Information

  • December 19, 2018 -- A Tale of Two Fires: THe Miollion Fuire and the West Fork COmplex, by Mike Blakeman.

 

  • January 24th, 2019: Paranormal Events in the Sqn Luis Valley, by Thomas Kearns

 

  • Febrauary 27, 2019: Traditional Use of Great Sand Dunes by Native Americans, by Shawn Kelley.

 

  • March 27, 2019: History of the Sociedad Protección Mutua de Trabajadores Unidos (SMPDTU), founded in Antonito, by Roger Briones.

 

  • April 24th, 2019:  Geiod Slope Validation Survey through the SLV, by Derek Van Westrum.

December 19th, 2018, the Colorado Field Institute presents--

A Tale of Two Fires:

The Million Fire and West Fork Complex

by Mike Blakeman

Public Affairs Specialist, U.S. Forest Service, Rio Grande National Forest

 

7 p.m. Wednesday, December 19th, 2018, Porter Hall, Room 130, Adams State University Campus, 208 Edgemont, Alamosa, CO

The Colorado Field Institute invites the public to the first in our exciting winter lecture series for 2018/2019--A Tale of Two Fires: The Million Fire and West Fork Complex, by Mike Blakeman, USFS.  Mike will take a look back at the severity and recovery of the Million Fire and West Fork Complex. The Million Fire was started by a human in 2002, southern Colorado’s driest year on record. It burned over 9,000 acres in mid-elevation forests and destroyed 11 homes east of South Fork. The West Fork Complex was composed of three separate fires that were all started by lightning in 2013. These fires burned more than 109,000 acres in mostly in high elevation, beetle-killed spruce forests. Only one small pump house was lost. This photographic presentation will take a look back at these fires – how they burned; their impact to the land, wildlife and human communities; and how the burned areas and communities have healed over time.

Mike Blakeman is the public affairs specialist for the Rio Grande National Forest. He has lived in the upper Rio Grande for 40 years and worked on both the Million Fire and West Fork Complex. Mike has Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of Maine in Forestry and Soil Science. He is also an avid photographer who likes to spend his free time hiking and camping in the San Juan Mountains. One of Mike’s favorite things to tell people is “I live here on purpose".

Organization details: The Colorado Field Institute is a nonprofit corporation organized in 2005 to promote greater stewardship of the natural and cultural resources within the San Luis Valley. For more information on this event, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website at www.coloradofieldinstitute.org

 

Colorado Field Institute hosts sight-seeing trip to Indian Spring

The Colorado Field Institute (CFI) invites members to a sight-seeing trip to Indian Spring on Saturday, July 21st, 2018. Access to the site is over a four-wheel drive road. If you do not have a four-wheel drive, there should be opportunity to ride with other field trip participants. All field trips are limited to CFI members. If you are not a member, please go to http://www.coloradofieldinstitute.org/membership-sign-up-2018.html. Trip will be limited to 30 participants.

Indian Spring is a unique and rarely seen part of the San Luis Valley. This area provides source water for Big Spring Creek, which forms as water flows out of the sand at the western edge of Great Sand Dunes and continues through the historic Medano Ranch. Big Spring Creek is an example of a gaining stream, a once-common phenomenon in the San Luis Valley that has mostly disappeared due to a decrease in groundwater. The steady water supply at Indian Spring creates an area rich in archeology, wildlife, hydrology, and geology.

Indian Spring is a protected area with restricted access. The Colorado Field Institute has received permission from the National Park Service to lead a field trip to Indian Spring, offering participants a rare opportunity to visit this site. The scheduled speakers are Fred Bunch, Dewane Mosher, and Andrew Valdez, who comprise the scientific staff at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Come join the Colorado Field Institute for a half-day of adventure and learning at Indian Spring!

Confirmed trip members will receive details about logistics for the trip.

Click Here to Register for the Trip

 

 

The Colorado Field Institute is a nonprofit corporation organized in 2005 to promote greater stewardship of the natural and cultural resources within the San Luis Valley. For more information on this event, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Colorado Field Institute hosts sight-seeing trip to Lost Trail Station and East Pole Creek Mountain

The Colorado Field Institute (CFI) invites members to a sight-seeing trip to the East Pole Creek Mountain area on Saturday, September 29, 2018. The group will meet at historic Lost Trail Station on the Upper Rio Grande for a barbeque lunch, provided by the CFI. Access to the site is mostly paved road, although the last 18 miles are over a somewhat rough gravel road, but it is 2WD. From the ranch, the group will hike up to the relatively unknown geode beds on East Pole Creek Mountain, requiring more than a mile of hiking on a mountain trail at relatively high altitude, and weather may be a factor – be prepared.

The Lost Trail Station stage stop was active from 1877-1883, along the stage route from Del Norte to Silverton. The stage stop provided a blacksmith shop, restaurant, hotel and post office for the thousands of miners and entrepreneurs traveling to the mines in the Silverton area prior to the arrival of the railroad there in 1883. In addition to supporting the travelers and pack animals, many tons of mining equipment and supplies were transported through the site. For many years, supplies “broke bulk” at Lost Trail Station, meaning the items had to be transferred from large containers carried in wagons that had to be broken down to small packs that animals could carry as there was no road over the pass to Silverton until late 1879. The Lost Trail Station barn and hotel are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Lost Trail Station site is nestled at the foot of Pole Creek Mountain just to the north. This huge, isolated mass is a long ridge, of which the summit of East Pole Creek Mountain is at an elevation of 13,391feet. Our trip will hike up to the much lower reaches of East Pole Creek Mountain to the relatively unknown geode beds along the flanks of the mountain, below timberline. For those most adventurous, there is a walkable trail to the top, but not for the faint of heart.

This trip is limited to CFI members. If you have not purchased a 2018 CFI membership, please click the Membership Signup link near the top of this page to join CFI. Then return here to sign up for the September 29th field trip. Thank you.

                      Trip registration link   SignMeUp

Organization details: The Colorado Field Institute is a nonprofit corporation organized in 2005 to promote greater stewardship of the natural and cultural resources within the San Luis Valley. For more information on this event, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website at www.coloradofieldinstitute.org

Upcoming winter 2017/2018 lectures

all lectures to be held in Porter Hall, Room 130, Adams State University Campus

 

  • Thursday December 21, Dr. Veronica E. Velarde Tiller, The Jicarilla Apache historical connection to southern Colorado

 

  • Wednesday, Jan 24th:L Dr. Kristi Duran, Plants of the San Luis Valley

 

  • Wednesday, Feb 21st:  Updates on USFS archeology – Angie Krall, USFS Divide Ranger District

     

  • Wednesday, March 28th: NOAA geodetic survey – (Vern, speaker TBD)

 

  • Wednesday, May 2nd: Michelle Lanzoni, waters of the San Luis Valley