In the June issue of
Colorado Central Magazine

The Bearded Lady food bus is open for business in the courtyard at Watershed BV, a hub for community events and business incubation in downtown Buena Vista, Colorado. Photo by Tyler Grimes

Watershed BV: A Small-Town Hub

In 1937, the U.S. Forest Service built a ranger station on Main Street in downtown Buena Vista. It remains the only historical downtown ranger station in Colorado. It served its purpose for the Forest Service until the 1970s when it became a Chaffee County health clinic. For the past 20 years the building has sat empty and unused despite the location next to the old State Highway building (currently the Trailhead) and near the intersection of Main Street and Colorado Avenue.

“It was like ‘70s wood paneling, pink carpet,” said Rick Bieterman, as we sat in what used to be the garage of the old ranger station. “And so we came in and ripped all that stuff out and found this brick under all that paneling. And these floors are the original plywood floors that we just sanded down, took the carpet off and just went with it.” Read more

 

The Gas Creek Wars

With Mount Princeton and Mount Antero providing a serene backdrop, Gas Creek and Chalk Creek thread a valley lying north of Centerville, where U.S. Hwy. 285 drops down, passing under a water diversion pipe. This valley extends north to Cache Creek, which flows beneath the highway south of Nathrop. Here began local discord that, encompassing the nearby area, became known as the Lake County War.

When the following events took place, Gas Creek was part of Lake County, extending from the Continental Divide on the north and west, the Mosquito Range on the east, and Poncha Pass on the south. Leadville’s silver mines were not yet booming. But soon after the Pikes Peak gold rush and the Civil War, ranchers and farmers had started to take up land at Gas Creek, and irrigation ditches were being dug, some with affirmed legal rights and some without. Although a few of these early settlers had arrived as prospectors, they now were settling down with plows and cattle, returning to activities they had known “back home” in the Midwest and East. Read more

 

Scorpions

The dog stood still as a statue, nose to the floor. Maybe he was watching an insect. But usually he’d just check it out and move on or else snarf it down. This behavior was different. Curious, I walked over. Uh, oh – the boy had zeroed in on a scorpion. A first for us both. But over our 15 years in that house, we found a number of scorpions inside, especially in the winter. We eventually realized that most arrived on the firewood we stacked near the woodstove. When we moved the stack to the garage, the number of winter-visiting scorpions dropped.

Scorpions fall in the class Arachnida, making them distant cousins of spiders. Some people think that arachnids are insects – not so. Insects have six legs and three body segments (head, thorax, abdomen) while arachnids have eight legs and two body segments (cephalothorax – a combined head and thorax – and abdomen). Three species of scorpions call Colorado home; the most common one in central Colorado is the striped bark scorpion (Centruroides vittatus). In fact, the striped bark scorpion is the most common species in the U.S. Read more

 

The Weed of Wrath

Marijuana. Most folks are either decidedly for it or against it. Me? I’m mostly a weed spectator though I lean toward the libertarian viewpoint that a person has the right to do whatever to their own body so long as it doesn’t harm others.

Like it or not, marijuana is now legal for both medical and recreational purposes in Colorado and business is booming. You can tell this by the number of shops with mostly cutesy names like “Starbuds” and “Mile High Green Cross” along the highways. And also by the number of greenhouse grow operations springing up across the countryside, particularly in nearby Pueblo County. Whether all this will withstand possible federal legal challenges remains to be seen, but for now a person can buy weed in several Colorado counties and municipalities, and some insiders say the biotech boom in northern Colorado is based on the prospect of future pharmaceutical takeover of the cannabis industry. Read more