Elk Herd near Tercio and Stonewall

We had the chance to visit one of our most favorite places in Las Animas County just last week on May 24, 2008 and that is going down the valley towards Tercio. It was only about 3 pm but he Elk were in plain site just hanging out near the tall Ponderosa Pines. There were two groups with one smaller than the other, this was the larger herd.


Elk Herd near Tercio and Stonewall in Las Animas County, west of Trinidad

Hope you Enjoy!


Charlie and Barbara
Adobe Gold Properties


**Share your local photos with Trinidadco.com by using the contact us link.

Fears rise in Canada over coalbed methane drilling

Coal Bed Methane Coming to our Neighbours Yard?

What Does Coalbed Methane Development Mean For You?

Just as we have put the possibility of a of a coal powered electrical generating plant in Princeton to rest, Petro Bank returns and is resuming exploration for coal bed methane. As the Similkameen Aquifer is common to all communities in the Similkameen valley, we need to understand what exploration and implementation of CBM may mean to this valley and its water supply.

What is Coalbed Methane (CBM)

Coalbed methane is gas trapped in coal deposits. It is the same type of gas you might burn in your kitchen range. However, unlike conventional natural gas, getting coalbed methane out of the ground is a risky business and can have a negative impacts on land and water.

There is currently no coalbed methane production in B.C. In 2003, the Union of BC Municipalities passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on CBM development.

CBM extraction

To extract coalbed methane, numerous wells must be drilled into the coal deposit. Because coalbed methane is usually spread out over a large area, more wells are typically required than for conventional gas development. British Columbia law does not limit the density of coalbed methane wells. A network of roads, pipelines and compressor stations are necessary to connect the wells.

“Produced water”

When a developer drills a well to extract the gas, a lot of water comes is extracted. This water, called “produced water” by the industry, often contains high salt levels and occasionally heavy metals. It is considered wastewater under federal law. Disposal of this wastewater can have disastrous consequences for agricultural land, drinking water supply, and fish and wildlife.

In B.C., the disposal of produced water is governed by the Produced Water Code of Practice, which is enforced by the Oil and Gas Commission.

Methane in drinking water

Drilling and “fraccing” (a process used to increase the flow of gas underground) can lead to methane seeping into drinking water aquifers.

Methane in drinking water

Drilling and “fraccing” (a process used to increase the flow of gas underground) can lead to methane seeping into drinking water aquifers.

CBM and your private land

If a company wants to drill for coalbed methane on your private land, there is nothing you can do to stop them. This is because as a landowner, you own the surface rights, not the rights to sub-surface minerals and gases.

CBM and private land

Because under law private land owners hold only the surface rights to their properties, there is nothing to stop coalbed methane companies such as Petro Bank from drilling for gas on your private land. While land owners can negotiate compensation, such payments are often minimal when considering the land degradation associated with CBM development

Studies have shown CBM development causes private land values to drop. A study in La Plata Colorado showed a 20 percent drop in value for property with wells on it, while an Alberta study showed a 10 percent drop in property values in the vicitinity of CBM development.

CBM and fish

Little is known about the impact of CBM development on fish such as salmon. However, a study conducted in B.C.’s Elk Valley showed that treated wastewater from a CBM test well was fatal to rainbow trout.

CBM in other places

The coalbed methane industry has a poor track record elsewhere in North America.

In Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, where there are now some 14,000 wells, coalbed methane development has contaminated ranchers’ water supplies, degraded agricultural land, and industrialized a previously rural landscape.

When the industry moved into Alberta, residents were promised the Wyoming experience would not be repeated. However, Alberta landowners are now having many of the same problems.

To learn more about Coalbed Methane check these websites. If you do not have a computer, visit a friend with one and check them together.


www.pembina.org follow the links to CBM

We are planning a public meeting with a presentaion by Karen Cambell from the Pembina Institute for May 27 or 29. Karen will be giving the same presentation in Princeton on May 29, 7PM at the Legion Hall. Karen will be accompanied by Gilles Wendling, Hydrologist to discuss the effects CBM may have on aquifers.

