Valley Voice May 2023

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May 2023 . Issue 12.5 a member managed llc FREE Steamboat Springs Hayden Oak Creek Yampa
Photo by Ken Proper
2 Valley Voice For those who live here and for those who wish they did. 970-879-8185 2432 Lincoln Avenue Mon. - Thurs. 11am -9pm Fri. & Sat. - 10am -10pm Sundays 11am - 7pm Best Prices in Town! We have the coldest beer around! “We are on your way home on the right side of the road !” A new ctional novel about the early years in Steamboat Springs, Colorado Ken Proper’s novel Victims of Love is available at: . O the Beaten Path . Tread of Pioneer Museum . Ski Haus . Steamboat Creates at the Depot . Steamboat Trading Co. . See Page 12 OPEN DAILY Recreational & Medical Dispensary 1755 Lincoln Avenue Steamboat Springs 970-870-2941 Follow us! Men's Retreat: The Integrated Man, May 19 - 21 Exploring the Soil Food Web: Building the soil with microbes: June 3-4 Advanced Permaculture Design Charrette Weekend: June 9-11th Bee Guardianship Workshop: June 24-25th, 2023 Watershed Restoration Workshop with Ben Murray: August 11-13, 2023 Sign up today! Mon. thru Sat: 10 am - 9 pm Sunday: 11:30 am - 7:30 pm 970.879.2191 On the corner of US40 and Hilltop Parkway The Original Local’s Liquor Store 970-879-5273 102 Anglers Drive Give us a call and we will help you get your dog on preventative medicine. Spring is around the corner which is a good thing! Heartworm disease season is also around the corner which is a bad thing! Happy Pets! Happy People! Crocusintheirspringglory.PhotobyKarenVail

Flood Protection


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A State Budget that Meets Our Needs Page 5

I Travel A Lot

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Average Air Fare Price Differencial Page 6

Wolf Management Plan

Fighting Wildfires: Part II

From Where I Stand

Publisher/Art Director: Matt Scharf


Valley Voice is published monthly and distributed on the last Wednesday of each month. Please address letters, questions, comments or concerns to: Valley Voice, LLC, P.O. Box 770743 or come by and see us at 1125 Lincoln Ave, Unit 2C, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477. Or contact Matt Scharf: 970-846-3801

Website Subscription rate is $40 per year (12 issues). All content © 2021 Valley Voice, L.L.C. No portion of the contents of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without the written permission from the Valley Voice.

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An Interlude for Bird Watching Page 12

Raising the Roof for Historic Landmark Page 13

If It Quacks Like a Duck... Page 14

My Ranching Life in Colorado - Part III Page 15

Hayden Approves Apartment Complex Page 16

Dano's Dangerous Tequila

We Are Our Stories

Your Monthly Message


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The insensitive photographer taking pictures of dead animals in the river and calling it art…

Being called a Luddite for questioning the Artificial Intelligence movement…

All the broken fences from the huge snow totals this year…

The Antlers restaurant closing in Yampa…

The ranchers in Routt County struggling with a difficult calving season…

People who drive on the sidewalk in front of the Rabbit Ears Motel…

The location of the new fire station. Can you imagine living across the street when the fire trucks go a blazing to save a cat…

Witnessing long time locals cashing out and leaving town in droves…


“Chunky Monkey” finally gets adopted after a year in the kennel…

Enjoying the quiet time in Routt County before the mayhem returns…

When your phone shows a sun ball for the day on your weather app…

The Sandhill Cranes coming to town…

Getting the motorcycle out for the first time of the season…

Colorado’s four new gun control bills...

The beginning of rafting season with so much water coming our way…

Living through your heart surgery…

Say What?...

"Regarding the sewer leak on Vagabond last month, I believe it's the first time the affluent have ever skied on the effluent."

“Welcome to Steamboat Springs! Our speed limit signs are only a suggestion.”

“I can ride in the middle of River Road because I’m old.”

“Your theory is crazy, but it's not crazy enough to be true.”

3 May 2023 Valley Voice
Please send us your RANTS, RAVES and SAY WHATs! The Valley Voice wants to hear your thoughts as we struggle to find our center. Send to: Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. — Rabindranath Tagore Send in your submissions by May 17th! for the June 2023 edition! Send to:

Flood Protection

The potential for flooding in the City of Steamboat Springs is due to fluctuating water flow within the Yampa River Basin. Most of the annual precipitation in the Yampa River Basin occurs as snow culminating in a deep snowpack in the high elevations, which we’ve seen a lot of this winter! However, rainstorms covering large areas for extended periods can occur in the region from late spring through early fall.

Major flooding events have been the result of snowmelt augmented by rain in spring or early summer. The highest runoff on record was due to heavy rain falling on a melting snowpack. It is important to note that, in western Colorado, major flood producing rainstorms almost always occur during September and October.

The named drainage areas of the Yampa River Basin include the Yampa River, Soda Creek, Butcherknife Creek, Spring Creek, Fish Creek, Walton Creek and Burgess Creek. Other unnamed drainages may be just as susceptible to flooding.

If you have a building within the special flood hazard area or a regulated floodplain, the odds are that someday it will be affected by flooding. Even a building that is not located in a mapped floodplain may still be susceptible to flooding.

City Flood Services: One of the first things to check is your flood hazard. Flood maps and flood protection references are available at the Bud Werner Memorial Library or through the Planning Dept, which can provide

additional data, such as depth of flooding over a building’s first floor and past flood problems.

The city also processes and maintains records of elevation certificates, required for both new residential construction and substantial improvements to an existing residential unit that is located within a special flood hazard area.

Flood Insurance: It is recommended that property owners purchase flood insurance even for property owned outside of the special flood hazard area. If you do not have flood insurance, talk to your insurance agent. Under federal law, flood insurance is mandatory for all federal or federally related financial assistance and mortgages within the special flood hazard area.

Homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover damage from floods; however, because Steamboat Springs participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, a separate flood insurance policy may be purchased.

Floodproofing: There are ways to protect a building from flood damage. One is to keep the water away by re-grading or building a floodwall/berm. Another approach is to make your walls waterproof and place watertight closures over the doorways. Many houses, even those not in the floodplain, have sewers that back up into the basement during heavy rains. A plug or standpipe can stop this if the water doesn’t get more than 1-2 feet deep. The city also available to assist property owners with advice on how to protect their property from flooding.

What You Can Do

• Don’t dump/throw anything in ditches/streams

• Keep banks clear of brush and debris

• Report dumping in waterways to Public Works

• Contact the Regional Building Dept before building, altering or regrading property

• Check prior to any improvements or maintenance of any river, creek or drainage as permit may be required

• Observe building or filling without permit sign posted, contact the city

Water levels will surely rise this spring from the abundant snowpack that has accumulated over the winter. The question is just how high and are you ready for when it comes to your property. For more information, visit or

Flood Safety

Weather Reports

Stay alert by monitoring the local news/weather reports and sign up for emergency alerts. Have a communication plan ready in the event of a power outage.

Be Prepared to Evacuate

It’s best to determine your safest evacuation route in advance.

Don’t Walk In Flowing Water

Drowning is the #1 cause of flood deaths, mostly during flash floods. Currents can be deceptive; 6” of moving water can knock you off your feet.

Don’t Drive In Flooded Area

More people drown in their cars than anywhere else. Don’t drive around barriers; the road/bridge may be washed out. Turn Around. Don’t Drown!

Keep Children Out of Water

They often lack judgment about running or contaminated water.

Keep Power/Electric Lines Clear

The #2 flood killer is electrocution. Electrical currents can travel through water. Report downed power lines.

Turn off Electricity

Some appliances keep electrical charges even after being unplugged. Don’t use appliances or motors that have gotten wet.

Look Out for Animals

Animals flooded out of their homes may seek shelter in yours. Use a pole or stick to poke and turn things over and scare away small animals.

Look Before You Step

After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris. Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud can be slippery.

