Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Burros of Fairplay Colorado

When gold was found in the mountains of Park County just to the south of Breckenridge, miners needed a way to carry supplies in and the gold ore out.

At elevations well above 10,000 feet along treacherous narrow trails, only the little burro was sure-footed enough to heft heavy and valuable loads to the top of the mountains and back down without endangering themselves or their masters.

It was years before the narrow game trails were widened to accommodate freight wagons, so the burros were engaged to carry everything from the timber to shore up the mines to potbellied stoves for the camp cookhouse. These faithful animals carried millions of dollars worth of gold and silver ore out of the mines high up on the mountains. Small wonder the lowly burro soon became the miner's best friend.

In Fairplay there is a statue of a pair of the little donkeys on the school campus. The most famous of all the local burros was Prunes. He first went to work in the mines around Fairplay in 1867, and his familiar long face was seen at the opening of nearly every mine in the area as he carried whatever his owner at the time required. In his later years, Prunes met up with Rupert Sherwood and the two would scour the old mining sites for gold.

They became such good friends that when Prunes died the folks in Fairplay built a fitting monument for such a notable member of the community right on Front Street overlooking the river. At the dedication of the memorial, Rupert read a poem he wrote, "Me and Prunes", and requested that he be buried along with his pal. When he passed away a year later, the townspeople honored Rupert's request and buried his ashes in the monument alongside Prunes.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Aliens in Summit County?

"Tree pyramids or teepees" are appearing at Sapphire Point.

Sapphire Point is located on Swan Mountain Road, above Lake Dillon, just north of Breckenridge.

"I don't know where they're coming from," says Ken Waugh, recreation staff officer with the Dillon Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service. "Maybe aliens are building them."

Despite the jokes, the potential fire hazard and public safety issues associated with the pyramids/teepees is no laughing matter to the agency, and rangers would like to see the informal construction projects end.

As of this week, five of the distinctive structures were visible in the lodgepole pine forest around the popular overlook and picnic spot. At least 100 people per day use the area - and that's just during weekdays, when Forest Service rangers in the area make an informal count.

One of the structures looks like a two-story dwelling, says Lin Denham, a USFS trail crew leader who is working on widening the trail at Sapphire Point.

"It seems like the local custom is to take these lodgepole logs from a thinning project and build these teepees," Denham says, adding that her trail crew has been taking them down on a regular basis, only to see them re-appear almost right away.

"Forest Service regs prohibit maintaining structures on national forest system lands," she said, adding that the trail workers have found fire rings in and near some of the structures.

"We'd love it if people would stop," Denham says. "Where they are is in a natural viewshed. People go up there to appreciate the natural setting."The structures don't necessarily fit into that setting.

Friday, July 29, 2005

2004 a Record Year for Tourism

State tourism officials said Wednesday a record 25.8 million travelers flocked to Colorado from other states last year, a 4 percent increase from the year before.

The study, commissioned by the Colorado Tourism Office, credited a $4.9 million, multicity advertising campaign for the increase.

Michael Erdman of Longwoods International, the marketing research firm that produced the study, said the ad campaign attracted an additional 5.3 million visitors between October 2003 to December 2004 who otherwise would not have come.

“The advertising was definitely a part of the increase,” Erdman said.

Travelers spent $7.3 billion in Colorado and increased revenue to state and local governments by $526.47 million, the study said.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Visions, Vistas and Viewpoints

More than 100 people from around the region attended a conference in Keystone recently titled, "Visions, Vistas and Viewpoints - Imagining Our Mountain Communities in 2030.

The event was sponsored by the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments (NWCCOG). The council represents local governments working on regional issues in Summit, Eagle, Pitkin, Garfield and Grand counties.

Terry Minger, president of the Center for Resource Management, said that while economic successes have been phenomenal in the High Country since skiing and tourism took over as the drivers, leaders have and still do suffer from "failure of nerve," tending to maintain the status quo.

