Pams New Stuff

Burn scar continues to thrive

By Lyndsie Ferrell

CREEDE- Three years ago, the Rio Grande and San Juan Mountain range was ravaged by flames that ended up burneding over 1009,000 acres. of trees. The communities affected by the fire have found stability in partnerships and by working together, have risen from the flames. The West Fork Fire Complex consisted of three separate fires started by lightning; the West Fork fire, Windy Pass fire and the Papoose Fire. This Complex affected the surrounding towns of South Fork, Creede, Del Norte, Lake City, and Pagosa Springs. The communities affected by the fire have found stability in partnerships and by working together.

Green high elevation grass and shrubs are popping up from the charred soil. Small aspen stands are beginning to form and the ones from previous years are now almost four to five feet in height. Due to the high levels of precipitation the Valley and forests have seen this year, the wild flowers are were abundant and in their prime. Several visitors and residents of the area have mentioned seeing new species of plants or some ones they have not seen in years.

The forest has not seen any land “events” thus far this year, though they are happening in unoccupied areas. Members of the public and governmental agencies have seen some changes in the back country that have yet to affect the public or cause harm. Landslides have continued to occur in Trout Creek near Creede and some small slides in Hope Creek. Officials have emergency plans in place and are ready should an event occur near a populated area, but also feel the new growth on the forest floor will continue to stabilize the soil.

The Rio Grande Watershed Emergency Action Coordination Team, also known as RWEACT, recently released a soil stabilization summary report that shows growth in the experimental soil stabilization test plots currently being monitored. The test plots were installed in two locations within the burn area. Each location consists of five test plots with each plot receiving different treatments. Area one is on private land that is not grazed by cattle. Area two is on forest service land and is affected by grazing. The project was possible through the combined efforts of RWEACT and Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration project (RGHRP) and is showing signs of success.

In pictures provided in the study, it is apparent that the test sights are responding well to the soil stabilization treatments. The burn scar is recovering relatively quickly compared to estimated predictions made by several organizations directly connected to the recovery process. The organization reported that areas that received seeding are showing signs of increased vegetation that the plots used for control in the experiment. The area is stabilizing and minimizing soil erosion through the project.

Colorado Wildlife Federation representative Ashley Rust has been in the area for the past two years studying the affects the fire has had on local wildlife, aquatic and insect life, as well as water quality in the tributaries leading to the Rio Grande River. Rust has reported her findings one year after the fire stating, “Most of the damage and fish kills were happening in tributaries surrounded by the burn scar.”

With the help of Professor Terri Hogue and Jackie Randell from the Colorado School of Mines, probes were placed in and around the burn scar to help monitor turbidity within the streams. Officials have reported that it can take up to ten years for an area and its inhabitants to recover from a wildfire. Rust reported that though the streams in and around the burn scar are being affected by high levels of sediment in the water, the Rio Grande River and its inhabitants are both in great shape. Rust and her crew plan to continue monitoring both the main streams and tributaries of the Rio and hope to expand monitoring capabilities to include temperatures, which will aid in future research. The information provided by five of the water quality sensors can be seen online at www.dwr.state.co.us

While beautiful in a tragic way, the burn scar remains very dangerous. Visitors to the area need to heed the warnings issued by local officials. The damaged trees present a risk of falling debris and the area should be avoided on windy days. If venturing to the area, guests should prepare for the worst, being stranded.  Events of falling trees and debris could close off access roads and Guests should also venture to the area prepared to become stranded, should such an event ever occur. Mmost roads leading into the area are limited and may be the only way in and out. Be safe, be aware and enjoy mother natureMother Nature. at her finest.

Winter Luxuries

Ever changing are the seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter; so are the many aspects of winter alone. Surrounded by the Rio Grande National Forest affords many opportunities to get out and explore. Many people thrive on the cold winter months for their discovering opportunities. Snowmobiles, for example, can venture into many places that otherwise cannot be accessed unless by your own two feet. Because snowmobiles traveling on a large amount of snow “leave no mark” they can travel to high peaks and hidden parks, places many of us cannot think to hike into. These hardy winter dwellers flourish with each snow storm, gathering their extra layers of clothes and preparing emergency packs. Emergency packs should be carried by even the most talented and avid snowmobiler. At 9,000 feet (or higher) in elevation, storms can move in fast.

