Good news for Colorado!

Welcome 42!

Photos courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife / Bill Vogrin

TRINIDAD, Colo. – More than a year after entering a partnership to acquire a 19,200-acre ranch that includes the towering landmark known as Fishers Peak, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has completed the purchase, clearing the way for creation of the state’s 42nd state park.

The acquisition is especially significant as Coloradans prepare to celebrate Colorado Public Lands Day on Saturday, May 16.

“The state’s acquisition of Fishers Peak is an exciting milestone for Colorado outdoor recreationists, wildlife watchers, hunters and residents and businesses of Southern Colorado,” Governor Jared Polis said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that Coloradans highly value their open spaces and outdoor recreation opportunities. Colorado was one of the few states to keep our state parks open during this entire crisis because recreating at a safe space outdoors is a healthy part of our lifestyles. Adding Fishers Peak as our next state park will increase opportunities to explore a unique and stunning part of Colorado.”

“I look forward to celebrating Colorado Public Lands Day this weekend and, in the months to come, opening Fishers Peak to the public with our important partners and local elected officials.”

In February 2019, CPW partnered with the City of Trinidad, The Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land and Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) to purchase the mostly undeveloped property, prized for its variety of habitat, wildlife and the linkage it provides between grasslands to the east with foothills and mountains to the west.

The property includes the 9,633-foot summit of Fishers Peak, an iconic outcropping of ancient horizontal lava flows atop Raton Mesa, which has served as a landmark for Native Americans, a beacon for pioneers moving west and a waypoint along the historic Santa Fe Trail connecting the Eastern U.S. to New Mexico and the Southwest.

The Fishers Peak property also is valued for the wildlife it shelters, including native species like elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, mountain lion and black bear. And it preserves important migration corridors between their populations in the mountains and those on the prairies.

On April 2, the partners signed over ownership of the property to CPW. With the deed in hand, CPW leadership and the partners immediately ramped up master-planning efforts to create a new state park that will protect the natural treasures and wildlife found there while welcoming visitors, including hunters, campers, hikers, mountain bikers, wildlife watchers, rock climbers and other outdoor enthusiasts.

“We are grateful to our partners for all their work securing the property for future generations of Coloradans and visitors,” said Brett Ackerman, CPW Southeast Region Manager. “Great teamwork has gotten us to this point. We at CPW look forward to completing the master-planning process and meeting the governor’s goal of opening Colorado’s next state park.”

“We are pleased to finalize this sale of the property to CPW in these trying times,” said Carlos Fernandez, Colorado State Director for The Nature Conservancy. “Over the past weeks, it’s become even more clear how important access to nature is to all people, providing solace, hope and community. I’m proud of the Conservancy’s efforts with partners to steward this project from the beginning to where we are now, one step closer to Colorado’s next state park.”

“It’s become more evident than ever that access to the outdoors is an important part of everyone’s physical and mental well-being,” said Jim Petterson, The Trust for Public Land’s Colorado state director. “This new state park will give the people of Colorado an exceptional place to get outside to heal and connect with nature, their community and each other.”

“GOCO is a proud partner in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said GOCO Executive Director Chris Castilian, whose agency provided the bulk of the funding, $17.25 million, toward the acquisition. “It’s been our honor to be a proponent and primary funder of this amazing project to date, and we look forward to supporting our partners at CPW to bring a vision for this state park to fruition.”

“The City of Trinidad strongly supports Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s acquisition of the Fishers Peak property and the partnership that made this new state park a reality for our city and Las Animas County,” said Trindad Mayor Phil Rico.

For now, the property remains closed to public access. But CPW intends a phased approach to opening that will allow limited public access to the property while the master-planning process proceeds and a full state park is developed.

The public can follow the park’s progress and get updates on participating in the planning process at cpw.state.co.us.

In 2016, Colorado became the first state to establish a holiday for our public lands. Colorado Public Lands Day focuses on how our public lands are central to the state’s economy and our quality of life.