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Do you want to Comment on the Pinon Canyon Expansion?

The Pinon Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition will give the public an opportunity to comment on the proposed expansion just prior to the Army’s scoping hearings on the new environmental impact statement it is preparing that will evaluate bringing more troops to Fort Carson. Both sets of hearings will be held Tuesday through Thursday in Trinidad, Colorado Springs and La Junta.

Read the Rest of the Story >>>>

Fish at Risk from CBM Drilling in Canada

THE GROWING battle over Shell Canada’s plans to drill for coalbed methane natural gas in the Klappan area north of here ramped up yesterday with the release of a report by an environmental group stating salmon could be put at risk.

The Alberta-based Pembina Institute, which is now establishing itself in B.C., says the number of wells and subsequent roads and infrastructure required to extract coalbed methane natural gas leave a large footprint on the earth’s surface.

“Land clearing can change the patterns and intensity of runoff, increasing erosion. This can lead to muddier streams and destruction of spawning habitat. Groundwater removal, even when it occurs deep underground, can change the flow and temperature of streams,” the institute said in a May 15 release.

That’s crucial to northwest salmon because the Klappan contains the headwaters of the Skeena, Nass and Stikine rivers, it adds.

Coalbed methane natural gas can also be kept underground by pools of water, requiring that water to be first pumped out so the gas can then be released. And that could change the patterns and characteristics of above ground streams, says the institute.

The institute urges the provincial government to find out a whole lot more about coalbed methane.

Shell drilled three wells in the Klappan in 2004 and is planning a return this year to drill more to determine if there is a commercially viable quantity of coalbed methane natural gas.

Those first wells did not produce any underground water and determining if there is any is on the project list for this year, company officials say.

The Klappan is in the traditional territory of the Tahltan and segments of the Tahltan community oppose Shell’s plans, saying the the area is too environmentally sensitive to allow any industrial activity.

Shell is now finishing up repairs on an access road into the area and says it wants to resume drilling in the fall.

It has already faced a blockade of that access road by members of a Tahltan group called the Klabona Keepers, resulting in court appearances.

The Pembina Institute traces its roots to 1982 in Alberta when a public movement began for better industrial safety standards after a sourgas leak killed two people.


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Rancher Questions Water Quality Affected by CBM

Rancher questions Tongue water quality

Tongue River rancher Mark Fix got his barley planted early this year and hooked up his circle pivot for irrigation. The barley needs moisture to get started, he said. But Fix was reluctant to irrigate with Tongue River water.

"The way the water quality was, I was a little afraid to put it on," he said.

Fix, who is past chairman of the Northern Plains Resource Council and chair of its coalbed methane task force, said there were significant increases in measures of salts in the river during March and April as recorded by a monitor in the Tongue at the Wyoming border near Decker.

Fix believes that the water was exceeding Montana’s federally approved nondegradation rules for indicators of salinity. And he suspects that discharges to tributaries of the Tongue in Wyoming could be the cause.

Then late last week, southeastern Montana received moisture from a snowstorm along with some rain.

While the rain may have eased Fix’s immediate worries, the issue remains. Fix outlined his concerns in a letter last week to Richard Opper, director of the Department of Environmental Quality.

Art Hayes Jr., president of the Tongue River Water Users Association, also has contacted DEQ and has told his irrigators that it could take several weeks before fresh water from runoff into the Tongue reservoir improves water quality.

DEQ, however, said NPRC is misunderstanding how the department administers the nondegradation rules and that it is comfortable with Wyoming’s approach to permitting pending a legal challenge to Montana’s standards in federal court.

Nevertheless, DEQ has contacted Wyoming about the high salinity levels.

Art Compton, DEQ’s director of the Planning, Prevention and Assistance Division, said this week that for the past two years, Montana has checked with Wyoming after seeing above-normal levels of salinity for the flow rates in the Tongue in the spring.