Be Alert for Gas Leaks

Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Don’t smoke or use candles, lanterns, or open flame unless the gas has been turned off.

For those who live here and for those who wish they did.

4 May 2023 Valley Voice
City of Steamboat

A State Budget that Meets Our Needs

The budget also provides the money needed to implement the new Universal Preschool program, which will provide free preschool for every 4-5 year old in Colorado starting this Fall. This will not only save families $6,000 per year on child care but will buttress our K-12 system by setting up students for success at a formative age.

Healthier and Safer Communities

Just as our K-12 education system has been impacted by underfunding, our health care system has also suffered. With an increasing number of individuals signing up for Medicaid (the state and federal health insurance option for low-income people) and severe provider shortages, our health-care system is facing serious gaps in meeting needs. That’s why I’m proud that our budget invests in strengthening Medicaid and funding a badly needed 3% pay increase for our doctors, nurses, and other health care providers.

Further, recognizing that public health and public safety go hand in hand, our budget makes a significant investment in crime prevention. The budget provides $5 million for the new Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Program and $7 million increase for school safety programs. No Coloradan should have their livelihood uprooted by an act of violence or theft, and I’m proud of this important next step in making our communities safer.

Investing in Affordable Housing

Protecting our Water Future & Combating Wildfire

As our state experiences unprecedented drought, coupled with growing demands on the Colorado River, we must do more to conserve water to meet agricultural and consumer needs. That’s why I’m proud that our budget invests significantly in water conservation board projects and even allocates over $25 million to fund Colorado’s water plan and strengthen our position in Colorado River negotiations.

I’m also thrilled that our budget dedicates substantial resources towards fighting wildfires, which pose an extreme threat to land and life on the Western Slope. The budget allocates funds to purchase a second Firehawk helicopter to fight wildland fires and assist the Division of Fire Prevention and Control in investigating wildfires.

Balanced and fiscally responsible

Finally, this year’s budget is balanced - creating no deficit for the state. In addition to funding our state’s priorities, we were also able to add significant funds to our state’s reserves which will help secure our financial security in the years ahead.

And much more

I am proud to share that the State Senate and State House just passed our annual state budget - and it is one that is balanced, supported by both parties, and most importantly, addresses some of our communities’ most pressing needs.

Every year, the budget process presents an opportunity for members to come to the table to discuss their district’s priorities and set a course for the entire state. This year’s process also required more conservative budgeting due to the absence of federal COVID-19 dollars, which heavily supplemented state spending in years past.

With these challenges in effect, I am pleased that we were still able to reach agreement on a budget that serves Colorado well and prioritizes the “nuts and bolts” of responsible governance. Here are just a few highlights:

Investing in PreK-12 Education

Every child deserves a quality education that opens up opportunities for their future, and every family deserves to send their child to a school feeling confident they have the resources to help them succeed. Further, our district loses too many talented, dedicated teachers because they are not paid a competitive, livable salary.

That’s why I am thrilled that our budget increases K-12 education funding by $485 million, which will amount to $900 more per pupil in the coming year. This will allow our districts to address urgent needs, including increasing teacher pay, hiring essential support staff, and updating school facilities and materials.

This year, we’re continuing to make strides in ensuring every Coloradan has an affordable and accessible place to live. Recognizing that our housing market is still hundreds of thousands of units short, I am thrilled that our budget invests an additional $221 million towards increasing our housing stock

This includes providing relief on property taxes, implementing Proposition 123, and incentivizing public-private partnerships for housing development via my bill, SB23001.

Even though the legislature has already passed our annual state budget, we are still negotiating how to use remaining funds for other priorities. While there’s much more work to do to carry my remaining bills to the finish line, I’m hopeful we’ll have even more exciting news to report at the end of our legislative session.

Pleasecontinuetoreachoutwithyourideas,feedbackand questions.IinviteyoutocontactmedirectlyatSenatorDylanRoberts@gmail.comoronmycellat970-8463054.

5 May 2023 Valley Voice State Senator/ District 8
We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear. — Martin Luther King, Jr.
970-870-8807 1707 Lincoln Avenue Steamboat Spring’s Furniture and Mattress Headquarters! Scan the QR Code For More Information Check Out Our Four Level Showroom! Zecliners are on Display! Come on in for a Test Drive!

I Travel A Lot

Average Air Fare Price Differential

This month I continue to take a collective look at the six Colorado airports that service Colorado resort communities. To summarize what we have learned thus far. Collectively these airports in 2022 had 18,726 outbound flights that served over 1.1 million passengers. This is approximately equal to the population of Austin, Texas. The six airports served 21 locations with non-stop service. Not all these non-stops are daily or year-round. Yampa Valley Regional currently serves the most communities with 16 non-stops.

Average Air Fare Differential (Inflation Adjusted to 2022 Dollars)

I travel a lot and always fly, solo. It takes up most of my time. My territory stretches from the mountains of Central Mexico to Northern Colorado in the spring and the reverse in the fall. My interests are insects, berries and sex. My journey is perilous. I face and flee constant dangers in the sky and on the ground. I instinctively follow waterways, hide in the trees, fuel up and generally continue flying at dawn. With good shelter, food and cover, I stay a day or two. I fly with a group. We are never in formation, rather haphazardly darting, dashing and each of us on our own. Some do not survive the flight.

I like cool weather not hot. I arrived in Steamboat Springs in May in a snowstorm, and I was too cold. My friend left strawberry jam and orange marmalade out. It helped me make it through the night. He welcomes us every spring with food and misses us when we depart. He won’t let us inside because we are too wild.

We brawl with each other, usually in gluttonous avarice, to the point of distraction when another steals and eats the contested portion. I rough house with the one I have my eye on, in hopes of building a house with her, in an airy canopy. I’m gambling on her cupidity. With luck, we’ll leave together when the nest is empty.

The summer is short but sweet high in the Zirkel Mountains. There, we are shy, stay out of sight and feel, as one, the time to return to Mexico. We have destinations, ambitions and goals, but our life is the journey. We are birds of a feather that fly together. Our heads are red. Our beasts are yellow and white bars accent our black wings. Some say we’re the most beautiful species in the Rocky Mountain Empire. Fact or fiction, we are, none the less, the Western Tanager.

In addition, on average in 2022 about 80 percent of the flights departed at their scheduled time. If delayed, the average delay was about 90 minutes. The delay was most often caused by the airline themselves.

This month I turn my attention to ticket pricing. The importance of ticket prices in air travel can vary depending on the individual's priorities and circumstances. For some people, ticket price may be the most important factor when choosing a flight, especially if they are on a tight budget. In this case, they may prioritize finding the cheapest possible fare over other factors such as flight duration, airline reputation, or in-flight amenities.

To do this ticket price analysis I used the average ticket price difference between one of the six Colorado mountain airports and that of Denver International. I used Denver as the baseline for comparison because Denver is one of the most cost competitive markets in the nation as a several low-cost airlines battle for market share.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics samples about ten percent of itinerary fares and publishes these results. Although specific details on an individual’s travel itinerary are not available, how much they paid is.

Average Air Fare Differential vs. Denver (Inflation Adjusted to 2022 Dollars)

Average Air Fare Differential (Inflation Adjusted to 2022 Dollars)

In this context Itinerary fares consist of round-trip fares. Fares are based on the total ticket value which consists of the price charged by the airline plus any additional taxes and fees levied by an outside entity at the time of purchase. Fares include only the price paid at the time of the ticket purchase and do not include fees for optional services, such as baggage fees. Averages do not include frequent-flyer or “zero fares.”

The table below reflects the itinerary cost differential. For example, the average ticket price of flying out of Aspen vs. Denver in 2021 was $335.36 more. To put it another way this is the average “premium” for the convenience of flying out of a resort airport.

The good news is that for two of the Colorado mountain airports, Hayden and Montrose, the ticket price differential has dropped significantly. For Hayden the average ticket price differential in 2021 was $81.97 and for Montrose it was $95.43.

