Friday, July 19

The Crestone Eagle is a nonprofit monthly newspaper serving Crestone and the San Luis Valley

Environment

Building alternatives displayed by CEF

The team behind the natural-build demo site on the corner of Birch St. and Golden Ave., in Crestone, is gearing up in anticipation of the 35th annual Crestone Energy Fair (CEF), September 14-15, 2024. Last year, Benjamin Byer and Michelle Beelendorf-Byer donated use of some of their land to CEF to help bring increased awareness to the event and its ongoing education program by way of a permanent mixed-medium shed installation. The shed showcases various building styles including a dry stack foundation, cob, strawbale, aircrete and hempcrete panels. The project was initially envisioned by Shawn King and construction began...

Hiking in the SLV: Sierra Blanca Trail

Editor’s note: Hiking in the SLV will become a new monthly additon to The Crestone Eagle print edition. By Tegan Welsch-Rainek In the heart of the bustling town of Alamosa lies a hidden gem where one can find solace amidst the chaos of city life. Venturing into the embrace of nature, I embarked on a journey along the Sierra Blanca Trail, seeking refuge from the hectic pace of Alamosa's urban existence. As I ventured forth from Cole Park towards the trailhead, I found myself enveloped by the tall cottonwood trees. Their branches swayed gently in the wind, and puffy white cumulus clouds...

The Indigenous role of fire

Using fire as a tool in land stewardship By Hillary Renick. Fire as a tool Fire, powerful and often feared, has been a fundamental part of the life of healthy forests throughout history.  Fire helps seeds germinate, aids in keeping meadows and grasslands balanced, and attracts healthy habitat for animals, insects and pollinators. Utilizing skills acquired by living in place for millennia and learning the rhythm of the seasons through observation, experimentation, and practice, Indigenous cultures use fire as a land management tool. By developing low-risk land management practices, Indigenous communities achieve the same effect as wildfire, but minimize the length of disruption...

Rio Grande fish species make move from Baca to Medano

by John Livingston, Colorado Parks and Wildlife , Southwest Region  Public Information Officer MOSCA, Colo.—A decades-long effort to establish new populations of imperiled Rio Grande chub and Rio Grande sucker fish in Colorado’s San Luis Valley led to a historic day on the Medano Ranch of Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) collaborated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and National Park Service (NPS) this fall to translocate a population of Rio Grande chub and sucker from Crestone Creek in the Baca National Wildlife Refuge to Big Spring Creek in the Medano Ranch.  More than...

Sacred Wyld: Pioneering a modern-day sacred harvest

By Anya Kaats. For twenty years, Wes Atkinson owned and operated a successful hunting outfitter business, but in 2012, after a life-altering psychedelic experience, he sold his company and walked away. “Continuing would have been out of integrity with what I had experienced,” Atkinson explained.  Subconsciously, he had already begun to question the ethics and motivations of the industry he was a part of, and the psychedelic experience brought his unfolding realizations to the surface. “Everyone talks about following your bliss, and doing what you love, but nobody talks about what happens when you start contaminating what you love with commerce....

RiGHT: A land trust for the San Luis Valley

By Anya Kaats. When Susan Pierce-Platais moved to the San Luis Valley (SLV) in 1996, she was eager to use her experience and background in nature conservation to help protect the Valley’s natural resources. A few years later, Pierce-Platais along with like-minded friends including Cathy McNeil, Christine Canaly, and Karen Henderson established The Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT) to help landowners protect and preserve their land through sustainable and regenerative management. Pierce-Platais currently serves as RiGHT’s executive director.  “When I moved here, I approached The Nature Conservancy to ask what was most needed in the area in terms of conservation,...

Saving the greenbelts: fire or fire mitigation?

By Daniel S. Johnson, Saguache County Firewise Program. Do we save the greenbelts from fire or from fire mitigation? Firstly, I want to state that I am not working on the Baca Fire Department’s greenbelt or common lands mitigation, nor am I a spokesperson for them. My Firewise Program focuses on private lands to reduce wildfire threats to homes. But fighting wildfires has been my career for 49 years and I still do, so I can offer a valid assessment of the projects. There is no rational argument that most greenbelts are not overgrown and unhealthy. The original work on...

