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Old 08-25-2007, 12:08 AM
 
4,749 posts, read 8,462,643 times
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Default The Great Plains

To all you new pioneers who come to Colorado expecting mountains and trees--Denver is on the western part of the great plains. It is not in the mountains. Colorful Colorado Begins in the east on the plains.

So many people talk about the mountain view but to me the view of the plains and the grasslands is the view I like. I like the brown; I like the flatness; I like the dryness.; I like the long wide distant view; I like the open blue skies. Yes, I like the other name which describe semi-arid Colorado better "The Great American Desert".

I like the people of the Plains. Looking at population, Colorado should be described as the "Great City of the Western Plains". The "Rocky Mountain State" is to the few who live there but most of us, most of the time, live our lives on the expanse of the plains.

So keep in mind, when you come here, yes, the mountains are beautiful; the mountains are a destination for recreation; yes the mountains are a wonderful home to some; but, it is the plains that will be the home to most of you, the new pioneers. You will populate expanding growth in the cities and suburbs, which are on the plains. There are many smaller towns and cities and they will be home to you and your children and these will be Sterling, Ft. Morgan, La Junta, Burlington, Lamar, Bennet, Byers etc.

The Plains population, industry, and algricuture cannot live or grow without the sustenance of water from the mountains and that is the real importance of the mountains to many who come here. The low humidity, mild climate is only possible with the shields of the mountains.

My memory of my first trip to the Colorado Plains is my first view of tumbling weed. When I saw a item fall from a truck, and land on the side of road; I had to stop; I had to get it; it was my first look at a sugar beet. The wheat fields to the horizon made me ecstatic. I cannot forget my first smell of the manure piles of Greeley, Ah, what a odor--this to me is the perfume of Colorado.

The Great Plains is more endangered than any threat to the mountains because by far more people will settle on the plains. The future growth for Colorado will continue to be the Great Plains.

My nightmare is: the lost of algricultural water rights to the people and their obsession with lawns is the enemy of the Great Plains. I have a house on the plains and I will not grow a lawn because I am in battle with this enemy.
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Old 08-25-2007, 12:45 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
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Great post overall, livecontent, and so true. A poster on this forum (who has now been kicked off city-data.com) once said that the true Coloradans are flatlanders, not mountain men. So true. Just one thing about what you said that I think is incorrect:
Quote:
Originally Posted by livecontent View Post
The Great Plains is more endangered than any threat to the mountains because by far more people will settle on the plains. The future growth for Colorado will continue to be the Great Plains.
The Great Plains is actually losing population. Many really small towns are becoming ghost towns. And people are not exactly flocking to Sterling and La Junta. Those will always be true authentic small towns. Front Range urbanization is certainly a factor, but the shape of the sprawl is more north-to-south along I-25, than going out east. Now, agriculture on the Great Plains might be in danger, sure. Personally, I think the areas that have remained as wilderness, such as the plains of SE Colorado just east of Trinidad and Walsenburg, and the Pawnee and Comanche National Grasslands, are much more scenic and awe inspiring than irrigated farms. Industrial agriculture, though a necessary part of how we eat, just doesn't "turn me on."
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Old 08-25-2007, 01:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
Great post overall, livecontent, and so true. A poster on this forum (who has now been kicked off city-data.com) once said that the true Coloradans are flatlanders, not mountain men. So true. Just one thing about what you said that I think is incorrect:

The Great Plains is actually losing population. Many really small towns are becoming ghost towns. And people are not exactly flocking to Sterling and La Junta. Those will always be true authentic small towns. Front Range urbanization is certainly a factor, but the shape of the sprawl is more north-to-south along I-25, than going out east. Now, agriculture on the Great Plains might be in danger, sure. Personally, I think the areas that have remained as wilderness, such as the plains of SE Colorado just east of Trinidad and Walsenburg, and the Pawnee and Comanche National Grasslands, are much more scenic and awe inspiring than irrigated farms. Industrial agriculture, though a necessary part of how we eat, just doesn't "turn me on."
Yes, you are right. There is a loss of population, in the plains and in many areas have less people than the great depression days. I am looking in the future when the growth will extend beyond the corridors along the front range, toward the east, because there will not be the growth toward the mountains in the west. many of these authentic small towns will grow and change; I see a repopulation of the plains.

It is good of you to point out that there are great views to see in the Grasslands and newcomers should visit these noble places. I was also trying to point out that too many people who come here, initially, do not realize the vastness of the plains and only think of the mountains. The irrigated farmlands of the plains should not be sacrificed to the wasteful growing of lawns. I find beauty in the farms and ranches because that is a utilization of nature that is necessary and it is a grand part of the Colorado Heritage.
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Old 08-25-2007, 02:28 PM
 
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The Colorado plains boomed in population during the late 1880's through WWI, as "modern" farming practices proliferated. Those people found out the hard way that they had exceeded the "carrying capacity" of the land during the Dust Bowl of the 1930's. The population then declined, rebounding some with the development of well irrigation, most of it from the Ogallala acquifer. With that source now in slow decline, many of those irrigated acres will go back to dryland farming or rangeland in the coming decades. That makes the diversion of surface water iirrigation supplies from the South Platte drainages and Arkansas River drainages for lawn irrigation all the more criminal. Within not too many years, that surface irrigation water may be ALL that is available for agriculture in eastern Colorado.