For the slower paced adventurer, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing offer a wide variety of trails. Voyaging at this pace can bring you across the paths of winter at its finest; whether it is animals in their element or a natural wind-blown cave. Ice skating and Creede Curling are also gaining excitement in the area. The City of Creede designated Silver Ice Park in the year 2015 for ice skating ponds and many other winter recreations. This year the park was host to the Tommyknocker Hockey Tournament in January and Cabin Fever Daze in February. The hockey tournament brings in teams from many states and spectators as well. Creede Curling is coming along, with curling stones made from cut bowling balls and cured for the ease of gliding along the ice. The game has been modified for reasons only Creedites may know but it is still fun to watch and more fun to play. Bringing drama to the ice this year was the new Parks and Recreation Department. Heather DeLonga, Director, invited youth and adults alike to join in for fun on the ice by holding the first Ice-capades of the Cabin Fever Daze weekend. Elaborate costumes and dance routines were encouraged and talent was definitely accepted but not required.

Talent could be found though, through the winter months; in a decision to indulge our winter visitors the Creede Repertory Theatre hosted eight productions of the highly attended “Boomtown”. A summer favorite, “Boomtown”, can now be highlighted as a winter attraction as well.  The productions came about during weekends of winter activities including the Hockey Tournament and Cabin Fever Daze. A welcomed extravagance, indeed, as CRT brought life to a quiet street and shared their boisterous antics and laughter with the winter weary locals and visitors.

THE HOLY MOSES

CELEBRATING 40 YEARS

The Holy Moses began as the brainchild of Nick Kulyk and Tom Walters.  The men worked for Homestake Mining Company and by night made their plans to build a log cabin from two sided logs and open a gift shop.  Ivalena Casey, owner of Creede Trading Post just happened to own a section of land to the south of the Trading Post and she gladly leased it to them.

The pair secured a loan at Rio Grande County Bank, but not without a warning from loan officer John Reason, “Gentlemen, my experience has been that a partnership is nothing but a sinking ship.”  This was never forgotten and certainly good advice.

In late August 1976, the foundation was poured and in September a rowdy bunch of volunteer miners easily constructed the log building, completed the roof and porch. That same fall Nick met a school teacher, Vicki,  from Dove Creek and the romance began, little did he know that in the long and short of it, she was to be his partner. With the coming of spring, Tom received word of his fathers deteriorating health and the need to leave Creede for Nevada.

The shop turned a new direction when Nick bought out Tom’s interest. Nick and Vicki planned a late June wedding and began preparation for the shops opening Memorial Day weekend.  The shop had all handmade goods, featuring photography by Nick, sewing ad craft items by Vicki, jewelry, macramé, oven towels, crocheting, wood-burned plaques, and dolls from a variety of friends and family. The couple soon added hand thrown pottery, Christmas ornaments, puzzles and wooden toys made by Vicki’s dad.  As each year passed, the business grew and space became limited.

In the spring of 1987, ten years after opening, the shop was moved uptown to the Creede Drugstore building.  Because the Homestake Mine had closed and there wasn’t a bank to be found willing to loan money for anything in Creede, the West made it possible to purchase the building by carrying the note. The Holy Moses opened at the new address on a sunny day in April.

It soon became apparent that they would need a lot more inventory to fill the new location!  As with any business adding new items and staying informed about current colors and trends is essential. The Kulyk’s also paid attention to the people they lived with alongside. Throughout the years, they made note of their customers’ financial capabilities and stayed consistently affordable with many of their offerings.

On December 1, 2006 everything went back to ground zero when a fire erupted in the wall between Journeys and The Miners and Merchants Bank down the street from The Holy Moses.  The firemen saved the building but all inventories were lost. After the fire, months were spent inventorying useless goods, filing insurance papers, locating another building, ordering and waiting weeks for delivery so another shop could be set up, all the while guiding the restoration of the main street building – a stressful 2007.

In mid October it was moving day and true to Creede’s nature, handfuls of community members showed up to help pack boxes and move. In one day all inventory and furniture were moved, the building cleaned and what took one day to move in, took three weeks to unpack.  The beautiful 1920’s twelve foot showcase, recovered by Nick and nine hours of elbow grease, was now back into its home.

Many lessons have been learned along the way, but to stay in business it takes hard work, grit and determination.  Regardless, if it was trout poisoned in the river, Continental Reservoir drained -making mud pudding of the Rio Grande, 12” of snow in August, the mine closing, a building fire or a forest fire; a business becomes a labor of love and survives by stick-to-it-iveness.

The years have flown by, looking back it has been a great cruise with wonderful generational customers, hardworking employees, and memorable events which keeps this business from becoming a “sinking ship”.

For the love of Creede

By Lyndsie Ferrell

CREEDE- A small mountain town nestled in a valley surrounded by deep forests, high mountain meadows and steep cliffs has become one of Colorado’s ultimate destinations. Creede is a town, rich with history, lore and stories abound. Many have found this place to be an excellent get away, a place where solitude meets adventure and where, when you visit, you find a home away from home.

