Colorado Drought Task Force holds drought impacts tour


On July 23, several Pagosa residents including myself had the opportunity to join Colorado agricultural leaders, including Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne and Commissioner of Agriculture Don Brown, to attend a drought impacts tour designed to highlight the challenges southwest Colorado farmers and ranchers are facing given the continuing drought and recent fires.

The tour by the Colorado Drought Task Force was comprised of representatives from the Colorado Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources, and departments of Local Affairs and Public Safety. The intent of the tour was to assess conditions, hear directly from those most impacted by the persistent drought and wildfires, and become informed on how the state can help with both response and recovery.

“The Drought Tour offered us the opportunity to see first-hand the impact the exceptionally dry conditions have had on soils and crops. Colorado farmers and ranchers are often faced with challenges outside of their control such as the economy, market prices and drought. Right now, we are facing all three and if there is something we, as a state, can do to help them through these tough times, it’s important that we look into it,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Don Brown.

The tour included discussing public lands grazing sites, as well as private producers and ranchers — ranging from small to large operations. The Isgar Ranch in Hesperus, Colo., was also part of the tour, where the group heard from ranchers about how they are navigating water shortages, crop loss and high costs of feed.

The day also included discussions on drought impacts related to fire, flood, tourism, wildlife, economic and public health. While visiting the 416 Fire, an area within the burn flared up and the next day the rain brought mudslides, proving the effects of drought. The tour wrapped up with a listening session where members of the public could have their voices heard and directly liaise with decision makers.

Southern Colorado has been experiencing below normal precipitation conditions since last fall. Currently, 13 percent of the state is classified as in exceptional drought, while 27 percent is classified in extreme drought and an additional 21 percent is experiencing severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Archuleta County Fair

The Archuleta County Fair will be Aug. 2-5.

Open classes are available for all Archuleta County residents. Admission costs $4 for adults and $2 for youth 12 and under. You can purchase wristbands $12 for adults and $6 for youth. Tickets can be purchased at the gate.

All information can be found on the fair’s website,

CPR and first aid classes

CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the Colorado State University Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 pm. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.

We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations. Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. The type of first aid information provided will vary by the needs of the audience.