What do these two airports have in common that the other four Colorado mountain airports do not? Simply put, the competitive influence of Southwest Airlines.

Average Air Fare Differential vs. Denver (Inflation Adjusted to 2022 Dollars)

For those who live here and for those who wish they did.

6 May 2023 Valley Voice
Go Figure
On the Cover
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 $361.71 $473.40 $433.91 $431.85 $428.57 $481.87 $364.17 $324.57 $279.85 $335.36 $134.01 $132.19 $186.36 $258.88 $263.42 $316.55 $304.74 $304.58 $207.43 $186.59 $339.29 $345.47 $342.15 $426.54 $410.63 $446.48 $389.15 $307.96 $300.81 $238.95 $250.62 $301.70 $350.78 $280.20 $261.41 $345.92 $317.66 $277.01 $194.58 $283.30 $251.32 $326.25 $298.38 $292.05 $303.00 $342.52 $317.66 $213.26 $171.75 $81.97 $344.47 $288.09 $246.93 $239.16 $254.15 $332.44 $298.74 $227.20 $162.47 $95.43
Aspen ASE Durango DRO Eagle EGE Gunnison GUC Hayden HDN Montrose MTJ 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 $251.32 $326.25 $298.38 $292.05 $303.00 $342.52 $317.66 $344.47 $288.09 $246.93 $239.16 $254.15 $332.44 $298.74 HDN MTJ $400.00 $350.00 $300.00 $250.00 $200.00 $150.00 $100.00 $50.00
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 $361.71 $473.40 $433.91 $431.85 $428.57 $481.87 $364.17 $324.57 $279.85 $335.36 $134.01 $132.19 $186.36 $258.88 $263.42 $316.55 $304.74 $304.58 $207.43 $186.59 $339.29 $345.47 $342.15 $426.54 $410.63 $446.48 $389.15 $307.96 $300.81 $238.95 $250.62 $301.70 $350.78 $280.20 $261.41 $345.92 $317.66 $277.01 $194.58 $283.30 $251.32 $326.25 $298.38 $292.05 $303.00 $342.52 $317.66 $213.26 $171.75 $81.97 $344.47 $288.09 $246.93 $239.16 $254.15 $332.44 $298.74 $227.20 $162.47 $95.43
Aspen ASE Durango DRO Eagle EGE Gunnison GUC Hayden HDN Montrose MTJ 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 $251.32 $326.25 $298.38 $292.05 $303.00 $342.52 $317.66 $213.26 $171.75 $81.97 $344.47 $288.09 $246.93 $239.16 $254.15 $332.44 $298.74 $227.20 $162.47 $95.43 HDN MTJ $400.00 $350.00 $300.00 $250.00 $200.00 $150.00 $100.00 $50.00

Best Wolf Management Plan May Elude Colorado

Predation of livestock is an old problem that extends back over numerous countries, cultures and centuries. Shepherds like David protected his flocks with a staff and a sling-shot. Masai warriors in Kenya protect their cattle herds from lions with thorn fences and spears. Yet as predators like lions, bears, tigers and wolves become endangered and recognized for their valuable roles in ecosystems, there is a greater emphasis on predation prevention.

Suzanne Ashe Stone has been at the forefront of wolf restoration in the western US since 1988. That's when as a Boise State intern, she hooked up with federal and tribal agencies on wolf reintroduction, and helped reintroduce wolves in Yellowstone and Idaho. She's become convinced that wolves will never escape human persecution, until people realize there are ways to coexist.

“I've been working behind the scenes in Colorado, trying to help livestock owners, state officials and legislators, understand how to best manage wolves” said Stone, who is now executive director of the International Wildlife Coexistence Network. She just returned from Oxford, where there was an international conference on wildlife coexistence in late March.

In northwest Colorado, there is an abundant population of wildlife for the wolves to eat: deer, elk, moose, antelope and

smaller prey like rabbits. Wolves are opportunists – they prey on the most abundant, easiest to kill prey.

If livestock operators make it more difficult to prey on livestock, and there are abundant prey species available, then wolves will concentrate on wildlife and not livestock. Conversely, if livestock is easier to attack than wildlife, then livestock becomes the prey of choice.

According to Stone, it matters a great deal if you can educate a pack's alpha breeding pair, to leave livestock alone. That's because if the alphas learn that lesson and teach it to younger wolves and their pups, then pack members will not be overly tempted to go after livestock. Conversely, if an alpha pair gets killed in early contacts with livestock, then the younger wolves don't learn anything and predation keeps happening – even increasing.

In 2017, the findings of a seven year study by Stone compared sheep livestock losses in an area which emphasized lethal controls, to an area that utilized a suite of non-lethal tactics like range riders, guardian dogs, portable electric fences and other nonlethal tools and tactics. The non-lethal control area experienced 3.5 times fewer dead sheep, or .02 percent of the overall sheep population.

Missteps in Colorado?

Stone said the states that are doing best at managing wolves within a predation prevention context are Washington, Oregon and California. Idaho has simply turned into a zero-tolerance state for wolves. “I had hoped that Colorado would turn out to be the best at managing wolves,” she said. "That hasn't turned out to be the case, at least so far."

Stone said that Democratic legislators have good intentions, but they've been buried in such an avalanche of data and conflicting opinions, that it has been hard to avoid poor decisions and compromises. Further, the state as sembled a Technical Working Group on wolf management, which has credible real-world experiences from surround ing states. “No one has called upon them for advice,” said Stone. As a result, Colorado officials don't really know what they need to know, she said. “I'm afraid that the compensation program will be a disincentive to ranchers working on prevention. That's going to cost taxpayers way more than it should. The key to making prevention tools work, is having consistency – something going on each night, and mixing tools and locations up frequently so wolves don't become habituated. They hate surprises, but can get used to routines.” Stone said.

Creativity a plus

In addition to sudden sounds and lights that scare wolves, a there is creativity at the inspired genius level. You've probably seen car dealers set up what's called “tube men” on their lots – hollow tubes of plastic with painted faces that rise, fall and rise again as air is blown through them. Stone and an Idaho rancher set up a tube man, together with lights and loud sounds, near a trail that wolves used to approach a flock of sheep.

The local pack had a radio-collared member, and an electronic sensor was keyed to look for that particular signal and turn on all the tools.

Sure enough, the radio-collared wolf was detected and everything turned on at the same time – including the tube man that was suddenly looming over the wolf. That wolf and his fellow pack members skedaddled rather hastily. “We looked for the signal of that particular wolf the next day,” said Stone. It was two counties away, she laughed.

What's in a good prevention suite?

Imagination. “Try to think like a wolf,” said Stone. “If you were hunting deer or elk, where you have your cattle or sheep, what areas or routes offer cover, what approach takes advantage of the prevailing wind?”

Good housekeeping. Haul off or deep bury livestock carcasses. “If wolves have a super power, it is their sense of smell,” she said. “Don't offer them a free meal.”

Turbo Fladry. This is a term for an electrified fence, permanent or portable, combined with closely spaced strips of glow-in-the-dark plastic. Motion sensors are strategically set and moved around, tied into lights, sounds or moving gizmos.

Four legged guardians. There are varieties of guardian dogs that have been bred over time, to help protect livestock from predators, such as wolves and bears.

Two legged guardians. Shepherds or herders are people who stay close to sheep or cattle, ready to haze predators to stay away, or back-up their guardian dogs when fighting begins. People can be employed as circuit riders, ready to patrol the area around livestock on e-bikes, horseback, ATV or snowmobile.