Wyoming has found nothing in its water management that would cause the salinity other than perhaps a first flush of salts from stream banks, Compton said. As flows increase and stabilize with runoff, salinity decreases, he said.

Salinity concentrations in the Tongue this past week have decreased to nearly half of what they were in late March, while flows have almost doubled, according to information from the U.S. Geological Survey monitor at the border.

The concerns of NPRC and the irrigators center on water quality standards they supported to protect rivers and streams in southeastern Montana from discharges of water produced by drilling for coalbed methane. The natural gas is produced by drilling into coal seams and pumping to the surface large volumes of groundwater to release the gas. The water in the northern portion of the Powder River Basin tends to run high in sodium, which can damage certain plants and soils.

In 2006, the Montana Board of Environmental Review designated salinity indicators as harmful and applied a nondegradation policy that requires developers to get approval if they want to pollute or degrade rivers and streams. The nondegradation policy protects high-quality water, like the Tongue River.

In 2003, the board adopted numeric standards for sodium and salt indicators but exempted them from its nondegradation policy. The 2006 action repealed that exemption and narrowed the opportunity to discharge salty water into rivers and streams. The numeric standards and the numeric nondegradation limits are separate but complementary components of the state’s water quality program.

Developers and Wyoming are challenging Montana’s standards in federal court in Wyoming. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency in February approved Montana’s 2006 nondegradation rules. EPA’s approval makes Montana’s rules applicable to adjacent states under the Clean Water Act.

Compton said the nondegradation rules are used in calculating discharge limits in permits.

"It is strictly permit math," he said.

None of Montana’s three permits for coalbed methane discharges includes nondegradation limits for salinity because they were issued before the rule was adopted, he said. But those limits will be added upon renewal and will be in new permits.

Compliance with nondegradation limits in the Tongue will be an issue if a developer’s discharge exceeds the limit set in a permit, Compton said, but "we’re not there yet."

While the border monitor showed higher levels of salinity before runoff, the levels were within the numeric standard, Compton said. "That is legal," he said.

Wyoming will not be issuing permits that exceed Montana’s nondegradation limits and has assured Montana it will not worsen the Tongue’s water quality while the legal dispute continues in court, Compton said.

"Wyoming has been very cautious on the Tongue," he said. "We’ve made it clear to Wyoming their permit math has to be driven by nondegradation criteria as well."

Wyoming’s approach is the most stringent application of nondegradation rules, Compton said.

Wyoming also has had few direct discharges to the Tongue. Most of its water management is through reservoirs in tributary channels, Compton said. But, he added, there is much to learn about the effects of impounding water. "We’re concerned about that," he said.

Of The Billings Gazette Staff

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Looking for a Storage Shed?

Adobe Gold Properties is now your local representative for the quality Amish Built Pro Shed’s out of Alamosa and you will find our local information at www.TrinidadProShed.com . Pro Shed are built in their climate controlled manufacturing facility in Alamosa.

Adobe Gold Properties has been recommending to their customers for years now that one of the best ways to enjoy their Colorado Mountain Property is to put up a small shed to camp in. These are really just sheds with windows and maybe a loft and porch, and they are permitted as a shed also which makes it easy. Here are some of our displays located near BigR in Trinidad just off of Exit 15

The green roofed cabin on the right is an example of a Camping Cabin and we have more information on our new webpage at ColoradoCampingCabins.com

Camping Cabins come in sizes from 10 x 12 up to 12 x 40 and larger if you want. They are open on the inside with no plumbing or electrical. These sheds are built on pressure treated skids so they can be transported. And in Las Animas County a liveable structure has to be at least 600 sq feet in order to install plumbing and electrical and it would need to be put on a permanent foundation, which these are not.

Transporting a small Cabin with Board and Batten siding.

Speaking of types of siding you can choose from T-111, Metal, Board and Batten or Log Siding. Pro Shed also offers a full log or 6 x 6 chinked model to. So from first conception you can decide on the perfect size, the siding, insulation, interior drywall or paneling or unfinished, windows, doors and even add a loft. So many choices.