The COVID-19 crisis has impacted Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy and we all must adapt and celebrate public lands while remaining socially distant. As a result, Colorado Public Lands Day activities this year will highlight art, film, educational webinars and community conversations to offer a variety of ways that Coloradans can meaningfully connect with one another as well as our precious lands and waters. Learn more about Colorado Public Lands Day here: https://copubliclandsday.com.

Backyard bliss

Backyard dining at its finest!

Growing up as a kid in the Midwest, the front porch was where we usually spent our afternoons lounging. But it was the backyard that was the most fun. The backyard had a rickety-old fort my brother built, a vegetable garden filled with corn, tomatoes and spring onions and an overused swing set. And not to mention the best cherry tree ever.

Some of my most favorite childhood memories that I still carry with me today were from time spent in the backyard. There was always some sort of sport taking place. Whether it was setting up the badminton set, throwing baseballs to my brothers or just running in the back yard. Wild and free!

The countless backyard dinners on the back porch were the best. And coming from a large Greek family there was always plenty of food. I look back and laugh at how the large hunk of feta, wrapped in white butcher paper, would grace the middle of the backyard dinners. I thought everyone did that.

As a kid I always thought the food tasted better. Now I know why. There was laughter, as the evening sun was setting on our tableware—it was backyard bliss.

Perhaps it’s true when Russell Conwell said: “You can journey to the ends of the earth in search of success, but if you’re lucky, you will discover happiness in your own backyard.”

Chef Richard’s GRAB & GO Menu for tomorrow at Fooducopia is the ultimate backyard feast. Grilled pork souvlaki, fries, and a healthy Greek salad will perfect dinner tomorrow. And not to mention pita bread and the must-always-have tzatziki.

In fact, might I suggest you enjoy your meal outside—in your backyard of course!

This week’s GRAB & GO! Be sure to order now here!

 

The power of music

The gift of music

Yesterday, my daughter decided to treat our neighbors to a concert. She bravely took her music stand and played a few songs. I have to be honest, initially she didn’t want to do it. Fear and shyness came over her. But I gently convinced her to do it—along with a small bribe. When she played a short stanza of Beethoven our neighbors started to get animated and smile. “Beethoven is our favorite,” they said. Nineveh thanked them for listening and went back in the house. Few words were spoken to make the connection of kindness. But it was there—the power of music spoke volumes. Today on a much larger scale be sure to tune in to “Colorado Give Back,” a live stream benefit concert starting today at 1 pm. Here is the link. Happy listening.

 

Orange Chicken? Yes, Please!

Chef Richard’s Saturday night GRAB & GO dinner menu is hands down the best Orange Chicken. So, go ahead and order now here.

 

Tomorrow is the last day to order Mother’s Day menus

What song will you play for mom?

The words of love

One of my favorite radio stations XRT in Chicago, IL put together a Mother’s Day playlist. I am sharing this with you because I thought what a great way to share with mom how you feel about her. Included on the list is the song Mom from Earth Wind, & Fire. It’s a soulful tribute to mom that features the words: “she gave me peace and love/she gave me thoughts of love.” I will definitely add this to my playlist. What songs would you include on your Mother’s Day playlist? Another anecdote about this radio station is famed disc jockey and radio personality Lin Brehmer has a catch-phrase that has been an anthem for me since my twenties. It’s simple. It’s humbling. It’s truth. He reminds his listeners when he signs off everyday the following: “It’s great to be alive.”

Thank you Nurses!

A note from Tim,

Today is a great day in Colorado with the wonderful weather. I was fortunate enough to ride my bike to work. It felt great to do something of a routine. We are all looking for a new sense of normal. I’ve been riding my bike to work and it brings me a sense of calm and clears my head. As JFK wisely said: “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.” What have  you been doing?

Stay healthy and positive everyone.

Thank you Mom and ALL the Nurses

 

Today is National Nurses Day. Celebrated annually on May 6, the day raises awareness of the important role nurses play in society. And this year it is a most celebrated day to all the nurses who are on the front line fighting COVID-19.

My mom was a nurse. She was an ER nurse in Chicago, IL at Mercy Hospital. So today I celebrate her along with all the nurses in across America. Be sure to thank a nurse you know. They are truly heroes.

-Tim