morrison, and South Park, based in Fairplay – have complimentary Motor Vehicle Use maps that show the legal roads throughout the forest. On most of the miles and miles of roads, camping from a vehicle is permitted. The roads where camping is restricted have signage to indicate where no camping is allowed. Along Forest Service roads, one can park a vehicle – no more than one car length off the road - and bring tents, tables, and other camping gear into the forest. Or one can stay in a recreational vehicle or trailer and use it as a base for forest adventures. Depending on where one sets up camp, a dispersed campsite will be near fishing, hiking, rock climbing, hunting and/or historic sites. Camping on the trail In Park County, there are three wilderness areas where no

CAR CAMPING Inviting, dispersed camping spots accessible with a two-wheeldrive vehicle are numerous in the Pike National Forest. This spot, photographed on May 20, 2011, is near County Road 31 and County Road 77 in the Lake George area. (Photo by Laura Van Dusen/The Flume) 40 • SUMMER IN THE PARK 2012

LAKE PARK TRAIL On June 27, 2011, the rounded granite domes on Lake Park Trail invite one to explore the Lost Creek Wilderness of Pike National Forest. (Photo courtesy of Maggie Cortez)

motorized or mechanical equipment, including vehicles, bicycles, hang gliders, chainsaws or carts are allowed. Aircraft, including helicopters, are prohibited from landing. Exceptions are made for wheelchairs used by people with disabilities and landings can be made, with a Forest Service special order, by helicopters in emergencies. When in wilderness areas, a Pike National Forest, U. S. Geological Survey, or National Geographic Trails Illustrated map is recommended. Wilderness areas Buffalo Peaks Buffalo Peaks Wilderness Area, partially in the South Park Ranger District, is one of the smallest wilderness areas in the U.S., at 41,232 acres, but it represents what most imagine wilderness to be. There are multiple wildlife species living in Buffalo Peaks – including beaver, elk, mule deer, black bear, mountain lion and bighorn sheep – and relatively few human visitors. It was designated by Congress in 1993, and it is accessed from U.S. 285, 15 miles southwest of Fairplay. The area has a diverse forest of conifers and aspens, interspersed with meadows of wildflowers and grass. It was named for the two peaks that dominate views over much of South Park, East Buffalo Peak and West Buffalo Peak, which were active volcanoes about 28 million years ago. Lost Creek Lost Creek Wilderness Area, with portions in both the South Park and South Platte Ranger districts, includes 119,790 acres of the Platte River Mountains and Tarryall

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A comprehensive guide produced annually by THE FLUME covering summer activities in Park County and along the 285 Corridor.

Park County and surrounding areas are packed with events in the summer. Here are just a few of the highlights. For a more detailed calendar of events, see Pages 56-57.

By Laura Van Dusen

www.theflume.com

DANIEL ZETTLER

BUY • SELL • TRADE

18 • SUMMER IN THE PARK 2012

There’s something new to view on our Web site.

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