Minger formerly served as CEO at Whistler-Blackcomb Resort in British Columbia and was town manager in Vail for a decade starting in the late 1970s.

"Mountains everywhere are under assault," Minger said, "because there are so many more of us, more people, more cars, more development and so much more stuff."

The projected population in Summit County in 2030? 51,228, according to the NWCCOG projections.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Overnight Wildflower Hut Experience

Botanist Nancy Redner will guide a wildflower workshop on July 30.

The overnight wildflower workshop is presented by Summit Huts Association.

Leave your gear at the trailhead to be taken up to the hut. Hike 2.5 miles to Francie's Cabin carrying only what you need for the afternoon.

This is an overnight luxury hut experience, where you can relax and meet new friends in the comfort of Francie's Cabin, without the hassle of carrying food for dinner, breakfast or overnight supplies.

The $100 course fee includes instruction on Saturday and Sunday, Saturday night at Francie's Cabin and a vegetarian dinner and breakfast.

Registration is required, and there is still space available. For more information or to sign up, contact Hannah (970) 453-8583, or e-mail, or visit

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Dennis Rodman gets Speeding Ticket in Summit County

Dennis Rodman, the former basketball star known for his outrageous attitude and occasional run-ins with the law, has apparently brought his bad habits to Summit County.

Rodman, 44, was pulled over for reckless driving and speeding as he drove his custom-made Lamborghini (of course, what else whould he be driving) through Summit County today near Frisco, said Colorado State Patrol Capt. Ron Prater.

A trooper clocked Rodman traveling westbound at 98 miles per hour on Interstate 70 near Frisco.

The trooper then attempted to pull over Rodman, who continued driving for a short distance, but stopped between the two Frisco exits where he was ticketed for speeding and reckless driving, Prater said.

He was also given a court date to appear back in Summit County, although Prater wasn’t sure of the exact date.

“He was not cooperative,” Prater said. “He was belligerent. He took an aggressive stance with the officers.” What a surprise.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The "Summit Lift" Saga Continues

The "approved" then "denied" then "approved again" and again "denied" Summit Lift is once again been "approved" by the Forest Service. The location of the lift is visible in the photo of Peak 8 to the left. It will go almost to the summit of Peak 8.

The Breckenridge Ski Area is on track to begin building the Peak 8 Summit Lift as soon as Aug. 2.

Regional Forest Service officials last week rejected a challenge to the lift, and Breckenridge resort officials said in a prepared statement that they are hopeful the lift will be completed in time for the 2005-2006 season.

Only a last-ditch lawsuit could delay the project at this point, USFS Dillon District Ranger Rick Newton said, explaining that regional Forest Service officials denied an appeal of the lift approval last week.

Any potential issues relating to wetlands impacts have also been resolved, following a July 20 site visit, when resort officials and their consultants walked the terrain with regulators from the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps and the EPA had previously expressed concern about a lack of precise wetlands mapping in the project area.

"We like to have a level of confidence and we didn't have that," said the EPA's Sarah Fowler.

"There are no wetlands in the way of the project," she said."

"Our goal was to go through and show them on the ground what we had done, mapping wise," said Joe Foreman, winter sports ranger for the Dillon Ranger District. "We got a clean bill of health on wetlands."

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Breckenridge's "Whale" Returns for Annual Visit

Look closely at the image to your left.

In the upper right hand corner, just below the ridge-line of this mountain (Peak 9 in Breckenridge) is "The Whale."

While we all know whales migrate a long ways, who new they migrated all the way to the top of Peak 9! That's almost 14,000 feet above sea level.

"The Whale" appears every year in mid to late July, just like clockwork.

Some years it is more defined than others and some years it disappears all-together by mid-August.

But, every year "The Whale" always returns to Breckenridge.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Summer Flowers in Full Bloom

The lupines you see on the left are just a small sample of all the flowers in bloom in and around Breckenridge.

The later part of July is always the height of the flower season in Summit county. You can't go anywhere without an exclamation of how beautiful they are. Downtown, into the woods and high up on a mountain - everywhere they are in bloom.