7 May 2023 Valley Voice It
Wildlife Management
is a matter of shame that in the morning the birds should be awake earlier than you.
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Fighting Wildfires: Part II of III

Secretary of Interior Richard Ballinger in 1910 stoutly argued, “We may find it necessary to revert to the old Indian method of burning the forest annually at seasonable periods.” His statement brought into the open a debate on the foundation of the Forest Service – conservation or maintenance. Chief Forester Gifford Pinchot strongly argued at the 1906 Denver Convention that national forest reserves had only a twenty-five-year expectancy unless immediate steps were taken to conserve them. Later action defined Pinchot’s intention. Rather than clearing forests by fire as the Indians did, trees would be harvested in a scientific manner. Conservation with wise use assured lumber for many generations.

To protect the forest within the next few years, over 400 fire lookout towers were constructed in the United States. Among the first in Colorado was the Hahns Peak Lookout Tower (1908-1912 construction). At least eight other towers were constructed in Colorado. The Fairview Lookout Tower at 13,214 feet elevation was manned only from 1912 to 1916. Observers stationed at the Lookout made a long and difficult climb from base camp each day. Additionally, remote locations made it impossible for Rangers to contact help in a timely manner after locating a fire.

It proved difficult for the Forest Service to man the lookout towers. Few people wanted to sit atop a mountain all day and do nothing – especially on a clear summer day. Being stuck on the highest point during a lighting storm was not ideal. Until the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built miles of telephone lines, it was virtually impossible to communicate current fire information. After the CCC built telephone lines and the forest service began rotating men stationed at the lookouts, the towers became much more efficient.

As part of the forest services’ centennial celebration, Routt Forest Supervisor Mary Peterson and her staff published a brief article “Celebrating 100 Years of Conservation and Public Service on the Routt National Forest: Early Ranger Stations of Routt National Forest.” The article provides a brief summery of eleven Ranger Stations and eleven Guard Stations. The list is not complete. For example: the Oak Creek Guard Station is not listed, and it does not go into the details of each station – primary use, man power, housing for crews, and care of pack animals. All the guard stations had a barn and tack room. Until the 1960s, all the streams and springs at the stations were safe to drink from. At Bear River west of Yampa, water was dipped directly from the river. In 1957, the Bear River barn was struck by lighting and burned. The Oak Creek Guard Station was torn down in the early 1960s. At least twelve ranger stations and guard stations were built between 1905 and 1915.

The guard stations were lightly manned, poorly equipped, and the rangers untrained in basic firefighting. The Use Book (1905-1911) instructed the ranger “to ride his horse as far as he could and get control of the fire.” Very little information was offered on basic methods of attacking a fire. The ranger’s examination asked what should be done in case of a crown fire (top fire). One respondent answered, “There’s only one way; run like hell and pray for rain.”

The big test for the forest service came in 1910 in the Northern Rockies. The winter of 1909 -1910 saw heavy snow fall with an early melt. In May everything turned green and grew. Then it turned very hot and dry with strong winds. In July and early August, numerous lighting strikes caused fires started in the St. Joe Mountains and the Coeur d’Alene National Forest. Glacier National Park also suffered large fires. Wildfires were primarily fought with manual labor, and all the labor pools in Montana, northern Idaho, and eastern Washington were emptied of man power. President Taft authorised using the army. Although the force was large, it was untrained and much of it undependable. If a ranger in charge of a crew left for some reason, the crew might simply stop working and go fishing. Men from lumber camps stopped work at 5:30 p.m. – the usual “quitting time.” The Northern Pacific and the Milwaukee railroads supplied extra gangs and patrolled trackage (generally along railroad right-of-ways where men on “speeders” located fires and quickly brought them under control). By mid-August more than 4000 men were busy fighting fires, the majority of which were under control although littered with hot spots.

August 20 extremely high, hot dry winds and a ruthless dry lighting storm came from the desert and Palouse Hills of eastern Washington – a Palouser. It roared across the pine and fir forests of the Northern Rockies. The temperature was already near 90 degrees and humidity less than 10 percent. An estimated 2000 fires were either ignited or fanned into roaring infernos. A fire storm struck the Coeur d’Alene Valley with force.

The Great Fire of 1910 burned 3,000,000 acres, destroying more than a billion board feet of lumber (enough to build a mid-sized city). It destroyed several towns and burned large sections of others. Sawmills and logging camps were destroyed. The fire took the lives of 78 firefighters and 11 others. The number of people permanently scarred is unknown. At least one firefighter had a total nervous breakdown and spent the rest of his life in a hospital. Many of the firefighters were men off the street who had no idea what they were in for. Some of them signed their name with only initials hiding their true identity and education level.

One crew was fleeting for safety when a slower man dropped behind, a fire band jumped him and killed the three men ahead of him. The slower man reached safety. Another crew rushed into a presumedly safe building only to have the roof catch fire and fall on them. The story of Ed Pulaski and his crew’s escape in a mine tunnel has been often repeated. All but two of Pulaski’s men were saved. In terror the two ran, not knowing where.

In Wallace, Idaho, there were many true heroes. A few women refused to leave without their husbands who were on the fire line. Others clustered on a mine tailing pile. With arms around their children they stuck it out and survived. One train load of people rattled over a burning trestle.

Undaunted, a group of men in Taft swore an oath not to allow the fire to consume the town’s liquor supply. They got gloriously drunk. One passed out in the street and was consumed by fire.

Apparently the others escaped, keeping the liquor away from the flames.

Following the Great Fire of 1910, the Forest Service and nation underwent a major change of attitude. Although continuing rumors demanding to disband the forest service, public ownership of millions of acres of forest land in every state was here to stay. In California, Coert duBois began a serious study of wildfire in a multitude of conditions and developed organized methods for evaluating and attacking fires. The days of “just go put it out” were in the past. Although his system was a giant step forward, it needed continuous refining, and serious disasters lay ahead.

Although the method of fighting wildfires changed, wildfires remained the same. When it was dry (drought), the wind was blowing hard, and humidity low, the woods were ready to burn, and all too often they did. Mother Nature with her bolts of lighting was a major cause, but darn fools did their share. With a few exceptions, between 1910 - 1930 forest fires were kept small and damage limited. One of the exceptions was the Cloquet Fire which took 453 lives. It should never have happened. A passing train caused a small fire which was immediately spotted and presumedly extinguished. It smoldered for three days until the wind fanned it to life again and it blew up – racing across the Northern Woods of Minnesota.

A ridgepole dividing the history of wildfire study and control accompanied the New Deal which got off to a bad start. The Griffith Park Fire was a deadly fiasco. The Reconstruction Finance Corporation employed 3,780 relief workers to build a park in Mineral Wells Canyon near Los Angles. The canyon was narrow with steep walls and a fire began in some debris, probably caused by a careless smoker. The crew foreman sent men into the narrowest section to set back fires. Not knowing how to set a back fire, it got away from them. The regular fire department arrived too late to prevent disaster although the fire was soon under control. Only 47 acres were burned, but 29 men lost their lives and 150 suffered burns.

The 1933 Tillamook Burn in northern Oregon became a symbol of success for the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The summer of 1933 was extremely hot and dry. Due to the extreme threat of fire, the forest service ordered all loggers to suspend operations. A logging company in Gale Creek Canyon ignored the order – claiming they never received it. Workers strung out a steel cable, attached it to a downed log, and pulled it into the dock for loading. The steel skidding cable lay against a downed tree resulting in friction and fire. Although there were men nearby, the fire went unattended and became a crown fire. The CCC was called on for manpower to fight the fire.

That fire burned 40,320 acres of old growth timber between August 14 and August 24. It appeared under control until gale force winds struck. In a twenty-hour period the fire scorched 268,800 acres – a rate of 13,440 acres per hour for a total of 350,000 acres. The fire stopped only when the wind died down and a thick heavy blanket of fog and mist rolled across the forest. The men of the CCC immediately began mopping up hot spots.

For those who live here and for those who wish they did.

8 May 2023 Valley Voice
Bonnifield Files

Three more Tillamook Burns followed: 1939 – 190,000 acres burned, 1945 – 180,000 acres destroyed, and 1951 – 180,000 acres burned. Often, more serious fires and beetle attacks follow large wildfires. The damage is not over once the fire is out.