Plus of course Pro Shed offers Dutch Barns, Mini Barns and other Storage Sheds in addition.

Contact Trinidad Pro Shed at 719-422-3211 Today or see us online at Trinidad Pro Shed and ColoradoCampingCabins.com

Earth Mountain Education Farm Open House

Earth Mountain Education Farm

Open House

May 17th and 18th 11am

Children’s activities                  Build a Medicine Wheel Garden
Organic gardening                              Renewable energy
Pot Luck                                                  Drum Circle

Camping available on site

Directions: Hwy 12 to Weston. Make right onto County Road 31.9 (Wet Canyon Rd.). Go 15 miles , look for Earth Mtn. Sign, make a left -after 2nd gate make your second right. Look for the tipis.

Bring sun hats, sunscreen, instruments, a dish.



Living simple so others may simply live!

Oil and Gas Code Hearing in La Plata County Thursday May 8th

La Plata County has been a frontrunner for Property Owner Rights when it comes to the Oil and Gas Industry and in case you are interested they are having a County Planning Commission Public Hearing on this Thursday May 08, 2008 at 6 pm at the La Plata County Courthouse. They will be dealing with issues such as Keeping their County Clean, Disclosure of the Chemicals Used at the Gas Well Sites and Impacts to Neighbors among other issues.






















6:00 P.M.





JOSH JOSWICK 259-3583 X212

[email protected]

Trinidad High band marching to Washington – if they can raise cash

Trinidad High band is invited to Washington for July Fourth parade


TRINIDAD – The Trinidad High School band knows a thing or two about distance.

The musicians’ raucous art is defined by it – the space between notes, the required gap between marchers, the lines on the football field that dictate their movements, even the distance of a kickoff during the homecoming game, when they hold a trainlike blast on their instruments while the ball is in flight.

They’re also acutely aware of one other distance: the 1,494 miles between this town on the southern edge of Colorado to Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C.

That’s where the 63 kids of the marching Miners hope to be strutting July Fourth. The high school band is one of 18 nationwide invited to perform in the annual National Independence Day Parade.

But to march down that avenue playing "Spirit of America," a medley that includes "America the Beautiful" and "God Bless America," the band and its boosters need to come up with cash – fast.

Despite nearly a year of fundraising, the band has raised just half the $77,000 needed to cover the cost of the trip for the teens and 14 chaperones.

Raising that kind of money is no small feat in this quintessential Western town of 9,000 people, whose fortunes rise and fall with the mining industry. Gas drilling in the area has meant an upswing in job hiring, locals say.

State and federal statistics, however, show Trinidad residents struggle with persistent problems: The median household income in the town in 2000, the latest year for which statistics were available, was $26,681, slightly more than half of the statewide median of $50,105 for the same period. Eighteen percent of Trinidad residents live in poverty, double that of El Paso County. And the number of births to teens ages 15 to 17 in Las Animas County is nearly twice the state average.

Many of the teens in the marching band come from low-income families, some headed by single moms or grandmothers. Some in the band, said band mom and booster Kristi Zehr, are mothers and fathers themselves, already saddled with grown-up burdens.

These are kids who are intimately familiar with the ephemeral meaning of distance, that often heartbreaking gap between want and need, between dreams and reality.

"Most of them are probably going to wind up going to junior college and staying here their entire lives. That’s what their parents did," said Zehr, who moved to Trinidad 14 years ago with husband David. She takes care of the band’s 10-year-old light-and-dark blue uniforms, two of which clothe son Ben, a freshman trumpet player, and daughter Elizabeth, a junior who plays flute and piccolo.
Mike Curro, the band director and a Trinidad native, is passionate about getting "my kids" to the nation’s capital because he suspects the horizon for many of them is as narrow as the geographic horizon in town.

