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Old 04-25-2011, 05:47 PM
 
Location: The Big CO
198 posts, read 590,386 times
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Default Blue Mesa Reservoir-Gunnison Question???

I have a question about the Gunnison River Valley. I know around Highway 50 in Western Colorado are desert lands once you are a few miles from Montrose all the way into Grand Junction. However, Gunnison and the Blue Mesa Reservoir receive only 9 and 10 inches of rain each, which would qualify desert, especially with the high evaporation rates in CO's dry climate. But, I just have a hard time knowing of they are "High Desert" lands as well. Sometimes, they seem to look pretty high desert, at least when you hit the blue mesa reservoir, but are they??? Or is the Blue Mesa Reservoir area desert lands??? South of Gunnison and the Blue Mesa Reservoir definitely look high desert until you approach the San Juan Mountains and Rio Grande National Forest.

I'll post some pictures of the area, so you can let me know.

BLUE MESA RESERVOIR




http://www.neilpodoll.com/Nature/WWW_Colorado/Colorado_002.jpg (broken link)

GUNNISON


I would say once you hit the Blue Mesa Reservoir, its high desert. But, I wouldn't say Gunnison is high desert, although its close to the high desert in the Gunnison River Valley.
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Old 04-25-2011, 05:53 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
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I guess I would call it high desert. It's pretty arid and devoid of vegetation.
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Old 04-25-2011, 07:26 PM
 
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Technically, Gunnison is located in the "sagebrush steppe" ecological zone--it is considered a desert to semi-desert environment by ecologists. The environment around Gunnison differs from the lower Colorado River desert areas extending roughly from Montrose northward to Grand Junction and westward into Utah (as well as up the Colorado River to around Rifle) in that overall temperatures are colder in Gunnison and the soils less alkaline. Sagebrush itself does not tolerate severely alkaline soils well. Those Colorado River desert areas get from 7"-9" of annual precipitation, the Upper Gunnison valley around 10"-11"--still less precipitation than many "desert" areas in Arizona.

As an aside, the area around Blue Mesa was 10 times more beautiful before Blue Mesa Reservoir was built--a gorgeous river canyon. To give an idea of the depth of the canyon--in the first photo, those bridge piers are something like 180' feet tall--most people driving over that bridge have no clue how deep the water is there. Oh, and all that water stored in Blue Mesa--it's for the benefit of downstream users outside of Colorado--that, and for power generation. The "Aspinall Unit"--Blue Mesa, Crystal, and Morrow Point Dams--are "cash register dams," with the revenue from power generation from them dedicated in the cost-benefit analysis to defray the cost of building Lake Powell--the primary beneficiaries of which are the Lower Basin states of Arizona, southern Nevada, and California. So, Colorado got one of its most beautiful canyons and fisheries dammed up--and the Lower Basin states get all the benefits--great deal, huh?
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Old 05-03-2011, 02:04 PM
 
Location: The Big CO
198 posts, read 590,386 times
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Old 05-04-2011, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
1,520 posts, read 1,332,598 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post

As an aside, the area around Blue Mesa was 10 times more beautiful before Blue Mesa Reservoir was built--a gorgeous river canyon. To give an idea of the depth of the canyon--in the first photo, those bridge piers are something like 180' feet tall--most people driving over that bridge have no clue how deep the water is there. Oh, and all that water stored in Blue Mesa--it's for the benefit of downstream users outside of Colorado--that, and for power generation. The "Aspinall Unit"--Blue Mesa, Crystal, and Morrow Point Dams--are "cash register dams," with the revenue from power generation from them dedicated in the cost-benefit analysis to defray the cost of building Lake Powell--the primary beneficiaries of which are the Lower Basin states of Arizona, southern Nevada, and California. So, Colorado got one of its most beautiful canyons and fisheries dammed up--and the Lower Basin states get all the benefits--great deal, huh?
How long have you been around here? When I was a kid and my grandparents brought me out west in the summer of 1959 and then again in the summer of 1960, one of the things we did was drive into the canyon on the old railroad bed, which had become a road. I remember driving over one of the old trestles, and also remember when we eventually couldn't go any further because my grandfather's Bucik Invicta finally couldn't fit between two boulders along the road.

I know the section we drove is underwater, but a few years ago when I watched the video at the visitor center, I saw the one bridge that I have a still photo of...but I assume that is also underwater. The section we drove is not just the section where you can still drive to where the old train is on an old smaller trestle...we went much further than that.
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Old 05-04-2011, 01:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phetaroi View Post
How long have you been around here? When I was a kid and my grandparents brought me out west in the summer of 1959 and then again in the summer of 1960, one of the things we did was drive into the canyon on the old railroad bed, which had become a road. I remember driving over one of the old trestles, and also remember when we eventually couldn't go any further because my grandfather's Bucik Invicta finally couldn't fit between two boulders along the road.

I know the section we drove is underwater, but a few years ago when I watched the video at the visitor center, I saw the one bridge that I have a still photo of...but I assume that is also underwater. The section we drove is not just the section where you can still drive to where the old train is on an old smaller trestle...we went much further than that.
I never got to ride through the canyon--the county road that was on the old railroad grade was closed by the first time I visited that area (and I was just a pretty little kid, too, but I remember the trip). A friend of mine gave me a great set of slides he took in the late 1950's of the road through the entire canyon along the railroad grade. He also gave me some prints of slides another fellow had given him taken from a freight train in the canyon in 1940. Another fellow I know grew up in Sapinero--the "old Sapinero" flooded by Blue Mesa. He has some neat pictures of all of it before the reservoir. As far the railroad bridges down in the canyon, I believe that the Bureau of Reclamation removed them for scrap before the reservoir was filled. That was their typical practice.
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Old 05-20-2011, 12:31 PM
 
Location: The Big CO
198 posts, read 590,386 times
Reputation: 144
I am done with this forum. I posted a great thread about the top ten sunniest states, and for some unknown reason...they deleted it. People said it was a great thread with great pics and the editors here deleted it. If stuff like that is going to happen on this forum, I will not participate. Good day.
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Old 05-20-2011, 02:04 PM
 
17,114 posts, read 23,451,970 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CO.Native.SW View Post
I am done with this forum. I posted a great thread about the top ten sunniest states, and for some unknown reason...they deleted it. People said it was a great thread with great pics and the editors here deleted it. If stuff like that is going to happen on this forum, I will not participate. Good day.
This forum is about RELOCATION. For Colorado.

Pretty travelogues about ten different states, and having no info about relocation into Colorado, belong in the General USA forum, which is where I moved it. You can find it there. If you want to close your account, let me know, I can make that happen too.
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