In March 1933, the CCC was signed into law, and, by July, 1,463 working camps existed with more than 250,000 destitute young single men in active service. Enrollees and their families were desperate. Enrollees were required to send over 50 percent of their monthly wages home to support their parents and siblings. The CCC was active in erosion and flood control, especially in the South. By far, the lion’s share of forest service trails were originally built by the CCC. They constructed ranger stations. Pyramid Ranger Station on the East Fork of the Williams River is an example. They improved the range and forest by planting and thinning trees. Regionally, the CCC Camp near Tabernash thinned and cleared the forest and floor to improve tree growth and reduce fire risk. Wildlife habitats were improved. The men of the CCC became a large reservoir of labor to attack wild fires. They were more than common laborers. They built airports and flew observation and supply flights. They laid communication lines and operated heavy equipment. The CCC made it possible to revolutionize conservation on the broadest scale.

The CCC had to pay their dues. On August 18, 1937, a dry lighting strike set fire on Blackwater Canyon near Cody, Wyoming, which was not detected for two days when a strong wind fanned the smoldering ash into hot flames. It quickly grew from two acres to 200 acres. Forest Service and CCC crews were called in. The first attack was made by 65 men, but it was soon apparent that more manpower was necessary. Due to distance, considerable time was lost before CCC crews arrived from Ten Sleep. During that time, the fire continued to grow.

A veteran firefighter, Urban Post, led a crew of Ten Sleep CCC men to their assigned position. Unbeknown, the fire spotted behind them while the wind freshened and changed direction. They were trapped. Post led his men to a rock ledge where they crowded on it. Five men broke and attempted to run through the fire. Only one made it and he was badly burned. On the ledge Paul Tyrell used his body to protect others. That selfless act cost him his life. Nine firefighters died on the line and six more later died. Thirtyeight more were injured.

The Blackwater Canyon fire was a serious loss resulting in rethinking the role of the CCC and fighting wildfires. It marks the end of an era and the beginning of another.

From Where I Stand

The notes fly from where I stand, Rhythmic scenes come into view. Sounds and sights—a cosmos planned? I’ll take the sight to renew.

My perception must be right-side up, To gain the best perspective received, A flashing moment is so abrupt, But lingering as a dream perceived.

Eccentric images might be the norm, ‘Tho at first they seem odd, Some new insight revealed—amazing form. A transformation of my soul from God?

Perception is the vital key, A thought is sometimes newly borne, In partnership with a special plea: Omit the skeptic as mere thorn.

A fleeting perception can be flawed, I’ll take the hint: let me be awed.

9 May 2023 Valley Voice
The world perishes not from bandits and fires, but from hatred, hostility, and all these petty squabbles. — Anton Chekhov
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An Interlude for Bird Watching

May 16, 1915

The winter has melted into spring and the river is swollen to a mighty size. I have never seen anything like it. The water floods the low-lying trees and flows much larger than the normal volume. Tough fishing because the trout hold in the willow filled eddies but is easier at the confluence of creeks. I have spent more time untangling my line or breaking it off from lost fly hooks than angling.

Months ago, Miss Marjorie suggested making suet for the local woodpecker’s winter food. Her recipe included seed and a little peanut butter. I had a pair of red shafted flickers, plus hairy and downy varieties visiting all winter.

I got lazy at lunchtime and decided not to cook. I made strawberry jam sandwiches from my preserves and added peanut butter. I sat at my outside table, watching the steel gray clouds assembling above Elk Mountain.

The verdant tips of the just-leafing aspen trees swayed in the building wind. I took a bite, jam oozed on my fingers, and I had no napkin or milk. So, I got up to get both. When I returned the most beautiful bird stood on it and ate the jam from my sandwich. It had a red head, bright yellow body and black wings striped with white. I let it eat. Soon an all-yellow bird with olive tones, apparently a female of the species, arrived, squabbled perhaps with her mate, drove him off my lunch and ate her fill. The poor fellow flew to the suet cage hanging in the waving aspen tree and pecked away.

This morning there were more; mostly males, some with red just on the top of their heads and others almost fully red to the wings. Yesterday’s sandwich was in shreds. I have never seen this bird in 11 months in Steamboat. I knew Miss Marjorie traveled to Denver, so I decided to check my mail. Mr. Monson at the Post Office would know.

“Oh yes, they are splendid birds. I know several folks that put out quarts of strawberry jam in May. My wife uses little metal saucers for the Western Tanagers,” he said. “The Bullocks Orioles will join them, but they prefer orange marmalade.”

“I’ve seen the orioles, but never the tanagers.”

“I’ve only seen them in May, maybe the beginning of June. It gets hot and they are gone. They nest in the top of conifers high up in the mountains. I live near Soda Creek, so I think they fly the watershed. Steamboat is just a rest stop.

Someone told me they spend the winter in the mountains of Mexico.”

“Is that right?”

“Yep, a lot of birds travel farther than you think is imaginable. You don’t have any mail today.”

I thanked him and went to the hotel. Maggie gave me a funny look when I said, “I’m borrowing some saucers for a month.”

My standard black poodle, Charlie, is jealous of the tanagers. He impatiently waits, runs to chase them away and drops the ball at my feet. I watch the birds for hours. They fight for position and at times hover up vertically, chest to chest, flapping and chirping. Meanwhile, another slides in to eat the contested portion and it starts all over again. I try to count, maybe fifty, but they constantly push each other around. Some wait in the branches for their turn. Most do not. Angela said, “It’s magical.”

Their rambunctious attitude made me fear for the porcelain sauces. I switched to Underwood Deviled Ham tins. I ate the contents, smashed any protruding barbs with pliers, screwed them to a wooden plank and hung the feeding station with a rope out of a bear’s reach on a branch in an aspen tree. I spooned in jam and marmalade daily. Maybe a little expensive but compared to the theater, cheap entertainment.

Maggie, the practical one stated, “You better put up more jam this fall.” She liked them too. I can tell.

I tossed a moldy piece of firewood into the river and was astonished at how quickly it disappeared downstream. I am not going to fish in the river until it goes down. I slipped on a rock and fell into the water. I drifted ten feet with nothing to hang on to but my fly rod. Finally, I scrambled out and walked home wet from feet to head. I lost my favorite hat. The ponds up Spring Creek were fishing well and safer. I carried a walking stick, tied to my waist, when I was in the creeks. E.M. Anduss and his sister Hattie caught 13 trout up to 3 pounds from Soda Creek in one hole near their house. The Pilot had the story on the front page of last week’s paper. The author claimed they broke the record, and no one needs to travel far for fine fishing in the town of Steamboat Springs. I do not keep fish, so I cannot prove I have done better. Du Bois and I planned a trip up Buffalo Pass to the lakes. I bought him a long cane pole to dangle deeply and cautiously from the banks.

Three men escaped from the jail by tunneling a hole in the brick wall with a dinner knife and a sink brace in broad daylight. Mrs. Kroll lives next door to the jail. She saw them jumping over the fence and called the sheriff. Two of them got away. Too many prisoners and too little supervision. JJ got nicked for disorderly conduct and spent the night in the slammer until he sobered up.

My entry has rambled too long. Charlie sleeps upside down and snores softly. I guess I will turn out the light and lay down for a while too.

12 May 2023 Valley Voice
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Raising the Roof - To Protect a Historic Landmark

Carving its way through Yampa Valley, Highway 131 becomes Main Street in Oak Creek, Colorado. This street is home to some of the busiest establishments but even two years since COVID, one remains closed. Built in 1928 as a campaign promise and effort to thwart the Klu Klux Klan from gaining town control, the Tracks & Trails Museum was originally constructed as Oak Creek’s Town Hall. Harsh winters and intense summer heat took a toll on this building's roof.

