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Preserve a national treasure

Dear Editor:This is in reference to the proposed ground that the Fort Carson Military base plans to add to its military operation in southeastern Colorado between Trinidad, LaJunta and Las Animas.The Dougherty Ranch is one of the more scenic areas in Colorado. In fact, the Purgatory River is chucked with archeological and prehistoric relics. In fact, the longest dinasour tracks in the world are found in the river bottom. There are ruts from the freight wagons of the old Sante Fe Trail, and several stage coach stops throughout the whole area. It’s such a fancinating area.I can show you the remains of huge prehistoric vertebrae as large as washtubs. You can see where the spinal cord ran through the vertebrae. There are huge petrified whales. Nearby is the remains of the headquarters of the old JJ Ranch, formerly the Prairie Cattle Company. They drove cattle from Texas to Montana. There only remains one of the huge leather bond gold embossed ledgers from the later 1800 century. It is in the museum in LaJunta.Spanish Conquistidor’s armour and blunderbuss were found in a cave near Higby along the Purgatory. They are shown at the Colorado History Museum in Denver.As a child, I saw an Indian Sky Burial with remains of bones, leather and beads . The skull of the Indian’s horse hung from the framework. Remaining Indians in the area must have still practiced this burial procedure as late as the 1930’s. There are teepee rings and the remains of Indian Villages overlooking the Pergatory River. A huge prehistoric bear and cub were excavated out of the rock on the edge of the Pergatory. They are at the Colorado Museum of History in Denver. Nearby are many Indian writings on the canyon walls.The people in Trinidad wanted the Dougherty Ranch to become a Colorado State Park. There is a nautural cistern, and Kit Carson’s name and many historical names arecarved on the walls. It can only be reached by climbing ladders. There is a wonderful pool of water with natural rock slides that people enjoy. The Old Rourke Ranch is very scenic and historical. Most of the old timers lived in dugouts, adobe or rock houses, beautifully decorated with Mexican or Indian rugs and lots of Indian relics.We have spent the winters in Arizona for many years. There is nothing in Arizona as beautiful as Pinon Canyon, the Pergatory River, the Dougherty Ranch with the exception of Sedona, Ariz. Unfortunately, Sedona should have been made a national park.President Clinton made the Escalante Staircase in Utah a national refugee. The area that the Fort Carson Military base is confiscating is even more fascinating. The ground is so fragile. The tanks will destroy a national treasure.Fredrick Remmington visited the area and did some of his western sketchs in the area.Please preserve a national treasure.Winifred RichardsonGlenwood Springs


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