By Rob Quinn
Trinidad, Colorado. There’s something happening here. What it is, is exactly clear.
Sorry Steven Stills for butchering your Vietnam era protest song. But it just made sense when you look at what’s going down in The Southern Colorado town of Trinidad.
This resilient little town has seen it all. A mining boom and bust with the likes of Doc Holiday and Bat Masterson as occasional residents. In the day Trinidad was on par with Breckenridge, Telluride and Aspen when it came to rip-roaring Western towns. White gold. The ski industry that came to Colorado after WWII changed the fortunes of those towns. No consistent snow in Trinidad.
A Sex Change industry (aka Gender Reassignment) that was once so mainstream that when Johnny Carson would crack a joke about “A trip to Trinidad” the 20 million or so Americans that tuned into The Tonight show then, knew what he was talking about.
Today the legal Marijuana industry is driving the economy buoyed by the city’s proximity to New Mexico and Texas. With New Mexico possibly going legal in 2021, Trinidad’s economy could be impacted.
Last Friday I was invited to a ceremony in Trinidad hosted by The Colorado State Lottery, The Trust for Public Land and The Nature Conservancy, who sealed the deal on a $25.4 million purchase for The Crazy French Ranch that includes the 9,630 foot-high iconic Fisher’s Peak situated right in back of town and ironically…often imaged as part of the community but private and off limits to it’s residents. The 19,000 acre ranch is about the size of Liechtenstein!
I had a chance to talk with a few State Wildlife Officers involved in the project. They said now the purchase has been finalized, there will be an intensive study on how to best maximize this asset, paying attention to wildlife migration patterns, erosion and other use concerns. There is talk of making it a State Park. Our conversation turned to the master planned-from-scratch Staunton State Park West of Baily off 285. Comparisons were positive.
How long until the open space is open has not been decided. What has been decided is that it will be done right, looking at all recreational aspects with the main emphasis being stewardship of some of the last pristine land available in the state.
I’m a history buff. While sitting at this presentation on a perfect August day in Trinidad…I could not help but feel I was witnessing history being made.
This open space opening will be a complete game changer for Trinidad. Witness the evolution of Eagle, Fruita and the Gran daddy of them all Moab. With plenty of I-70 weary warriors looking for the new, next best thing…The proposition and acceptance seems inevitable. But not so fast.
To quote Buffett (Jimmy not Warren) “There’s a fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning” The same logic applies to this…how to share this resource and not ruin the genuine character of still lovably rough around the edges Trinidad?
Ever been to Sedona? I think you know what I’m talking about.
It will be a good problem to have. Sculpting your personality with an eye on what’s worked and not worked in other towns.
What is certain is that dramatic change is around the corner and big things are about to happen to this little town.
It won’t be long before you’ll hear this “Let’s throw the bikes in the truck and head to Trinidad for the weekend”.
There’s something happening here!