Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway
Corridor Management Plan

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Section 1
Location and Maps

Table of Contents

Location of Byway Relative to the Trail
Corridor Boundaries
Land Use
Land Ownership
Maps
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Location of Byway Relative to the Trail

As shown on the attached maps, the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway closely follows the approximate alignment of the Mountain Route of the Santa Fe Trail. Between the Kansas border and La Junta, the Trail's route and the Byway run parallel to the Arkansas River. The Trail lies north of the river while the Byway crosses both the river and the Trail in Lamar and east of Granada. The Byway leaves the Arkansas River at La Junta heading southwest to Trinidad remaining roughly parallel to the Trail's route. The Trail's route and the Byway cross several times between La Junta and the New Mexico state line.

The Trail's route is usually within two miles of the Byway. The greatest distance between the route and the Byway is about eight miles, which occurs between the Hole-in-the-Rock site and Trinidad on Highway 350.

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Corridor Boundaries

The boundaries of the Byway corridor are illustrated on the first map. The width of the corridor is variable depending primarily upon the Trail's alignment and the location of intrinsic qualities such as key historic sites. The corridor is generally five to ten miles wide, encompassing the Trail's route as documented by the National Park Service and all sites of key historic resources which were directly on or serviced by the Trail. These include all currently developed interpretive sites and other locations designated by the National Park Service as "high potential" sites, except for the Spanish Peaks which are approximately 50 miles from the Byway.

Most of the corridor is readily visible from the Byway. The exceptions to this are when trees along the Arkansas River or the varied topography occasionally block views. Along much of the Byway, vistas extend well beyond the designated corridor boundaries. On clear days, which is the predominate weather in southeast Colorado, distances of 75 miles or greater can be seen from high points along the Byway, particularly along Highway 350.

Beyond the boundaries of the narrowly-defined corridor are areas which were influenced in the past by proximity to the Trail and which are impacted today by the nearby presence of the Byway. For lack of better terminology, these areas are considered to be in the influence zone of the Byway. The influence zone extends throughout southeastern Colorado covering Prowers, Bent, Baca, Crowley, Kiowa, Otero, Las Animas and Huerfano counties . These counties contain historic and archaeological resources dating from the Trail era. While these grasslands were home to nomadic Native Americans long before the Trail's development, settlement did not occur until the Trail brought in settlers and necessary supplies.

The following sites which have historic, archeological, and/or recreational significance are located beyond the corridor but within the influence zone:
Fort Union - Granada Road- a military route, which was more direct than the Mountain Route, connecting Old Granada with Fort Union, New Mexico;
Aubry Cutoff- the second branch of the Trail that connects the Arkansas River and Cold Springs on the Cimarron Route. The cutoff is named after Santa Fe Trail freight carrier Francis Aubry;
Cimarron Route - a short section of the original route (also known as the Dry Route) of the Santa Fe trail, southeast of the Mountain Route;
Site of the Sand Creek Massacre - the site of a Cheyenne camp where Black Kettle and his followers were attacked on November 29, 1864 by a military unit with 600 hundred men under the command of John Chivington;
Highway of Legends - A Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway running through historic mining towns, Native American lands and early farm settlements between Trinidad and Walsenburg;
Stonewall Valley - a valley west of Trinidad where the ranch and grave site of Marian Sloan Russell are located. Ms. Russell traveled the Trail five times and her memoirs documenting life along the Santa Fe Trail were published in the book, The Land of Enchantment;
Great Plains Reservoirs - established recreation site 15 miles south of Eads with five lakes which support hunting, fishing, and boating activities. Facilities include boat ramps and rest rooms. The reservoirs have approximately 100,000 visitors per year. Plans are underway to designate the site as a state park;
Picture Canyon - a well preserved site of Native American petroglyphs including a prehistoric calendar;
Cokedale National Historic District - a historic mining camp located in Reilly Canyon along the Highway of Legends approximately seven miles west of Trinidad;
Morley Mining Camp Site - a mining camp used between 1906 to 1916 which is visible from Raton Pass;
Apishipa State Wildlife Area - a 7,935-acre hunting area located 1 7 miles north of Tyrone with no facilities at present;
Vogel Canyon and Picket Wire Canyonlands - canyon lands accessible to the public where hiking, biking, picnicking and equestrian uses are permitted. Ruins from a historic stage stop for the Barlow and Sanderson Mail and Stage Line are located in Vogel Canyon. Picket Wire contains Native American rock art, the largest documented dinosaur tracksite in North America, partial remains of the Dolores Mission and Cemetery, and the site of the Rourke Ranch which was founded in 1871; and,
Spanish Peaks, a high potential site according to the National Park Service. The Spanish Peaks are also known as Huajatolla, Ute for "Breasts of the Earth";
As preservation, development and promotion of the Byway's resources continue, awareness of and visitation to these areas within the influence zone will increase. As a result, this Corridor Management Plan occasionally addresses, when appropriate, sites beyond the corridor's boundaries.
Amache National Historic Site - The United States government exiled thousands of Japanese American citizens to internment camps during World War II. One of these camps was, Camp Amache which was also known as the Granada Relocation Center. Camp Granada was known as "The Gateway to Colorado" during the 1800s. It was a stopover along the Santa Fe Trail and was officially founded in 1873 and named in honor of a former Spanish kingdom by unknown persons. After losing a bid to become the county seat to Lamar, in the late 1800s, Granada became a ghost town. With the building of Camp Amache in 1942, Granada became a boom town once again.
Ludlow Massacre Site- Site of coal mining massacre of 1914. Located off I-25 at Exit 27.