I predict the coming of a time in Colorado when hungry Coloradans will wish that the developers and city water hogs who dried up agricuture in Colorado could be run out the state on a rail, or worse.
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Old 08-25-2007, 02:46 PM
 
Location: Madison, WI Metro Area
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Quote:
Originally Posted by livecontent View Post
Yes, you are right. There is a loss of population, in the plains and in many areas have less people than the great depression days. I am looking in the future when the growth will extend beyond the corridors along the front range, toward the east, because there will not be the growth toward the mountains in the west. many of these authentic small towns will grow and change; I see a repopulation of the plains.

It is good of you to point out that there are great views to see in the Grasslands and newcomers should visit these noble places. I was also trying to point out that too many people who come here, initially, do not realize the vastness of the plains and only think of the mountains. The irrigated farmlands of the plains should not be sacrificed to the wasteful growing of lawns. I find beauty in the farms and ranches because that is a utilization of nature that is necessary and it is a grand part of the Colorado Heritage.
No, I do not think that their will be much population growth at all in the future in areas of eastern Colorado. Many of the counties according to the census data have lost over 10% of their population in the last 6 years alone. The climate is even more extreme in these areas with a semi-arid steppe climate. Eastern Colorado on the high plains is still higher up in elevation than most people realize at over 4,000ft elevation or higher. With global warming this part of the state is even more prone to dry periods because of the increase in evaporation due to the higher temperatures. The climate is brutal and water supplies will be getting even more scarce over time. I predict this area will continue to lose population.
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Old 08-25-2007, 04:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Plains10 View Post
No, I do not think that their will be much population growth at all in the future in areas of eastern Colorado. Many of the counties according to the census data have lost over 10% of their population in the last 6 years alone. The climate is even more extreme in these areas with a semi-arid steppe climate. Eastern Colorado on the high plains is still higher up in elevation than most people realize at over 4,000ft elevation or higher. With global warming this part of the state is even more prone to dry periods because of the increase in evaporation due to the higher temperatures. The climate is brutal and water supplies will be getting even more scarce over time. I predict this area will continue to lose population.
You are right for the eastern high plains--but, maybe, they will grow in the future as there is further growth along I-25, weld county and Hwy. 85 through Brighton to Greeley, all on the western plains. There are many small communities that will benefit and have benefited from the growth in areas such as Frederick, Dacona, Platteville, Hudson etc. The Airport has alread the effect of stimulating growth with service centers north,as Brighton, and east as Watkins and Bennett.

And let us not forget that the 3rd. largest city of Colorado, after Denver and Colorado Springs is totally on the plains, and is growing further east to the plains---and that is Aurora (Some believe it will surpase Denver in population.). So what I am saying is the domino effect may happen and there will be relentless growth eastward, and maybe in 100 years we will see growth to Burlington. Again, that depends on water availability, as you have aptly noted.

But the point overall of my post is to show newcomers the importance, vastness, beauty and significance of the great plains in this state.
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Old 08-25-2007, 10:34 PM
 
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Default pretty much

When you live 4000 feet above SEA level, there is no hope for more water, especially with the scary water sucking growth of the front range. Farmers ditches have already been cut-off east of denver. If you want to grow crops go to the upper midwest where its basically a rainforrest now!!
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Old 08-26-2007, 03:30 PM
 
Location: Madison, WI Metro Area
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When you live 4000 feet above SEA level, there is no hope for more water, especially with the scary water sucking growth of the front range. Farmers ditches have already been cut-off east of denver. If you want to grow crops go to the upper midwest where its basically a rainforrest now!!
Another thing I can not understand is why people in western Kansas say they are from the Midwest when they live on the High Plains? The landscape of the Midwest and the Great Plains/High Plains is extremely different. It is almost like they do not want to admit they live in an area that is not quite as lush as the Midwest.
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Old 08-26-2007, 03:34 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
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Originally Posted by Plains10 View Post
Another thing I can not understand is why people in western Kansas say they are from the Midwest when they live on the High Plains? The landscape of the Midwest and the Great Plains/High Plains is extremely different. It is almost like they do not want to admit they live in an area that is not quite as lush as the Midwest.
How are the Plains and the Midwest different? From the perspective of living in the intermountain west and looking east, it all seems the same.
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Old 08-26-2007, 05:36 PM
 
Location: cincinnati northern, ky
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midwest and plains are very different, plains have very little vegetation midwest such as st louis and chicago have much more trees
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