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Harvest Celebration on Saturday

It’s harvest time in the San Luis Valley! The ranchers are reaping in their fall hay and the farmers are pulling up their autumn bounty. What better way to celebrate the season than at the 4th Annual Harvest Celebration at the Historic Everson Ranch. This Saturday, Sept. 28 the Orient Land Trust presents its Chuckwagon Dinner/Concert/Dance, ranch and garden tours.

The historic Everson Ranch in Saguache County. Photo: Saguache Today.

Located in the rich, fertile land beneath the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Everson Ranch is a living testament to its ranching and farming heritage. Under the direction of the OLT this 150-year old historic ranch has been renovated within its historical facades to create an educational and living agricultural facility showcasing sustainable agricultural processes.

The public is invited to visit tomorrow, Saturday and see what makes this such a special place. Come and discover all of their efforts, and successes with projects determined to make sure the Everson Ranch thrives for generations to come.

Tours of the Everson Ranch and Gardens will be from 3 – 4 p.m. on Saturday

The afternoon begins with ranch and garden tours from 3 – 4 p.m. Friends and neighbors can tour the facilities and see the fruits of many long-term projects on the ranch being completed. Also, Ranch Manager  Mike O’Donal is retiring and this will be a great opportunity to celebrate all of his years of hard work and contributions to the Everson Ranch and Orient Land Trust.

Later that afternoon there will be a Chuckwagon Dinner Concert/Dance. This fall celebration is a ticketed, farm-to-table event which is likely to feature a variety of the ranch’s free range grass-fed beef, pig and goat meat, along with farm-raised, organic salad greens, rosemary roasted potatoes, roasted beets, garden veggies and grilled squash medley, and from the valley, quinoa salad. All of that incredible food will be cooked to perfection, sure to satisfy every taste bud! 

Happ as a pig in mud at the historic Everson Ranch!

Before and after the bountiful harvest feast enjoy some live music compliment of The River Arkansas. Fronted by Pueblo-native Mike Clark, this band is made up of some of the finest musicians on the Colorado front range delivering a mixture of heartfelt country, blues, folk, and Americana, inspired by the Arkansas River.

It’s time to celebrate! Everyone’s invited. Come, enjoy a fun, social time together with good food, music and dance. Tickets are $25 and be purchased by calling 719-256-4315.

Thanks to Mike O’Donal for all his years of dedication to the ranch!

The Everson Ranch is part of the Orient Land Trust‘s Land Conservation Program which protects over 2200 acres. They engage in historic ranching operations with the goal of soil and water restoration. Other ranch projects improve riparian areas and eliminate invasive weeds. The reservoir at the ranch is also protecting Rio Grande Chub and Rio Grande Sucker fish species.

Snow Keeps Campgrounds Closed

The winter snow is receding and spring fever has many forest users excited to get outside and explore the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests. Though snow may have thawed from some areas of the GMUG, forest officials are warning that most forest roads are still not accessible and could be impassable for some time due to ice, mud or snow. Forest travel on wet, muddy, or snow-covered roads can cause serious resource damage and safety concerns especially if visitors are unprepared. Even a few inches of snow can obscure icy roads and soft shoulders where vehicles can become stuck.

Grand Valley Visitor Center, clearing parking lot with help from CDOT. Photo: Danielle Cook

Forest officials are encouraging the public to minimize impacts to natural resources from travel on roads that are susceptible to rutting due to warmer weather and melting snowpack. Forest roads are easily damaged when saturated and wet especially with the continued precipitation the GMUG has experienced. Some higher elevation roads, motorized trails and campgrounds will open later than normal due to this year’s heavy snowpack. Some gates are still buried in snow, and roads are extremely wet and muddy. Please respect gates and closed areas and find alternate locations to recreate to allow muddy roads and trails time to dry out. Contact your local Ranger District for current conditions before heading out on your trip.

Ouray Ranger District conditions at the Spring Creek Trail. Photo: Kris Wist

“Forest roads are not constructed to be all-weather roads, so they can be easily damaged when wet, especially during years of above average snowpack as we have experienced this year” said Chris Phelps, a GMUG Engineer. “Ruts created by tires that are a mere inch deep can leave long lasting impressions that only increase with rain and erosion.”
Motorized and mechanized vehicle users are responsible for knowing when and where they can drive or ride. Motorized vehicle users are asked to obtain and adhere to routes shown on the Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs). MVUMS show which routes are open to motorized vehicles, which types of vehicles may be used, and season opening and closing dates. Hard copies of MVUMs are free and available at all forest offices and online here. Helpful information about planning a trip to the GMUG can be found on our Know Before You Go webpage at: https://www.fs.fed.us/visit/know-before-you-go. Campground reservation information can be found here.