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Walsenburg’s diamond in the rough

by Nelson Holmes

WALSENBURG- One thing that has always struck me is how, situated as it is at the crux of two major thoroughfares, Walsenburg has failed to thrive as it should.  Sure there is the boom and bust legacy of the city’s coal besotted past.  And agriculture is always tied to the fickle whims of nature.  But why should a gateway town poised as it is between beauty both vertical and horizontal not gain the recognition it’s due?  The population isn’t to be faulted.  The folks in Walsenburg are friendly and hospitable whether their roots run deeply through the strata of generations or they’re newly tumbled in on the winds of circumstance and fate.

    If you picture Walsenburg as a person you might see an older soul whose face hints at hardships overcome and life lived.  Rural and a little frayed around the edges, this personification has an unpolished gem tucked in the coin pocket of their well worn jeans; the Cucharas River.  There are plans afoot to polish this diamond in the rough and make the river a sanctuary and source of pride.  Picnic areas will return to those spots where Depression era families once found respite under the cottonwoods.  Nature trails will entice folks to wander the river’s banks and refresh themselves with beauty once overlooked.  In time an amphitheater will offer entertainments in concert with the murmuring waters and neighbors will socialize over the fresh-turned soil of a community garden.  In time the Riverwalk may entice tourists to come, stay and give Walsenburg its due.  Just a pretty picture… wishful thinking? Maybe.  Let me offer you an invitation.

    On April 17th, Huerfano County and the Parks and Open Spaces Taskforce is sponsoring a first step toward making the dream a reality.  Join your neighbors and bring your kids to the Riverwalk Cleanup.  Trade some labor for food and fun and learn of the wonders hidden in this often overlooked and undervalued area.  There will be insect identification walks, educational games and experts on hand to answer questions about the river’s cultural and natural histories.  Meet at the community center at 9 am and enjoy a day of rediscovery.

    Call Jim Conley at 738-2170 and let him know you will be there.  They need to know how much food to fix.