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Hidden Gems will neglect the garden

Out on a Limb
Ross L. Talbott
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Let’s imagine that I found a beautiful piece of jewelry and gave it to my wife. What if she then hid it in a drawer and only took it out occasionally to admire herself in the mirror?

I would probably have a mixed response. On the one hand I would appreciate that she found it to be so special that she didn’t want to risk wearing it publically.

On the other hand, I would be really disappointed that she would not show it off to others and express her gratitude to me.



Let’s call this selfish action “hidden gems.”

I have traveled in Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria and other beautiful places of mountains, rivers and lakes. No place that I have been has a more beautiful “gem” than Colorado’s Grand Mesa.



I can sit on the deck of my cabin and watch the sun rise across a beautiful alpine lake.

This is just one of some 300 lakes full of trout and home to ducks and myriad wildlife. A family of foxes dwells under my neighbor’s cabin, and deer wander through my flowers (wildflowers).

The beauty of this magnificent area is beyond description. In summer the lakes sparkle, multicolored flowers bloom and the hillsides are lush green.

The well-managed forest is not decimated by beetle kill like the neglected and devastated areas around Vail.

The air at 13,000-plus-feet altitude is crisp and delicious.

The view from either north or south rims is delightful. In some places you can see all the way south to Lone Cone Peak, down by Durango and over to the LaSal Mountains in Utah.

Land’s End is stunning. Feed the chipmunks out of your hand at the cliffs edge and look down on thunderstorms passing over Grand Junction.

The Craig Crest Trail is seven miles of stunning views and beauty.

Whistle pigs and conies in the rock piles are fun to watch.

There are many private cabins and four lodges that rent cabins, serve beautiful meals and have both four wheelers and snowmobiles to rent.

Much of the area is accessible by ATV. Also, the fishing is really good in the many lakes.

These lakes have been expanded and provide not only beauty and recreation, but really high quality domestic and irrigation water to seven Western Colorado towns in the valleys below.

Camper areas and campgrounds enable thousands of people to enjoy the beautiful area.

Youth camps at the Grand Mesa Christian Association on Baron Lake offer hundreds of children a great experience both physically and spiritually.

And all of what I said so far is just summertime; think of the golden beauty of Aspen trees in the fall.

There is deep snow (six feet and more) in winter with incredible cross country skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing.

The kids build snow caves and snow castles while the parents dig down several feet just to get the cabin door open.

I have just taken a broad sweep describing a fantastic resource of water, cattle grazing and wildlife habitat.

There are deer, moose, elk, coyotes, foxes and all sorts of animal and plant life sharing together with humans on this beautiful gem of a mountain.

Seventy percent of Garfield County is so called “public land,” and about 8 percent is roads and rivers. Human habitat is a small portion.

Do we want a small group of selfish people locking up more of this beautiful land and calling anyone who gets off the trail a “bushwhacker”?

WE can lock it up, let it burn, let the beetles kill the timber and put coyotes, wolves and lions in to devastate the wildlife.

On the other hand we can make it a shared gem like Grand Mesa with wonderful benefits to us all.

The first command God gave to man as found in Genesis was to “tend the garden.”

Which is better, tend or neglect?

Ross L. Talbott lives in New Castle.


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