Trinidad is nestled in a narrow valley, bisected by the Purgatoire River and flanked by a towering mesa to the east, Fisher’s Peak, and a knoll to the west called Simpson’s Rest, where a town founder is buried.

"When I was growing up, there wasn’t a building downtown that didn’t have a board on it," said Curro, a slight man in his mid-30s who sought refuge from the trauma of his parents’ divorce in the band room.

"This place," he said, waving his hand around a room with well-used instruments and a wall of trophies and finalist flags, "saved my life."

Curro, who attended the University of Northern Colorado before returning as a police officer, said gas drilling has brought some economic relief to Trinidad and opened possibilities for kids once they graduate.

He knows, though, things change slowly – and for some, never – in this small town.

Many kids in the band have never traveled out of state or flown in an airplane.

"Maybe they’ll never do anything like this again in their lives. Maybe they’ll never travel outside the state again," Curro said. "This is a big deal for kids who don’t have a lot of opportunities."

It certainly is a big deal for Ashley Tamburelli, 16, who plays the clarinet in the marching band and the community band Curro helps lead.

Tamburelli, one of those who has never flown before, is excited about marching in front of more than 300,000 people including, she hopes, the president.

All the kids in the band have tried to raise money for the trip, holding yard sales, cleaning windows at the local museum and for Main Street businesses and hawking Butter Braid, a frozen pastry dough.

Tamburelli went door to door to sell 800 boxes of the dough, raising close to $2,000, making her the band’s top fundraiser.

She said the trip is important. It will give her a glimpse of the outside world, one she might not get again soon.

"I’ve lived my whole life here," Tamburelli said. "It’s OK. It’s a little small, but it’s big enough for me."

Tamburelli thinks she’ll go to Trinidad State Junior College, a picturesque campus on a hillside on the west side of town that offers certificates in practical jobs such as cosmetology, heavy-equipment operation and gunsmithing along with more traditional academic subjects.

"I have a lot of people here," she said. "My mom and I are very close, and I’d hate to leave her."

Brandon Pingel, who plays sousaphone, said the trip is important for more than just the band members.

"We love our marching band. It’s part of the pride for this town. Us going to D.C. just proves it to the nation."

Longtime Mayor Joe Reorda, 73, said a lot of new people have moved into Trinidad recently because of the natural gas drilling. But at its core, the city is a close-knit community made up of descendants of miners who flocked to nowshuttered coal mines at the turn of the century.

"At one time, we used to say if someone cut their finger, everyone cried," said Reorda, once principal of Trinidad High School.

The town has pitched in to help the kids get to D.C. The police, sheriff and mayor sponsored a car wash, and the mayor is thinking about putting on a talent show.

A recent raffle for a Harley-Davidson motorcycle – financed by a local auto dealer – raised the single biggest chunk of cash, $13,000. There are donation jars on the counters of many stores.

And a fancy new golf and housing development in scenic Cougar Canyon east of town plans to give some of the proceeds of an upcoming golf tournament to the marching band.

But with an early June deadline for telling the travel agency how many band members and chaperones will be going, the fundraising has stalled.

The band has raised enough to go if every member could pay half the cost of their airfare and lodging, about $500, but Curro said that’s impossible for many of the kids – and tough even for some of the chaperones.

He and Reorda vow they’ll get the band to D.C. somehow. They want the marching Miners to highstep down that broad avenue, hearing the cheers of a massive crowd as they pump out a brassy, booming melody.

It will be a memory they can carry the rest of their lives, the two said.

"I don’t know if the kids can grasp the importance of this at their age," Curro said. "But I’m going to keep pushing. This is our family.

"I want them to have this experience."

CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0197 or [email protected]


The Trinidad High School Marching Band has received an invitation to perform at the National Independence Day Parade in Washington, D.C., on July Fourth.

The band has collected about half the $77,000 needed to fly and house 63 band members and 14 chaperones.

To donate: Band Director, Mike Curro at Trinidad High School, 816 West St, Trinidad, CO 81082

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