The Town Hall structure was originally proposed as a one-story, fire-proof, brick cement and cinder block 50’ x 67’ building with rooms for a fire department and public library in the front and a council room, clerk’s office, magistrate’s room, vault and jail in the back. In the 1930’s, stucco was added to the outside of the building. It housed Oak Creek’s administrative offices, police department, and jail for many decades.

The Historical Society of Oak Creek & Phippsburg was founded in 1998 and a group of dedicated volunteers decided to “build” a museum in the old Town Hall building. Although it took dozens of volunteers, countless hours of grant writing, gutting and rebuilding, the opening ceremony of the Tracks & Trails Museum was in July, 2007. The building is currently leased to the Historical Society of Oak Creek & Phippsburg for 100 years by the Town of Oak Creek.

The original Town Hall building is significant for its architecture and its historical significance in the growth of Oak Creek. Its current archival and artifact storage are vital to the mission of the Tracks & Trails Museum.

The Museum closed in 2020 because of leaks that years of quick fixes could no longer mitigate. This town icon and community resource, hosted visitors and heritage travelers from all over the world with its exhibits,

workshops, gallery space, guest speakers, and programs. It has also been instrumental in researching historical events and family histories. The Tracks and Trails Museum needs a new roof to fix the underlying problems of pitch, ice buildup and patch upon patch, and requires interior repairs to cover damages from the leaking roof. Fortunately, no artifacts inside the building were damaged. We are continuing to request community- wide support of our project throughout Oak Creek and Routt County. If you are interested in becoming one of our donors in our “Raise the Roof” campaign please contact Nita Naugle, Curator, Tracks and Trails Museum, at 970-736-8245. Or donate securely on-line at www. for the Historical Society of Oak Creek & Phippsburg.

Our sincere thanks to past donors and to you as well! We appreciate your support. With additional funds, repairs and lots of patience and hope, we plan to re-open in the Fall, 2023.

This project is about people and reestablishing a place for connections. Benefits of reopening the Museum are:

• Contributing to area school curricula. We want to broaden our school educational program and invite more teachers from the neighboring areas to take part. Being open will allow us to establish new educational relationships.

• Being a meeting place for our Board, volunteers, and residents and connecting with the next generations of volunteers.

• Partnering with community heritage arts teachers, Oak Creek Main Street events, and hosting classes and author talks.

• Drawing tourism to Northwest Colorado. The National Trust for Historic Preservation defines heritage tourism as “traveling to experience the places, artifacts, and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past”. This is a significant part of our mission.

We are a partner to the Smithsonian Traveling exhibit coming to our neighboring Yampa-Egeria Museum in 2024. We have promised exhibits on “Changes in Rural America” which will deepen educational conversations within Routt County.

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If It Quacks Like a Duck and Walks Like a Duck...

Well, hate to burst your bubble, but some ducks don’t quack, and some ducks don’t actually “walk!” It was a glorious bluebird day for a stroll along the Yampa River to enjoy the spring bird arrivals frolicking in the river. The ducks are back! Watching ducks is so captivating; those are feeding along the edge, those are feeding around the rocks, some are just murmuring to each other, then a sudden “quack” breaks the conversation, that one just disappeared and that one – that on is mooning me!! Its little butt was sticking right up in the air! Ha!!

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Position on the water: Wow, that duck is riding low in the water – maybe it had a big lunch?? That must be a diving duck. With denser and more compact bodies, diving ducks tend to sit lower in the water. They squeeze their feathers against their body to force out any air allowing them to dive quickly to chase underwater prey. Their tails are most often not visible. Dabblers are loftier and float higher in the water which also makes their tails more visible.

About those wings: Diving ducks’ wings are more compact, allowing them to squeeze them tightly against their body while they are diving making them very streamlined. They use their big feet to propel themselves underwater. Dabblers have larger wings compared to its body weight, enabling it to fly slowly and land in small areas with precision.

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Autumn is typically when we see the largest numbers of migrating ducks but spring brings a few migrators heading north as well as ducks nesting in the area. All ducks are waterfowl, living their lives in and around water. They are split into two main groups, the dabblers and the divers. Watching them on the water clearly shows their differences; dabblers tip up with their butt remaining in the air and divers, well, dive – they disappear underwater. You can also tell them apart by the way they eat, look, fly and where they are found. Let’s do a comparison between the dabblers which include mallard, teal, northern shoveler, gadwall, and American widgeon, and diving ducks including bufflehead, canvasback, ruddy duck, redhead, ringnecked, common goldeneye, and mergansers.

Favored habitats: Of course, both types of ducks need water, but dabbling ducks favor shallower waters and more seasonal water supplies. Diving ducks prefer larger bodies of water like lakes, ponds, as well as slow moving river areas. Diving ducks found in freshwater are called pochards.

What they eat: To feed, dabblers merely tip over, mooning us in the process, and feed on insects (the bulk of their diet), algae and other water plants on or just below the surface. They also are seen on land feeding on seeds, insects and other vegetation. Small comb-like structures (they kind of look like teeth) along the inside of the bill called lamellae act like a sieve allowing the duck to separate and expel mud and water while keeping the seeds, insects, and other food. Diving ducks have a similar menu but go about obtaining it in a different way. They completely submerge themselves to nibble aquatic vegetation on the bottom or chase food such as small fish and insects. They can typically dive for 10 to 20 seconds, although they can stay under longer. Depending on what they are eating divers emerge in different places: a canvasback rooting up tubers dives straight down and emerges in the same place, a merganser chasing fish or insects comes up far, often 50 feet or more, from where it disappeared underwater. It’s always fun to see if you can guess where they will pop up! Diving ducks, because they are not filter feeders like dabbling ducks, have almost no lamellae on their bills, although mergansers, who specialize in catching fish, have long, narrow bills where the lamellae are sharply serrated.

Position of their legs: You will rarely see a diving duck walking on land, whereas dabblers are often seen wandering around noshing on grasses and insects. Diving ducks’ feet are larger and have a specialized hind toe to help propel them through the water (think swimming fins), and their stout legs are situated farther back on their body to help with forward motion through water. Walking on land is a clumsy affair for diving ducks. Dabbling ducks have their legs centered under their body allowing them to walk easily on land, with a trade-off that their swimming capabilities are reduced.

Flight and landing: A sudden scare on the water displays another dabbler/diver difference. Dabblers erupt straight up out of the water, whereas divers need a long runway to get lift off. Divers rearward placement of feet and compact wings means that more speed and power are needed to get airborne. When in the air, divers fly with rapid wing beats. They land with a long feet-first skid. Dabblers can drop effortlessly into a small pond.

Nesting: Most dabbling ducks prefer to nest in grasslands near wetlands. Diving ducks, because of their limited mobility occasionally nest away from water, but most make their nests on water on floating rafts of vegetation. Of course, nature does not follow fast and set rules, and mallards are often seen on floating rafts on water and scaups on grasses next to the water. Also, the ducks nesting in the grasslands have higher predation than those on the more inaccessible floating rafts. Even though more eggs and chicks are lost these ducks are more likely to renest again and again during the summer.

Oooh that bling: It’s the dabblers that like to show off. Compared to the rather drab diving ducks, dabblers have colorful speculum, a patch on the secondary flight feathers, which are the feathers at the trailing edge of the wing, closest to the body. The speculum color is distinctive and can easily be seen in flight, and often seen on swimming or standing birds.

And about that quack! Only the females make a loud quack sound (amongst many other sounds), while the males have a raspy muffled call, or whistles, squeaks and honks.

Excuse me while I duck out for a walk. Quack!!

14 May 2023 Valley Voice
'Boat Almanac
For those who live here and for those who wish they did.

My Ranching Life in Colorado - Part III

My best memories are of working at the ranch. Memories of my daughter Bia always make me smile. I spent a lot of time with Bia at the ranch, where we laughed and had so much fun together.