 

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Land Use

The vast majority of the land through which the Byway passes is undeveloped, and used for agriculture. Along the Highway 50 portion, water from the Arkansas River is used to irrigate crops including corn, beans, milo, onions, melons, wheat, grass hay,and a variety of other types of produce and grains. Several cattle feed lots are interspersed among the cultivated fields along the Byway. Dry-land cattle ranching is the primary land use along the Highway 350 portion. The Soil Conservation Service has designated Prowers, Bent, Otero and Las Animas Counties prime farmland.

Urban development is largely limited to the six municipalities along the Byway, the largest of which is Trinidad with an estimated 1995 population of 9,542 persons. The next largest are Lamar with a population of about 8,500 and La Junta with just over 8,000. Las Animas is significantly smaller with fewer than 3,000 residents. The remaining two municipalities, Holly and Granada, have populations under 1,000. Several very small, unincorporated communities are also located along the Byway. These include Hasty, Timpas, Thatcher and Model. These communities consist of a mix of residential structures, some of which are dilapidated and abandoned. Only minimal commercial services are offered in these communities.

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Land Ownership

Governmental agencies own sites along the Byway which are at least partially within the Corridor as shown on Map 1. These include five Federally-owned and managed sites:

Comanche National Grassland (Department of Agriculture, U.S.F.S.)
Pinon Canyon Maneuvers Site (Department of Defense)
Bent's Old Fort (National Park Service)
John Martin Reservoir (Army Corps of Engineers)
Fort Lyon (Veteran's Administration hospital)

The State of Colorado has significant holdings in the corridor including:

Mike Higbee State Wildlife Area;
Trinidad Lake State Park;
James M. John State Wildlife Area; and
Lake Dorothey State Wildlife Area.

In addition, the State School Trust owns parcels scattered throughout Colorado and the influence zone. These generally square tracts are shown on Map 1. Other public lands include small parcels within municipalities owned by units of local government (municipal/county buildings, parks and schools) and sites in unincorporated areas owned by county governments (land fills, gravel mines and storage/maintenance facilities).

Other than the sites mentioned above, land along the Byway and in the corridor is privately owned. The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway owns the railroad and adjacent right-of-way in the corridor. Agricultural lands are typically divided into large parcels under single ownership. Smaller holdings have been to some degree absorbed by the expansion of corporate farming and ranching.

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Maps

Three maps are attached. The first illustrates corridor boundaries and public lands as well as cities and towns, highways, the Mountain Route of the Santa Fe Trail and topography. The second map shows all interpretive sites, camping and picnic area, museums and other key visitor services. This map can be used in promotional materials in the future since it is more comprehensive than the maps now available to visitors. On the third map, sites identified as having high potential according to the National Park Service are shown. Since several of these sites are located on private property and are not currently accessible to the public, these were not included on the second map, which was designed for future use by visitors.

Map 1
Map 2
Map 3

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Section 2

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