David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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Muhlenburg County


“Oh Daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County, down by the Green River where Paradise lays?

Well I’m sorry my son but you’re too late in askin’; Mr. Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away.”

--Folk song


Maybe you haven’t noticed, but lately they’ve been hauling away some parts of our mountains.

It’s been going on for a long time, of course. The Arapahos came up here and took a few trees for lodgepoles (hence the name), and they hunted the elk, sheep, bear, wolves, coyotes and deer, trapped the beaver and weasels, but those were, at the time, renewable resources and they were careful about them. The miners took what little gold there was, left a few slag heaps and moved on.

More ominously, however, we’ve been making more permanent changes. We’ve had a big peat mining operation in the center of the valley. Peat takes several hundred thousand years to form and now it’s gone and you and I aren’t going to see it again.

The east side of the Twin Sisters, just outside the Park annex, has been heavily logged — clear cut in some places, with the blessing of the Forest Service. It’s hard to tell what the effect of that will be.

Recently we’ve taken to selling moss (actually lichen) rock by the ton. It’s hauled out on flatbed trucks and sold to people all along the Front Range to decorate their homes. About $5000 worth was recently given to the Estes Park hospital. A nice gesture (and a nice tax deduction, considering it’s just rock).

Now, faithful readers know I’m in favor of progress and I leave things like wetlands and sanitation issues to Phil Stern, our resident environmentalist and toilet expert. As far as I’m concerned, people who own land can do pretty much anything they want to with it, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.

But hauling away parts of the valley that took hundreds of thousands or millions of years to create worries me; these things can’t be replaced. In a sense we’re just caretakers of this place, which many have called Paradise, for our children and grandchildren. I’m glad my grandfather felt that way about our land. It’s probably true I wouldn’t miss the rocks or trees if I didn’t know they’d been sold, but I’m glad he didn’t do it.

What’s a few rocks? What’s a little peat? I’m not sure. I just don’t want us to be “too late in askin’.”




© 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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