The best summer I remember was at our ranch. We were baptizing our granddaughters Chrissy and Alexei, the daughters of my Bia and her husband, Cardenio. We all put so much work in getting the ranch ready for this celebration. We cleaned all the flower beds, planted beautiful flowers, and cleaned everything we could clean. We did all the cooking by ourselves, and our wonderful neighbors furnished tents and tables and set these up in our yard. The neighbors were fed multiple times from that barbeque and told us we should have a barbeque every year.

I can also make myself miserable because Andy is gone but I am making the best of it. When I am upset, I go up to the ranch and I always feel better and happier. I have noticed this about my daughters as well. Maybe because there is solitude and no close neighbors at the ranch, I enjoy the quiet even more. I have not ever slept at the ranch by myself-ever-and probably never will. The memories of people knocking on our door late at night, most lost, (before cell phones) is present in my mind and it is a little scary.

There is an apple tree in the yard at the ranch that the girls planted when Bia died. It is getting just as big as the old willow tree we have out there. I may have an outdoor table made from the old tree and leave the roots.

The land is measured in animal units, not acres. In years past, we trailed our sheep from our summer ranch to this seemingly barren ground because there is less snow there, so the sheep can find food. The sheep love the salt sage

that grows in little lumps on the ground. This food was supplemented with alfalfa pellets and corn which were thrown from gunny sacks by two ranch hands from a two-ton pickup truck. Andy believed that the alfalfa pellets made the ewes’ milk better for their baby lambs born in the spring. The rams were separated from the ewes until breeding time in December, so by May, there were many pregnant ewes among our flocks.

When you move a bunch of sheep by foot (trailing) to the lambing ground in the Spring, you can miss two or three sheep and not know where they are. Once we got a phone call from a nearby rancher at our winter range telling us that they had 3-4 pregnant ewes of ours. The ewes stayed together and had two lambs each by that rancher’s corral.

There was a cowboy who lived near our winter range, named Ike. Ike was the original cowboy, with a western shirt, kerchief, jeans, and a cowboy hat. He was a rugged guy. That was his only outfit, even when the weather was below zero and so bitterly cold. We would take two trucks from Craig and leave one at Ike’s place. He would go to the winter range with our pickup and feed the ewes every day. Poor Ike got cancer and became very ill. Ike told us “I took care of cattle and when they were sick, I shot them, and I will do the same if I get to that point.” Ike took his own life. This caring man was a real cowboy and our friend.

Another memory I have of the winter range is when we would leave the yearlings there until about the first of June. For some reason, I was trailing these yearlings with the herder, Lloyd Chavez, down to the lambing grounds. It was the 20th of May and raining hard. I had three-year old Bia with me and Stella. Andy had eight-year-old Toni with him. By the time Andy got to the Ranch, one foot of snow had fallen. Andy told Toni to stay in truck. He went and shut off the water because otherwise, the irrigation ditches would overfill.

I hooked up the sheep camp and started driving toward Highway 13. The camp started spinning its wheels in the mud and the rain was coming down faster and heavier. It was raining so hard I could not see the road for stretches of time. As I was waiting for Lloyd to come and put chains on our pickup, I looked down the stretch of road onto Highway 13 and saw a truck with its lights on coming our way. The truck turned the corner, and it was Andy! Lloyd saw Andy’s truck with its lights and came down from where he was with the yearlings. Andy told Lloyd that they would leave the yearlings there because they could not be moved any further. Andy then said, “Let’s go down to Drifters Restaurant to have breakfast.” That made all of us so happy!

We had sheep which were stolen or lost too. This would happen at either the summer or winter ranges. Andy could not cover all the grazing land with just a herder or two, so he would rent an airplane to fly over the grazing lands and spot the sheep with our “AP” brand. Once he knew the location, the sheep could be trailed back.

We branded our sheep every time they were sheared with a special paint. We also had ear tags for all our livestock. Once a small bunch of our sheep were stolen because we never were able to find them. This is a punishable offense. Ranchers always have the right to inspect other ranchers’ corrals for missing sheep.

Coyotes are predators year-round too. We have bears during the summer and sometimes mountain lions that attack and kill our sheep in the high country. If you have sheep killed by predators, you must take a government trapper to where the kill took place to get reimbursed. Sometimes, this is harder to do than other times. Reimbursement has always been a mixed bag. If livestock prices are high, it is okay, but if not, it is a loss. Wolves can annihilate an entire carcass and sometimes eat the bones as well. This is especially the case in Wyoming and will be problematic here in Colorado now with the new 2023 law reintroducing wolves.

The other problem aside from predators are competent workers. Very few people want to work on a ranch because ranch work is so physically draining. For this reason, every year introduces more labor shortages. Bringing immigrants from other countries to work was never a problem for us, but today, once a herder has a green card, the temptation to leave the herd and never be heard from again is huge. Leaving a sheep camp imperils both the sheep’s safety and welfare because the ranch owner won’t know the herder has disappeared until potentially weeks later. This is very stressful for today’s ranchers. A lot of ranches have survived by becoming seasonal operations with dude ranches in the summer and sleigh rides and snowmobiling in the winter, or hunting outfitters in the fall. Although this is a good business, it is the tourist and hospitality industry and not the ranching business.

My great grandchildren will not know what ranching means or what a ranch life meant. This saddens me very much.

15 May 2023 Valley Voice
Eiseley A Greek Immigrant's Life
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.
ThemassiveoldwillowtreeatourRouttCountyranch. Summer,2022.

Hayden Approves 109 Unit Apartment Complex

HAYDEN – By a 6-1 vote, the Hayden Town Council approved a 109-unit apartment complex on April 13, despite ardent opposition from neighbors was balanced by statements of support from other neighbors.

Council member Trevor Gann was the only council vote against the project. “Still to be resolved is tweaking the traffic circulation plan into final shape, considering traffic volume, rush hours, entry and exit points and safety. The town has a traffic plan it can live with as is, but would prefer an alternative that is still up in the air.” said Gann.

As it currently stands, the development's parking lot has access to Highway 40 from Washington Street to 3rd Street to Highway 40, as well as a one-way road from the parking lot, north along the west edge of bus barn property, then a right-turn-only onto Highway 40.

A preferred alternative route would depend on the developer and the school board, reaching agreement on the developer moving an apartment complex to the north, creating access to 2nd Street to Poplar St., through the back parking lot of the bus barn. There would be a four-way stop light at the 2nd Street and Poplar Street intersection.


“That's the preferred alternative. It is entirely up to the developer and school board to work out. Otherwise, the current traffic scheme would be implemented.” said Mayor Ryan Banks.

Hayden School Board President, Tammie DeLaney said that while emails have gone back and forth between the collective board and Main Street Apartments, no meeting has been scheduled. The earliest meeting would be May 8, in a public school board meeting.

Developer Joe Anderson said the project would proceed in two stages: the two-story unit facing Highway 40 and two, three-story apartment buildings as stage one. The second stage would proceed at an undetermined future point, as rentals and sales of apartments rack up. Armstrong said a property management company will be hired for property maintenance, house-cleaning, renting and selling apartment units. “Affordability and whether some units can be reserved for teachers, town employees and health workers, is being studied.” said Armstrong.


Opponents focused on the high density of the project, entry and exit points for traffic, whether there is adequate parking, the safety of children walking to school or the next-door community center.


Supporters of the project emphasized that rejection of the project, at this late stage, would signal that Hayden doesn't want big projects to would-be developers. Former Hayden Mayor Zach Wuestewald said, “Hayden needs additional housing when current listings run about $650,000 and young people can't find or afford anything in the 2,000 citizen community. Amid closing coal mines and closure for the Hayden Power Station, any new commercial activity or new jobs is a big plus.”

Council member Bob Reese noted that the school district had hired 14 teachers – none of whom could find a place to live in Hayden. “If they have to live in Steamboat, or Craig, or in their cars, they can't really be part of this community.” he warned. “Without growth, Hayden would become like Craig, a failing community.” Reese said. The essence of opposing emails he received is that some current citizens just don't want it.


