In the November issue of
Colorado Central Magazine

The Spruce beetle is taking a devastating toll on Monarch Pass and its surroundings. Read about the efforts by the USFS and Monarch Mountain Ski Area to mitigate the damage in our November print edition.www.cozine.com/subscriptions/

Victor: The End of the Road
By Mike Rosso

Victor, Colorado, is not on the way to anywhere else. To get there requires dedicated purpose.

Those arriving for the first time will discover a time capsule of a town, a place that seems left behind from the modern world, yet still occupied by a hearty citizenry, who seem to prefer living at the proverbial end of the road.

The discovery of gold in the region in 1890 led to the creation of Victor in 1891, the “City of Mines,” along with neighboring Cripple Creek. At its peak around the turn of the century, there were nearly 18,000 residents in Victor and it was once the fourth-largest city in Colorado, but after World War I, the town saw a steep decline due to a labor war, depleted ore and the exodus of miners. The 2010 census has the town at around 397 souls.

In 1985, Victor was designated a national historic district, which led to the arrival of tourists. In 1991 Colorado voters allowed for legalized gambling to occur in certain towns in Colorado and nearby Cripple Creek became one of them, but the residents of Victor opted out, which is one of the reasons the town has maintained its charm and not become an old West facade for casinos like its neighbor to the northwest. Many employees of Cripple Creek’s casinos call Victor home. The Cripple Creek and Victor Mine still operates near town and is the largest current producer of gold in Colorado. Read more

 

Water Update
By John Orr

MINUTE 323

Several tributaries of the Colorado River get their start in the crags of the Central Colorado mountains. Storied rivers: Blue, Eagle, Roaring Fork and the powerhouse Gunnison. They’ve all faced the footstep of humankind. The mines dotting the slopes, hay fields, ranching, orchards and cornfields bear witness and are now part of the allure of the high country. Folks cast a line, shoot rapids and enjoy the scenery of those waterways.

On September 27, 2017, the International Boundary and Water Commission, United States and Mexico inked Minute 323, the amendment to the 1944 United States-Mexico Treaty for Utilization of Water covering operations on the Colorado, Rio Grande and Tijuana rivers. (The Rio Grande is another of Central Colorado’s contributions to the Western U.S. economy.)

An important part of Minute 323 are environmental flows for the Colorado River Delta. Most everyone knows the river doesn’t reach the sea any longer. Environmental streamflow was initiated under Minute 319 signed by then Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar.

In March 2016 a diverse group of conservationists, biologists, irrigators and government officials effected a release of 100,000 acre-feet of water from Morelos Dam into the dry Colorado River Delta. There was a line of vehicles racing point to point along the river to witness the river’s front. At San Luis Rio Colorado, most of the residents went down to the river to celebrate the return of the river although many had no memory of running water in the sandy channel. Read more

 

Perfect Imperfection

By Jennifer Welch

My heifer has a penis. If you remember, it wasn’t too long ago that I was waiting for my dairy cow to calve. And I called heifer. So you can imagine my surprise when my heifer was born … with a penis. Damn. I guess it’s true that we can’t always get what we want. But I did get a bull calf, which I aptly christened Boy Named Sue. So it would appear that, if we try sometimes, we get what we need. This seems to be a recurring theme in my existence.

After last summer, I wasn’t sure where the food truck or the farm were heading – if anywhere. I had to ask myself some very hard questions. And what’s worse, I had to answer them. When we learned that we wouldn’t be offered another lease at the distillery, one of my employees mentioned that she might know of a good spot for the bus just up the street. A new couple, Rick and Katy, had purchased a building and lot on East Main and had moved to the valley from Chicago. I reluctantly reached out with an email and a hopeful heart. The rest, as they say, is history. The bus moved into a new location, we gained new friends, and the farm remained secure and stable. Read more