In the past year Creede has played host for several area conferences, film industries, writer retreats and much more. The town boasts the ability and the resources to make any visiting group feel comfortable and can offer anyone a good time. Businesses, corporations, writers, families and friends have all found something special in the area and have walked away with sweet memories and a hope to return to the area as soon as possible.

After a year of planning and organization, Rural Philanthropy Days kicked off in September of 2015. Creede hosted well over 200 people over three days during the event. Lodging facilities had full beds, restaurants had little room to spare, and Main Street hosted a late afternoon gathering with music, food and camaraderie.

Creede and Mineral County  offer excellent locations for anyone looking to have a unique wedding ceremony. The deep forests surrounding the town are full of enchanted settings for a special occasion. Imagine a soft subtle breeze shuffling wedding lace, as vows are promised beneath some of the oldest trees in the state. A sky of purest blue looks down on a green meadow full of mid-summer wild flowers as two families become one. Steep cliffs tower over hidden scenes, hosting services between two people or large family gatherings.

For those seeking the outdoor wedding options in the area, it is best to speak with local residents and  qualified staff at the Creede and Mineral County Chamber of Commerce for recommendations on locations. The forest service does require a permit for some ceremonies and request that interested parties contact them well in advance for permit applications and regulations. Though the process can take some time, it is rather easy to acquire permits and create a romantically magical ceremony.

Many of the area’s ranches also offer romantic venues. Some offer the seclusion of a private creek, others can grant a cliff side view next to the Rio Grande, and still others can provide cover, tables and chairs. The majority of ranches can offer a unique quality not found elsewhere!  Don’t rule out private homes or community facilities; they, too, can offer specialties like a full bar, dance floor and stages with props.

Not only can you tie the knot in one of Colorado’s oldest communities, but visitors find the area wonderful for family gatherings or reunions. The Creede Community Center is located north of town and offers a rare experience. The center is underground with plenty of event space available under rough rock ceilings, long cave-like passage ways and tunnels that lead visitors through the Creede Mining Museum that is located right next door.

The area offers several activities that can be enjoyed throughout the entire year. From enjoying a winter wonderland by taking an exciting snowmobile ride, to a brisk hike in the mountains during summer months, the area can be enjoyed by everyone no matter what age. Even a drive through the historic mining district will allow the chance to reconnect through an enchanting step back in time.

In the last year, Creede hosted yet another filming operation. It’s the little things in life that sometimes bring about the largest, one loose pebble creates a landslide. Creede is not a stranger to film crews of any kind, as the welcoming little metropolis hosted filmmakers, actors and crew during a portion of the filming of Disney’s The Lone Ranger. The destination offers a wide variety of artistic views for the seeking film industry. Enter, Jason Mamoa, owner of Pride of Gypsies Production, wanting to film his first commercial as a producer. The film crews arrived the first week of February 2015 and  filmed several outdoor segments including Search and Rescue practices, pond hockey, firefighting and horseback riding. Many local people were  used in the filming process! The Carhartt commercial aired several months after production ended and can be seen on YouTube by searching for 2015 Carhartt Force commercial.

No matter what you choose to do in the area, visitors are sure to leave with one thing: memories. Creede is a place that when people leave, they already have plans to return for their next adventure.

At almost 9000 feet in elevation, on a Colorado State Highway that is only 114 miles long, winding through the San Juan Mountain range, you find Creede and Mineral County. With approximately 850 year-round residents and during summer months, a couple thousand, Creede caters to our many visitors with over 17 local restaurants. Those restaurants depend on the expertise of over 15 chefs. You would never expect it.

The restaurants can be found in many places including Creede proper. Let’s start with the historic Creede Hotel. The hotel boasts a history reaching back to the days of the mining boom! Decorated with pictures and items from the days of old, the restaurant provides food and services from their bed & breakfast lodging option to a flat iron steak dinner that will melt you out of your boots. Occasionally, the restaurant owner (and chef) orders sublime delicacies that can be hard to come by in this stretch of the woods. Stop in to treat yourself to a mountain life dinner and enjoy the history surrounding you. The Creede Hotel owner and chef is one of the most successful restaurateurs in the area.

We have a variety of restaurants that vary greatly in cuisine type and ambiance. Muffins and good company with coffee describes the tastes and mood at the corner of Wall Street and Main at Café Ole. Stop in for your muffin, cookies or dine for lunch on the tasty sandwiches, soups and salads. Experience one of the newer eateries on Main Street Creede, Arp’s. Arp’s is named after John Arp; actor, chef, owner. The passion you have seen John display on stage is as evident in his restaurant offerings. Joining the fight with many other Creede-ites, Arp’s is a year-round restaurant offering tastes from across the nation such as the Po’Boy, Chicken And Waffles and Cajun Gumbo. Domestic and international comfort food is their self-described menu.