Our climate contributes to the intense colors many of the flowers have - the cool nights (usually in the 40s) and our daytime highs in the mid-seventies - are the perfect blend of weather for cool-loving flowers of all types.

This group of lupines is in my back yard.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Dillon Sets New High Temperature Record

The high temperature in Dillon yesterday was 87 degrees. A new high temperature record for the town just north of Breckenridge.

The old record was 85 degrees.

But you won't see 100 degrees in Summit County.

The all time high temperature recorded in Summit County was 89 degrees at the official National Weather Service station near Dillon Reservoir. That record was set on July 15, 1939.

The (unofficial) high in Breckenridge - recorded in my back yard - yesterday was 81 degrees. Pretty warm, but nothing like Denver, a mile lower in elevation, where it has been topping 100 degrees for the past few days.

Last nights low temperature - again unofficial - was 50 degrees. Some beautiful mountain summer weather, let me tell you.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Keystone Ranch to Celebrate 25 Years

Twenty-five years ago, Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed an 18-hole, par-72 course at Keystone.

Sunday, the Keystone Ranch Course will celebrate its quarter-century birthday with a tournament and barbecue.

Before the creation of the Ranch’s bunkers, fairways and greens, the rolling hills and alpine lakes were home to a cattle ranch and lettuce farm. At the center of the Ranch Course is an old log homestead, now called the Keystone Ranch, which houses the golf course clubhouse and a AAA Four-Diamond restaurant.

Luke E. Smith built the Ranch in the early 1900s with pine logs from nearby Keystone Mountain as a summer retreat for his family’s camping and fishing outings. Eventually, Smith added the large stone fireplace as a wedding present for his daughter.

In 1977, Ralston Purina Company purchased the 506-acre ranch and started building the resort’s first 18-hole golf course. The Ranch Course opened in 1980. Since then, the course has consistently ranked among the country’s best golf courses.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

NRO Violinist Will Head to Germany

Once her first summer with the National Repertory Orchestra closes in August, violinist Erica Dicker will go from being surrounded by the Rocky Mountains to huge steel factories and coal mines in the most industrial area in Germany.

Dicker, the co-principal second violin for the National Repertory Orchestra (NRO) and soloist for tonight's NRO chamber concert, will soon begin an apprenticeship with the orchestra, Bergischen Symphoniker, in Ruhrgebiet, Germany.

She said she only speaks a little German.

"When my parents were still young and crazy, they just decided to move to Europe and get jobs," Dicker said.

Both of Dicker's parents are musicians. Her mother plays oboe and her father bassoon.

"Growing up in a household that was filled with music was really inspiring," she said. "I remember when I was a kid climbing into my dad's lap and saying, 'I'm going to play in an orchestra when I grow up.'"

Although prophesied at an early age, Dicker, who has been playing violin for 20 years, still considers it fate that the opportunity in Germany presented itself when she went there with her father on spring break. Through the apprenticeship, she will get both professional experience and training, playing in the orchestra and sitting next to her assigned mentor. She will be living there with family friends until she secures her own apartment.

Dicker is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and spent two years in Minneapolis as a student of Minnesota Orchestra concertmaster Jorja Fleezanis. Before coming to the NRO, she resided in Chicago where she was a freelance musician. She also performed with the Peoria Symphony as associate concertmaster and in the South Bend Symphony as associate principal second violin.

The NRO's chamber concert is set for 7:30 p.m. today at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge. The program includes Mozart's Symphony No. 35, Bach's Concerto for Violin and Oboe featuring Dicker and oboist, Kristina Goettler. Daniel and Matthew Lano will be featured in Mendelssohn's Concert Piece No. 2.

For tickets to this, or any, NRO performance, call the Riverwalk Center box office at (970) 547-3100.

Monday, July 18, 2005

"Smoke Shacks" are History

The Breckenridge Ski Resort is removing the "smoke shacks" I first talked about back in April.

