Since I left the Vallecito area in 1998, there have been some changes. One of those is the long pathway near the Vallecito Lake, meadows and trees.
The Vallecito Service spearheaded the handicapped accessible outdoor venue, and my friend Marilyn acted as the contractor throughout the completion of the project. This included writing grant proposals and using the funds to create a path that can be used by the community and overseeing the complete construction of the path, the mandated handicapped benches and tables.
Marilyn had included the Southern Ute Indian people, the Bureau of Land Management, the Gates Foundation grantee, La Plata County, Pine River Irrigation District, and the community in the decision making.
The pathway is on part of the 499,881- acre Weminuche Wilderness. This wilderness is the largest in Colorado. Congress designated it in 19975 with additions in 1993. It was named in honor of the Weminuche band of the Ute Indians who historically lived throughout southwest Colorado and Utah.
The Southern Ute Indians played a part in opening the park after its completion. Marilyn and I walked on the path yesterday, and while we were there, we met a young man, Mike, who was there with his dog.
He was thrilled with the walking path, the park, the ambience of the area: the lake, water, pine and aspen trees and the history of the park being the old Indian hunting grounds.
“This is a well kept secret,” Mike said of the park. “I come here everyday and just love it here.” He added.
He is on vacation and has spent a few past years in the area, and always goes walking on the path. Marilyn told him all about the project, the history, the flowers and plants that make their home along the pathway, and he even volunteered to pull weeds that have intruded on the path.
The sun was out, white flouncy clouds in the sky, smells of the outdoors, all created a quiet peaceful place to walk.
“I just want to thank you for all the work you did here,” Mike told Marilyn.