David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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I have never cared much for fences.

I grew up with them, living on a tiny urban lot, but in the summers we came to Colorado, and we had no fences on the homestead.

Times change, however, and some of the property was sold. Fences appeared, along with signs which said “No Trespassing,” “No Hunting,” “Posted,” “Private Road,” “Private Property,” or the even more threatening “Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted.” Now you can even get a sign that says “Don’t Even Think of Parking Here!”

Not everyone has a fence, of course. If everyone who owned a piece of property put up a barbed wire or cyclone fence and a couple of those signs, the valley would look like a string of concentration camps.

I have tried to understand why people want to go to all the trouble of fences and signs. Some people, of course, have livestock that must be contained. I understand the need for those fences.

Fences, of course, are expensive to put in and maintain. They may keep some people out, but they certainly discourage the appearance of wildlife. Maybe they’re a response to the need to establish the limits of one’s territory; the so-called territorial imperative. Or maybe it’s just to memorialize that expensive survey.

It’s also possible that people from the city are used to fences and feel that every piece of land should have one.

The irony of it is that people who put up fences and signs are the kind of people who would not trespass, while people who are bent on mischief, vandalism or theft aren’t going to pay any attention to signs and will not be much slowed down by a fence. I don’t think a fence would keep people from taking the tops of my blue spruces for Christmas trees. I’ll bet they go to church, too.

I’ve also noticed that the more recent the acquisition and the smaller the piece of land, the more likely it is to have a fence and be festooned with threatening signs.

Thirty years ago, if someone walked through our property I assumed it was a hiker or someone out for a walk in the forest. But, like many others, I now take a more cautious and probably paranoid approach and presume the person is up to no good. I don’t have much justification for that attitude. Oh, yes, I had to nail shut the door of the Memorial Outhouse because passersby couldn’t resist using it, be we’ve had practically no trouble over the years. I suspect I’ve brought my urban expectations to the mountains and maybe I’m not alone.

I still don’t care very much for fences and signs, though I’m a little more hostile about the signs than the fences.

It seems to me that if you have a six-foot fence with barbed wire on the top that most people will be able to figure out that you don’t want uninvited visitors without seeing a big “Trespassing Strictly Prohibited” sign.

We can probably look forward to more of the same as the land is cut into smaller and smaller pieces.

I don’t have to like it, though.




© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner

Allenspark Wind Columns:


Why Allenspark?

Going Riding [August, 1985]


Used Cars

Peace and Quiet [1986]

Liberals & Conservatives

Going to the Movies

The Screened Porch

The Beginning of The Season

The Weather

The Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The End of The Season

The Gift of Time

The Beavers

Addresses [1987]


Watching the Trees Grow

Postal Rates

Changes in Estes Park

Square Dancing at the Pow Wow

Back to the Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The Solstices

Bird Feeders


The Estes Park Hardware Store [1988]


Limousine Service

A Memorial Service

A Hummingbird


A Hiking Trip

The Estes Park Public Library

Wild Life

Riparian Rights [1989]




Mountain Friendliness

A Motorcycle Trip

Satellite Television

“Weaving Mountain Memories”

Hotel Rates in the Old Days

The Price of Propane [1990]

The Front Range Almanac


Modes of Transportation

Miller Moths

My 50th Column

Modern Conveniences

Rock Climbing

On the Death of Otto Walter, Postmaster

Otto’s Memorial Service

A Big Owl Pot-Luck Dinner

A Whine About Telephone Service [1991]

After the Persian Gulf War

Some Changes in the WIND

The Trip to the Mountains

The Mountains in the Summer


Of Dogs, Music, and Children

Muhlenburg County

To My Grandson

The Sale of Longs Peak Inn

World War II  [1992]

Murphy’s Law and the Computer

The South St. Vrain Canyon


The Hazards of Volunteering

Crime in Our Valley


On the Death of Charles Eagle Plume

Can We All Get Along?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Lost Horizon [1993]


Rumors About a Visit by the Pope


More About Fences


The Visit of Pope John Paul II

Forest Fires

The New Sewage System

The Snow Pool

The Good Old Days [1994]

The WIND’s 20th Anniversary

The Bunce School

The Shooting Gallery

The Estes Park Museum

Our Government

U.S. West Takes a Hit

The Year of the Hummingbirds

A New “Yield” Sign

Growth in Allenspark

Private Telephones?

The Salvation Army

Creation Science [1995]

Devolutionizing Big Government



Fort D.A. Russell

Domestic Terrorism

Old and New

Barney Graves

Life in the Wilderness

What’s In a Name?

Arthur C. Clarke


The Estes Park Trail-Gazette Columns:

July 1983


Estes Cone

Johnny Grant

Observations in Estes Park

The Bath House


The Sutherland’s Ice House

How Old is Charles Eagle Plume?


Christmas Trees

Tree Murder

Mountain Driving


Mail Boxes

More About Mail Boxes

“Are you related to ....?”


An Accident

The Wild Cat

A July Reunion

A Visit to Baldpate Inn

Opening Cabins


The Times, They Have Changed

Death and Transfiguration

The Population Explosion

The March of Time

Faith-Based Social Services

Looking for Pitch

Recent Writings I

Recent Writings II

Recent Writings III

Recent Writings IV

Recent Writings V

Recent Writings VI



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