Just down and around the corner, visit the Tommyknocker Tavern. First, if you don't already know, ask them to explain exactly, “what is a tommyknocker?”. Then if it’s Tuesday ask for their smoked rib special including their special recipe barbeque sauce! Every other day try one of their many sandwiches all made with meats smoked in house as well. You will not be disappointed as their doors are open 365 days a year. Take in the atmosphere inside with the leather walls and 100 year old flooring, or grab your drink and head outside to enjoy the mountainside views from their covered deck. The food is fabulous, the service rocks and if you’re into the nightlife, this is your place.

Another restaurant favorite is Kip’s Grill, offering Baja style tacos, fresh salads, fresh squeezed fruit drinks and an unrivaled view from the Sky Lounge. Live music to charm your afternoon meal is available most days of the summer and winter brings pizza, steak and a menagerie of dining and drink specials for holidays or, well, just because.

The neighborhood café, Mj’s Café, family owned and operated and open the year around, offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Break your fast with the favorite, Wilbur Special; it will settle your cravings and get you ready for your day. Whether it is a day out hiking the trails or a late morning nap, this meal will fit your agenda. Also, keep in mind their Saturday night steaks! Mj’s has daily specials along with their regular menu; both will keep you coming back for more!

Looking for a Mexican cuisine fix? Step into the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere of Cascada Bar and Grill. The wall-side water fall will sooth you to your soul while you feast on the guacamole, salsa and chips. But make sure to leave room for the main meal: tacos, burritos, ensaladas and more for most every palate! The outside seating is comfortable and covered for your afternoon toddy and appetizer.

Want a little more ranch style or even just more mountainous dining options? Creede and Mineral County have them. Take in Antler's Lodge and Riverside Restaurant for your dinner delights. Antler's lies alongside the Rio Grande about 5 miles southwest of Creede. They offer a fine dining option with reasonable pricing in one of the most beautiful settings you will find. Prepare your taste buds for a culinary delight and your other senses for an experience you’ll want to come back for.

 Antler’s isn’t the only outlying restaurant worth mentioning! Being outside of the city brings the ambiance before the food even hits the table with views of the river, creeks, and jagged cliffs. How about the restaurant at Cottonwood Cove with their home style chicken fried steak? The Cove offers a special log cabin atmosphere with comfortable seating and friendly faces. You will find the Cove between South Fork and Creede, right on the highway with easy access. About a mile or so away you find the Blue Creek Lodge and Restaurant. Blue Creek Lodge is a family run business which offers scrumptious steaks, fried chicken and their pies are beyond compare. Stop in here for a blast from the past by visiting the John Wayne room while you wait to be seated.

If you haven’t been told of Freemon’s General Store, you are talking to the wrong people. Freemon’s, about 18 miles southwest of Creede, offers lunch and dinner options to dine in or out. Ask, just about anyone, where to get a good burger and one of the top answers will be “Freemon’s”. They have a small menu and a hassle-free service which allows them to concentrate on what they do great, burgers! Freemon’s is a great pit stop on your way to or from the Rio Grande Reservoir, the water falls or many of the other recreational areas between Creede and Lake City. As the name implies they have more than just great burgers with a small general store carrying supplies for snacks, fishing, hunting, jewelry and hand dipped ice cream.

Feel the need to step up your vacation? Broadacres Ranch and the nationally known 4UR Ranch offer all-inclusive options, with top chefs providing their meals. Let yourself be enchanted by these “ranches with style”! Broadacres can be found about 4 miles southwest of Creede. Next to the Rio Grande, it offers private fishing right from the ranch and made to order 4 course dinners and an alluring breakfast to start your day off. 4UR Ranch is a hidden treasure that can be found on Goose Creek about 8 miles southeast of Creede. With a wild history, the 4UR has been recreated as a top of the line guest ranch that offers its visitors a dining experience not to be rivaled in the area. With numerous chefs showing their expertise of their specific culinary art, the steaks are sublime, the salads are joined with freshly harvested vegetables and the desserts are an exquisite course you will not want to miss.

 So that’s it. Just when you thought all the reasons to visit Creede were exhausted, you just found more. Each restaurant has its food forte but it is always complimented by the scenery, the service, or the location. More restaurant options can be found on page……..

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Creede & Mineral County Visitor Center & Chamber of Commerce

904 S. Main St., PO Box 580
Creede, CO 81130

719-658-2374

Donations are appreciated. As a non-profit organization, we thrive on the kindness and charity of our visitors. Thank you!