Safeguarding the Sangre Wilderness: Proposal would protect 110,000 acres along Crestone/Baca region 

By Anya Kaats. In 1992, Congress passed The Sangre De Cristo Wilderness Act, designating 220,803 acres of land as protected wilderness along the mountain range. In 2000, with the passing of The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Act, another 50 square miles of land was converted to designated wilderness. Since then, several other tracts of land have been added, but 110,000 acres of land on the east side of the San Luis Valley (SLV) has yet to be officially designated and is “needing closure,” says Christine Canaly, long-standing director of the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council (SLVEC).  In a...

Hiking in the SLV: Sierra Blanca Trail

Editor’s note: Hiking in the SLV will become a new monthly additon to The...

The Indigenous role of fire

Using fire as a tool in land stewardship By Hillary Renick. Fire as a tool Fire, powerful and...

Rio Grande fish species make move from Baca to Medano

by John Livingston, Colorado Parks and Wildlife , Southwest Region  Public Information Officer MOSCA, Colo.—A decades-long...

Sacred Wyld: Pioneering a modern-day sacred harvest

By Anya Kaats. For twenty years, Wes Atkinson owned and operated a successful hunting outfitter...

RiGHT: A land trust for the San Luis Valley

By Anya Kaats. When Susan Pierce-Platais moved to the San Luis Valley (SLV) in 1996,...

Saving the greenbelts: fire or fire mitigation?

By Daniel S. Johnson, Saguache County Firewise Program. Do we save the greenbelts from...

Safeguarding the Sangre Wilderness: Proposal would protect 110,000 acres along Crestone/Baca region 

By Anya Kaats. In 1992, Congress passed The Sangre De Cristo Wilderness Act, designating 220,803...

Restoring the “kidneys” of the SLV: Biologists call for sustainable solutions to wetland decline

By Zaylah Pearson-Good. Photography by Cary Aloia. Scattered throughout vast agricultural fields, shrublands, grasslands, and...

The ecological role of the mosquito — They do more than just suck

By Zaylah Pearson-Good Fear strikes as an incessant, nasally buzz grows closer and closer. Before...

Mother Tree Festival: Remembering our Roots

By: Chantelle Pence We can’t choose our relatives, but we can choose whether or not...

The Crane Festival returns to Monte Vista for 40th year

While the Cranes continued visiting the San Luis Valley in the last few years...

Taking STEPs to meet growing calls for Search & Rescue in San Luis Valley

The Sangre de Cristo Mountains attract hikers, climbers and mountaineers from all over the...

Colorado Parks and Wildlife seeks sharpshooters to cull elk in Great Sand Dunes National Park and on wildlife refuges

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is in search of qualified volunteers to assist with the...

Challenger and Kit Carson in the same day

On September 17, Sasha Petrovick of Moffat summited both Challenger Peak and Kit Carson...

Great local hikes abound around Crestone

by Thomas Cleary photo of Willow Lake and upper valley by Emmy Savage The upcoming series...

Megafires—bigger & more frequent; what can you do?

  What is a megafire? A megafire burns 100,000 acres or more. In 2008, there...

Environmental highlights of the Baca Crestone community

Our local environment is changing. The extreme drought has banished former wetlands and streams...

Our water, climate & stream flow

Within the past 25 years climate in the northern San Luis Valley has changed...

How the Great Sand Dunes were saved

The Great Sand Dunes National Park is a familiar site for residents of the...

Douglas County votes no to expend federal funds on RWR water export proposal

Douglas County Commissioners issued a decision in a work session held on May 24: “The...

San Luis Valley Field Office to enter Stage 1 fire restrictions

The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) San Luis Valley Field Office will enter into...

Learning The Flowers with David Lee

I like the quote by Gary Snyder in his poem, “For the Children”: stay together learn...

The Monte Vista Crane Festival happens March 11-13

Cranes. Towering, snowcapped peaks. Small-town hospitality. The migration 20,000 or so greater Sandhill Cranes and a...

Governor opposes RWR water export plan, US Senators Bennet & Hickenlooper concur, invoking Wirth Amendment

Governor Polis joins other Colorado elected officials in opposing the proposed water export plan...

Governor Opposes RWR Water Steal

The attention on a $600-million proposal to pipe water from the San Luis Valley...
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