During the ski season, the ski patrol recognized the growing number of huts or smoke shacks in the woods on the mountain and made removing the shacks a priority. The shacks range in size and style from crude squatter camps to muti-leveled log cabins, adorned with benches, grills and decor.

"We've cleaned up a couple of them," said ski patrol director Kevin Ahern.

A shack locals referred to as the Marley hut was one of the more frequented at the resort. It has been dismantled somewhat, but a significant amount of wood, tarps and trash has been left in a heap where the structure once stoon.

Ahern said that patrollers would clean up the area.

"Our patrollers started to clean that one up and it basically started to fall down, so we waited until summer to clean it up," he said. "We're going to pull the nails out and scatter the wood around. And we'll just get the non-native stuff out of there."

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Highway 9 Construction Update

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is advising motorists to be aware of several highway construction activities in Summit County this summer.

- The Highway 9 reconstruction project in Breckenridge, which will result in a new road base and asphalt surface and a new bridge across the Blue River, will continue throughout the summer. Drivers can expect occasional traffic stops on Highway 9, South Park Avenue, Airport Road and North Park Avenue, Monday through Thursday from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., as well as 6:30 a.m. to noon on Fridays.

A 35-mph speed limit will be in effect through the work zones.A marked detour is also in place for the segment of the Highway 9 rec path that remains closed due to construction.

- The Frisco Interchange project, which aims to widen the ramp to eastbound Interstate 70 in Frisco from one to two lanes, will result in a one-week bridge closure in September. Traffic impacts will be minimal until August.

- An erosion control project will begin along I-70 in August. Drivers can expect lane closures at various locations between the Eisenhower Tunnel and Silverthorne.

- CDOT continues to prepare for future construction along Highway 9 between Breckenridge and Frisco. Crews are doing surveys and geotechnical investigations on the segment between Valley Brook Road and Swan Mountain Road. Construction on that five-mile segment is tentatively scheduled to begin in the summer of 2007, pending approval of Referendum C and D in November.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Three Summit Riders Precede the Tour de France

The Tour de France Challenge (TDFC) is a charity tour that stays a day ahead of the actual Tour de France. Consisting of eight riders, the tour follows the entire Tour de France course just a day ahead of Lance Armstrong and the rest of the world's best cyclists.

Three of the riders are from Summit county - Travis Lukens, Tim Assor and Nick Farkouh.

The TDFC peloton rides in uniforms and on state-of-the-art bikes and they stick together during each day's ride just like a professional team, as support vehicles follow close behind.

How the Summit trio became involved begins with Kevin Mahaney, a real estate developer from Portland, Maine. He first had the idea of riding the Tour de France and broached the plan to Massachusetts cycling tour outfitter, Destination Cycling. He volunteered to cover whatever expenses the trip required.

Joe Tonon, founder of Destination cycling, took it from there. He contacted Lukens, a Breckenridge resident who had taken a tour with Destination cycling a few years ago and here we are with three Summit riders in France, following the same route the Tour de France does.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Breckenridge Town Council - No Parade of Homes Signs


That is exactly what it sounds like.

The Breckenridge Town Council will not make an exception for the temporary signs the parade of homes wants to put up since the Summit County Builders Association (who sponsors the event) will only give $1,500 to the Summit Foundation.

The Town Council is demanding a $5,000 "ransom" in order to make the exception.

Makes you wonder, doesn't it. I always thought charity was charity - and no government or charity organization should be able to, or demand, a specified amount for your donation.

The Parade of Homes event, scheduled for September, will not have temporary directional signs for the four Breckenridge-area homes included in the event. . . at least not yet.

The Parade of Homes is put on by the Summit County Builders Association and features 16 open houses showing off home design, interior decoration and other services.

Event chairperson Phylecia Platte has guaranteed $1,500 would be given to The Summit Foundation. But Mayor Ernie blake urged a $5,000 guarantee. Town officials asked for a look at the association's books, but the association declined.

