On today’s stop on the #COVirtualHeritageJourney, enjoy this informative short video – “Mountains Meet the Prairie” – where we learn about the four distinct ecosystems that make up the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area and the wildlife that thrives in the river corridor.
What wildlife have you spotted recently on or near the Poudre River?
Today on the #COVirtualHeritageJourney we have the “Western Water – and Power” documentary, a fascinating film from RMPBS about our state’s most important natural resource: water.
“Ever since Western settlers dreamed of deserts in bloom, men have chased the mirage of more water than these arid lands can provide. ‘Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting’ describes the urgent struggle every generation of Coloradans faces to control this fleeting resource—creating hydrodynamic history through structures that can propel water to run uphill toward money, and power.”
Alamosa County is centered in the middle of the San Luis Valley, and offers unique outdoor recreation, majestic views, trail systems, steam engine train rides and quiet dark night skies in a quaint railroad and agricultural town .
Walk along the trail systems of the Alamosa Ranch or paddle board along the Rio Grande River. Explore one of three local breweries or ride on the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. Hike up and sandboard down the nation’s highest dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park and preserve or quietly view a variety of birds and wildlife at the Alamosa Wildlife Refuge or Blanca Wetlands. View Colorado Alligators or take a dip in a hot springs swimming pool. Dine at local family own businesses or take lunch on the road and play a round of Golf at Cattails Golf Course. Stroll around Alamosa’s downtown to experience its history and small-town charm. From red brick to pressed metal ornamentation, Alamosa is a study in the architectural trends that have passed through the nation since the 19th century. There are also 16 locations on the National and State Register of Historic Places. Fine tune your historical knowledge by visiting the San Luis Valley Museum and the Luther Bean Museum.
On today’s #COVirtualHeritageJourney we have a short video about recreation along, and on, the Cache la Poudre River. This time of year, as runoff kicks into high gear and the river starts to rise, you will start to see a lot of rafters, kayakers and tubers out on the Poudre. It’s also a great time of year for biking, walking, and running on the Poudre Trail. And, of course, the birding in the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area is world class!
Please remember that rivers can move deceptively fast and exert great amounts of force. Colorado’s melting snowpacks increase river flows during this time of year. Exposure to cold water can quickly lead to hypothermia, which can be deadly. The Poudre River also contains hazards such as rocks and boulders, trees, large rapids and dams. To learn more about “Playing it Safe on the Poudre” visit https://poudreheritage.org/play-it-safe/ for river maps, safety tips, and more!
Today on #COVirturalHeritageJourney check out a collaboration between Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area and Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area.
Discovery Road crosses the border into southern Colorado and northern New Mexico to find out how people are connected through history, culture and the landscape itself. “Hello Neighbor” examines early Mormon settlement in southern Colorado and visits with descendants of some of the first families in the San Luis Valley.
Today, on the #COVirtualHeritageJourney, we visit the Great Western Sugar Beet Flume located within the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area. Local historian, Ron Sladek reviews the fascinating history of the Great Western Sugar’s 1926 suspension bridge that’s located along the Poudre Trail at Fort Collins’ Natural Area, Kingfisher Point. The flume is proudly listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Colorado once had more than 20 sugar beet factories, supporting tens of thousands of farmers, field hands, and factory workers from the early to mid-1900s. The Great Western Sugar Company (GWSC) operated the factory in Fort Collins, which was located on the site of the current City of Fort Collins Streets Department (625 Ninth Street).
In 1926, a GWSC engineer designed a suspension bridge that supported a metal flume to carry slurry of mostly lime, beet pulp, and water across the river for deposition on company land. The flume was operational until the mid-1950s when the plant closed.
The bridge is a rare example of suspension engineering in Colorado and the flume and bridge together are surviving examples of a historic industrial effluent disposal system, and were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014.
Learn more at the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area website:
On this week’s first stop on Colorado’s Virtual Heritage Journey, we learn about the restored Como Depot, a National Historic Site located in the South Park National Heritage Area.
“In this episode join host Taylor Kanne and special guest Pat Mauro from the South Park Rail Society as they talk about the restored Como Depot making it on to the National Registry of Historic sites. Also learn about the fully functioning steam engine Klondike Kate and her new home at the historic Como Round House.”