Town Manager Matt Mendisco said the developer hopes to break ground on the project this summer, so there is a limited amount of time for an alternative traffic plan to emerge.

Dano's Dangerous Tequila

What’s now becoming a Steamboat local’s favorite is Dano’s Dangerous Tequila. It all started with Dano, who moved to Steamboat in the late 70’s. Dano started experimenting in his basement by infusing Blanco Tequila and fresh pineapples and jalapeno, making unique and delicious Tequila. He created a recipe his friends and family raved about and as the popularity exploded, his friend, Chris Timmerman, a long-time entrepreneur, was convinced it should expand beyond the basement. He wanted to take the infusion public and share it with the world.

So, these two adventurers took a trip to Tequila in Jalisco, Mexico, to find a distillery that could produce the new blend. The journey led them to the Hacienda De Reyes, a small, 4th generation family run Tequila distillery where the Reyes family had been handcrafting Tequila since 1840’s. The family still uses the old school distilling process with only the sweetest blue agave, steamed in brick ovens and finished in copper stills. The partnership flourished and here in the famous town of Tequila, the Reyes family crafts Dano’s Tequila Infusion using 100% Agave Azul Blanco with fresh pineapples and jalapenos. This blend is the only fresh fruit infused Tequila in the world. Dano’s Dangerous Tequila has added three more ultra-premium tequilas; Blanco, Reposado and Anejo now all distributed under Dano’s label.

Tequila was first produced in the 16th Century in the city of Tequila, Jalisco Mexico. There are 5 different states that are allowed to make Tequila by Mexican law. Only Tequila produced in this area is allowed to be termed Tequila. Most Tequila is required to be at least 35-55% alcohol by volume. The best Tequila is made from the Weber Blue Agave plant. It is found growing in rich sandy soil and can grow to over 7 feet. It’s harvested after growing for 5-8 years and with its elevated sugar concentration, makes it a highly desirable source for this popular spirit. Make sure you buy only Tequila labeled 100% Blue Agave for the smoothest, tastiest Tequila. Less expensive Tequila may be made with blue agave but is not 100% and may have added sugar, which can give you a nasty hangover.

Since then, Dano’s has earned accolades at the SIP (International Spirits Competition) with double gold ratings and most recently Dano’s Anejo won Best In Show in the San Francisco World Spirit Competition against 900 tequila brands. Dano’s Dangerous has been featured in several magazines, including Forbes, Rollingstone, NY Post, Men’s Journal and Delish. Over the last 5 years, Dano’s sales have earned a place in the top 10% of the Tequila market of over 3000 Tequila brands.

Dano’s continues to grow its fan base across the country with distribution on the East Coast, Florida, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. Dano’s Tequila can be found locally at your favorite Spirit store or can be ordered online at

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We Are Our Stories

It has been estimated that we have over 80,000 thoughts a day. The stories we assemble from those random bits of information give us what we perceive as reality. Clearly we do not recall them as random information and yet we can seemingly make sense of the world around us. What is going on in our minds has filled libraries with fascinating information. The simple reactions that evolved to keep us alive millions of years ago still drive us today into fascinating and fearsome consequences. We have the tools necessary to perform far better if we but choose to learn.

Diving in with a broad brush we find that our five senses constantly send signals that our brains must interpret. Our eyes don’t actually “see” but they do send signals about differing types of light and the brain turns those signals into vision. Vibrations are converted to sounds that we then “hear.” All our nerves simply send signals up through the brain stem through the Amygdala. Sudden changes, quick movements and loud sounds all trigger an essential reaction of fear. That fight or flight often kept us and our ancestors alive. After that initial burst the input goes through our emotional roundabout and the hypothalamus then gets sent onward to various parts of the cerebral cortex for thought processing in action. Most of those sensory signals get tossed out as they are filtered either as repetition or unimportant. If the fear is too great the signals get trapped and further cognitive function is limited. Repetition does have greater weight than it deserves. As signals finally get into the cortex they start being assembled and memory is added to the mix. We then start building stories that grow ever more complex. This is a neural habit pattern that we developed as babies and came to us from many millions of years of evolution.

Realistically described this process happened: loud noise, we jump, look and see color, movement and shapes –sense danger, run away or stand. The cortex finally gets

signals – brown, large, green, tall, movement, etc. We apply memory and toss out unneeded information. We interpret and put our thoughts into a plausible story. We ignore vast amounts like the green grass blowing in the wind or the smell of the flowers and focus on the brown thing thus creating better stories. Is it a tree or a bear? Bears don’t make that cracking sound so what does? Falling trees, why is the tree falling? Dead tree and wind … and the stories grow in complexity. So much so that we then ignore further input (though maybe we should because of the brown bear that pushed the tree is still hidden in the brush or was it Sasquatch?). We create the stories that we then react on. Our brains have created a story line that made sense of all the random signals. If we have preconceived stories, specific training or faulty memories then the story gets distorted and so our reactions are mistaken due to bad training. Our brains are wired to notice the unusual and ignore the common.

It is estimated that over 97% of everything you experience is totally made up by your brain. Yep, all our worlds are essentially imaginary. The brain actually uses only a tiny portion of the information coming in. When you dream your brain is forming and reforming all those ideas (even the weird dreams are built using common parts) into memories that we then draw on (the brain loves shortcuts). Have you ever had a super realistic dream? Well, that sort of creation is child’s play for your mind.

There are far too many proofs to list in a short article but a fun one is the human eye. Essentially it is built backwards with the nerve “arms” running in front of the sensory nerves much like tree branches when you look up at the sky. All those join in the place commonly called the blind spot. But our vision looks complete doesn’t it? No tree branches up there and what blind spot? That is because the brain is filling in all those gaps quite nicely.

It does the same for every other sense and creates the story line that you believe is very real, which it is, partly, sort of.

Intuition is the instant memory tool we commonly use as it is based on our previous (accurate or inaccurate) stories. It feels bigger than us because we feel intuitions more than thinking them. If we use bias, prejudice, sexism and belief without proof then necessarily our stories will be in error. We will be prone to conspiracy ideas, superstitions, confirmation bias and logical fallacies. Finding the faults in those ideas can be challenging to see in ourselves.

The good news is that you can train your intuition and thinking to be more accurate. Learning better heuristics, emotional, mental and physical habits all work well. It takes just a little effort, humbleness, compassion, empathy, courage, curiosity and honesty apply to your stories. Your stories are what define your life; why not make them ever more real and better?


905 Weiss Drive - across HWY 40 from the Holiday Inn

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Aries March 21 - April 19

Does a caterpillar knowing it will become a butterfly one day give it an air of pretentiousness and think it’s better than all the other worms? Or the contrary, does a butterfly have an eternal case of imposter syndrome where despite its wing span, deep down it knows it’s still just a fancy worm?

Taurus April 20 - May 20

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They say they see you in their dreams, that they feel you in their thoughts and deep in their subconscious. At first you thought it was a compliment, however they are actually referring to the new hobby you have that consists of wearing a striped shirt and a pruning glove.

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As you stand on your soap box after serving yet another diet soda paired with a cheese burger, you explain to the customer that drinking diet soda does not counteract the fatty burger or make their lunch choices any more health conscious. Then when your speech falls on deaf ears, you throw the soda in their face, slam the cheeseburger on the ground and stomp on it until it’s nothing but greasy goo. Yes, you got fired from your job, but you made a point and that’s worth a paycheck or two?

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You will be honored when Time Magazine nominates you as 334,517,796th most interesting person in the United States.

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Despite your best intentions, putting a bag over your spouse’s head, throwing them in the trunk of your car and driving them around for

Play "What goes in the Pocket Park."

a few hours is simply not appropriate. That’s not what your couples therapist meant when they told you to work on the excitement and spark in your relationship.

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Buy Dano’s Dangerous Tequila at your favorite local liquor store or restaurant Agave farm in Tequila, Jalisco