One lone council member, Rob Millisor, urged accommodations for the signs.

"It's good for the community, it brings people to the town. We should support it," he said.

And I agree.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

New Lynx Kittens in Colorado

A record 46 kittens were born to transplanted lynx in Colorado this spring, and some of the mothers are settling down with the same mate year after year.

"We are starting to see a stable social structure evolve and family relationships become established," said Tanya Shenk, a researcher for the state Division of Wildlife.

Researchers found litters spread throughout the central and southern mountains this year. A total of 16 lynx had kittens, some of them for the second or third time.

Adult lynx released in Colorado are equipped with radio collars for tracking. Kittens are to small for collars, but biologists implant microchips under their skin. The microchips don't allow the kittens to be tracked by radio, but they can be identified with a hand-held scanner at close range.

The lynx is similar in size to a bobcat, with the male cats averaging 24 pounds and the females averaging 20 pounds.

Unlike bobcats, lynx have long, fluffy, gray to tan fur and big, widespread paws that allow them to walk on snow.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Mountain Pine Beetle Control

Summit County's Open Space and Trails Department has begun cutting and removing trees on the Iron Springs open space parcel to improve forest health and control mountain pine beetle infestation.

The 31-acre property is located in the Upper Blue Basin on the west side of Highway 9, adjacent to Summit High School.

A substantial increase in pine beetle-killed trees on the Iron Springs parcel and on the adjacent national forest land has caused officials to change strategies this year.

"Forest treatments on the property are designed to improve age and species diversity of the trees." said Brian Lorch, open space and trails senior resource specialist, adding that the treatments will improve wildlife habitat in the short-run and result in a healthier forest in the long-run.

For further information call Lorch at 970-668-4067 or email

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Indie Film Starts Shooting in Summit County

Patti DiVita started filming her screenplay, "Did I Say Thousand Island?" last Saturday at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area.

For the next three weeks a group of dedicated locals are working 14 - 16 hour days to shoot the feature-length romantic comedy about restaurant life in Summit County.

The film stars Denver actress Jaime Foard as Cathy, an educated, single waitress who questions if she should "get a real job." She discovers the true meaning of friendship when she meets Pete, played by Rado Bily.

"Servers have always been very stereotyped in movies. People don't look up to servers," DiVita said. " I want to change that."

She hopes her film will remind people of the Golden Rule: "To treat others as you'd like to be treated."

DiVita's using her retirement fund to pay for the film, which she's shooting on almost no budget. Everyone's working for free, hoping to receive payment if the film gets picked up at one of the film festivals they hope to enter this fall.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Breckenridge and Summit County Sales are Heating Up

Quick sales and multiple offers on properties emerge once again as the average selling price reaches an all-time high in Breckenridge and Summit County.

In the face of torrid sales volumes in nearby mountain resort communities over the past 18 months, Summit County's real estate market could have been considered lukewarm.

According to the sales figures for the first five months of this year, the local market is heating up.

Agents say the lag in the local market (as compared to Vail, Aspen and the nation's coastal cities) represents a healthier environment that will protect the area from a bubble that some national analysts say is developing as property values skyrocket. "Slow and steady increases are much more desirable," they say.

Sales volume was up every month through May of this year, totaling more than $440 million.

Sales volume rose almost $50 million in the first quarter, up 37.4 percent over 2004, and the average selling price reached an all-time high of $377,582.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Historic Breckenridge

Breckenridge owes its existence to the discovery of gold during the 1859 Pike's Peak Gold Rush and once reigned as queen of the Summit County mining camps.

Today, much has changed yet much has stayed the same - historic buildings, award-winning museums and authentic programs provide an opportunity to step back in time and experience the spirit of the pioneers who settled a piece of the real West. Their stories provide a glimpse of our past and influence the character of Breckenridge today.

