Grand County events usher in summer visitors |

Grand County events usher in summer visitors

Janety Day/Talk of the Valley

That Was Fun. Wasn’t it great to have the valley full of people and activities again? Seems like it’s been a long time.

The Fat Tire Classic came back with picture-perfect weather, a manageable group of riders and some seriously nice freebies being given away to participants and volunteers by sponsors and vendors such as Sports Authority, several beverage companies and Point6, a new sock company based in Steamboat Springs that just may give Smart Wool a serious competitor.

And a tip of the hard hats to the construction crews that turned Hideaway Park into a serviceable venue for Blues From the Top, which also enjoyed decent, manageable crowds this past weekend. When the park project finally is completed, it’s going to give the area a great outdoor asset with the sloping music venue that’s a great little sledding hill in the winter, skate park and playground.

Pretty Ponds. It’s been a long time coming, but the old Lake Pee Pee and Lake Poo Poo are filling back up and already attracting wildlife. For those relatively new to the area, the two ponds on the east side of Highway 40 between Winter Park and Fraser used to be part of the area’s sewage treatment plant. Hence, their nick-names.

Reclaiming the ponds required cleaning out the leftover sludge ” a two-year process that included all kinds of permits and tests for the Grand County Water and Sanitation District. Then the area was re-graded, re-seeded and recently re-filled.

My knowledge of the intricacies of Colorado’s arcane water laws has diminished over the years and I haven’t paid a lot of attention to the real reason for the project ” something about maintaining flows downstream to the current treatment plant, I think. Whatever the reason, the result is two ponds that will soon be surrounded by native vegetation, providing wildlife habitat that’s already being used by some feathered visitors. At least a dozen Canada goose chicks were waddling around the edge last week and birds of all sorts are checking out the birdhouses set up around the area.

For humans, the ponds provide a nice viewing alternative to the mess across the highway. Grand Park is building its own small pond, which will pair nicely with the other two, but it doesn’t change the fact that the development project is an eyesore and habitat disaster. I have noticed that the water trucks are back, spraying down the construction roadway, minimizing some of the blowing dust, and for that I say “thank you.”

Big Bear. Be aware out there. I’ve had a few reports of a very large black bear shuffling around areas near the west end of the Creekside and Flume trails. He’s been reported to look at runners and hikers from a distance, but not do anything else. And while he’s been seen far away from the busy St. Louis Creek Campground and perhaps disturbed by bike riders this past weekend, it’s always good to know what’s out there.

And it’s also good to be reminded to be aware when driving. Too many cars are hitting too much wildlife lately, if the bloody spots and mess on the roads are any indication.

Unleash Your Inner Artist. All you potential Picassos can learn or fine-turn your craft at Streamside Art in Granby next week. The shop and gallery will host another four-session watercolor class with Donna Lyons. Classes are held Tuesday evenings starting on July 8 from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. The costs are $69 plus materials. For details, call the shop at 877.1210.

Keep in Touch: What’s got your attention around the area? Let me know. I’ll try to find the answer or spread the news. Send it all to