Friends of Graneros Gorge

Photo Courtesy of Bob Dorr
click photo to enlarge

Graneros Gorge is located just east of Exit 71 on I-25. After you exit follow the Graneros Gorge sign to the north and take the frontage road. The road will turn right onto a rather unimproved dirt road which can be best driven on with a four wheel drive vehicle.

The archaelogical significance of the Graneros Gorge and surrounding area is profound. The area has been documented as a prehistoric site (Bellwood site AD 395 - 505. Wikipedia) and is listed in the Pre-Historic Site List in Colorado. An archaeological dig carried out in the area indicated the early inhabitants were of the "woodland and plains culture", and were present sometime before 1250 AD (Prof Arnold Withers of Denver University). Further archaeolgical discovery was made when a skull was unearthed. On additional visits scattered skeletal bones thought to be from the original crypts were found supporting disclosure of what was believed to be an old Indian burial ground. Prof William G. Buckles, head of the Anthropology Department of Southern Colorado State College, investigated the area after a partial skeleton was found. Speculation was that the crypt of Comanche Chief Cuerno Verde and his tribesman man have been discovered (Pueblo Chieftain 1967).

Wildlife abounds in the Gorge including antelope, deer, mountain lions, bear, hawks, falcons and eagles. In addition to the wildlife, cattle frequently graze the bottom of the Gorge and snakes have free roaming rights. Birds of prey, seen at the Gorge, are protected by state and federal laws with stiff penalties for disturbing them. Disturbing them includes scaring them off by firing weapons (which can not be fired legally at the Gorge).

The land to the west of Graneros Gorge and over the hill to the north consists of about 2,000 SOLD residential lots on which homes have not been built. It is NOT vacant land. That area has a potential population of 3,000 to 5,000 residents who already own their land. District 70 owns land for a school in that development. Except for about 25 acres, the land at the bottom of the Gorge is almost all privately owned, including the north and south entrances. If you attempt to hike in the bottom of the Gorge, or climb down into the Gorge, you are trespassing.

The Pueblo Area Council of Governments in a 2002 report specifically identified the Graneros Gorge as one of three areas in the county that needs to be protected and preserved and that should remain an open space. In spite of that guidance, the Metro District is considering leasing and fencing off the park so it can be used as a shooting range. We have no problem with a shooting range in the Colorado City area. We do have a problem with it being located at Graneros Gorge Park, a place where families go to be with nature. It is a place where you will see people horseback riding, hiking, picnicking, photographing nature and enjoying the wildlife. This area has been advertised as a park and visitor site in real estate sales brochures, in The Greenhorn Valley Guide and the Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway publication.

The National Park System is closing down the shooting ranges in their parks to stop the disruption to the wildlife created by the ranges. The Audobon Society has written a strong letter to the Colorado City Metro District Board in support of our efforts to keep the range out of the Graneros Gorge Park area, a letter that points out that there are heavy state and federal fines that can be levied because of the disruption to wildlife in the area.

If you agree that the park should remain open to public use, free of all the disruption a shooting range creates, please sign the petition below to stop the Colorado City Metro District from leasing the land for the range.

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