Some of ways to experience historic Breckenridge are:

1. Daily Historic Walking Tours of the more notable historic buildings in town - a 1.5 hour guided tour.

2. The Barney Ford House Museum - a tribute to Barney Ford, ex-slave, entrepreneur, and civil rights pioneer.

3. The 1875 Edwin Carter Museum - a tribute to our "log cabin naturalist."

4. The Rotary Snowplow Park - commemorates courageous railroaders.

5. The Iowa Hill Hydraulic Park - 1.5 mile self-guided, interpretive mining site hike.

Two up-coming events:

July 23 - Iowa Hill Hydraulic Mine Guided Tour.

July 26 - Valley Brook Historic Victorian Cemetery Guided Tour.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Quick Sale at The Highlands

In just three hours on June 25, $6.4 million worth of property was sold at The Highlands during a special sales event for two new neighborhoods in the Breckenridge subdivision.

Twenty-three homesites in Discovery Ridge and Discovery Hill II were offered, and 21 lots sold.

"We were quite pleased with the way the offering went, to say the least," said Nick Doran, project manager in charge of sales and marketing for The Highlands at Breckenridge.

"We've seen demand for single-family homesites in The Highlands increase over each of the last three quarters, but the demand evident at this offering exceeded our expectations."

Average price for the homesites was more than $305,000.

The neighborhoods offer views of the Tenmile Range, Buffalo Mountain and the Breckenridge Golf Club.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Let Us Remember on Independence Day

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. -Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.

To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within. He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers. He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance. He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures. He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury: For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences: For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies: For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation. He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands. He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Main Street Revitalization

The town of Breckenridge and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) have swapped the highway designation from Main Street to Park Avenue. That means Colorado Highway 9 that used to be Breckenridge's Main Street now moves to Park Avenue on both the north and south ends of town.

This allows more town control over Main Street for such things as closing Main Street for events.

CDOT has been busy re-working both the North Park Avenue intersection with Highway 9 and the South Park Avenue intersection with Highway 9.

Round-a-bouts are being created at both intersections to replace the stoplights. The North Park Avenue round-a-bout includes a two-lane sweep for southbound traffic turning onto Park Avenue and a two-lane round-a-bout, which will facilitate traffic movements through this intersection. It will take some getting used to, let me tell you.

Completion is scheduled for the end of 2005.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Friends of Breckenridge Trails

Friends of Breckenridge Trails provides an opportunity for locals and visitors to participate in the upkeep of our trails, parks and open spaces.

Through volunteer efforts town open space, trails, historic sites and ecologically sensititive areas are maintained and restored. There are opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and abilities.

Trail events consist of a variety of activities for all ages, abilities and fitness levels. Generally, participants should bring gloves, sunscreen, sunglasses, sturdy footwear and a water bottle. All other tools and materials are provided by the town.

Some up-coming events:

July 16 - Corkscrew Trail Construction. The Corkscrew is a new trail that will assist in connecting the Wellington neighborhood to Highway 9 along the French Creek corridor.

July 23 - Weed and Feed. Meet for breakfast the help take on the invasive false chamomile in open space parcels around town.

August 20 - cucumber Gulch Trail Day. Help revegetate and rehabilitate the beautiful cucumber gulch.

For more information and to sign up contact Danica Rice at the town of Breckenridge - 970-453-3155 or

Friday, July 01, 2005

Reservoir Filling is Short-Lived

The Denver Water Board opened the Roberts Tunnel today for the first time in several months. The Roberts Tunnel channels water from Dillon Reservoir through a 24 mile underground aqueduct under the Continental Divide into the South Platte river near Grants, along Highway 285, and on into storage on the Front Range for Denver Water customers.

The last of the snowpack is melting and flows on the South Platte River have dropped, with downstream demand on the South Platte River growing.

Denver Water engineer Marc Waage said, "By next Monday we will not have raftable flows anymore in the lower Blue River. Things are changing quickly. Inflows into Dillon Reservoir are dropping."

Yesterday the inflow into the Blue River was about 695 cubic feet per second, down from near 1,000 CFPC earlier in the week.