The Army Just Doesn’t Get It.

The Army is up to it again. They are planning, outwardly, to acquire about 418 thousand acres of farm and ranch land in South East Colorado to enlarge the existing Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site. Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site was created in the 1980’s and was taken in a large part by Eminent Domain. Fourth and fifth generation ranchers were basically booted off their land and now the U.S. Army uses it as a training ground. Now they want to enlarge and “take” some more land.

They admit to wanting the 418 thousand acres but leaks indicate they eventually wish to take over the entire southeastern corner of the state. It is said this will be the largest maneuver site (a place to play army) in the world. This is going to eliminate several small communities, devastate the area economically and put literally thousands of historical, ecological and archaeological sites in danger of extinction and away from public use.

The sun coming up on the Louden Ranch about 50 miles east of Trinidad Co. This is going to be a painting soon.

The Sante Fe Trail runs through this part of the state. In over 100 years, this trail has not grown over.

Petroglyphs by the thousands adorn canyon walls.

Dinosaur tracks come out of the earth and disappear again into the bottom of the Pugatory River.

Some of the largest fossils remains of dinosaurs in the state have come from this area.

And the U.S Army wants to play army all over it. It has taken literally millions of years to create this land. Can you imagine what will happen when the army fires up a tank and “goes a trainin”? How long will it take the land to heal the damage caused by the explosives and the shells the army are planning to throw around down there? Even if they never fire a round, their vehicles will undoubtedly destroy what’s there, things that could take hundreds of years to recover. Some things……..will be gone for ever.

The Army just doesn’t get it!!

Doug Holdread, my artist friend, enjoys the evening on the Louden Ranch as he does a plein air water color. Ask Doug if it could possibly get any better than this.

The opposition to the take over of this wonderful land is growing daily. Below are some links where you can see what’s going on and how the public, (that’s us) can become involved. We need to hollar loud and clear.


Doug Holdread’s web site, has a passel of links and information in it. Take a look! It has a lot of Doug’s wonderful paintings too.

This is a piece I did last week end when I painted out with Doug Holdread and several other painters who have taken an interest in the fight the ranchers have undertaken. It’s a 12×16-oil. Title is “Lone Oak”. There is a great story and photographs to go with this painting. Yer gonna love it. I’ll post more about it later but for right now I’m going to put in some more photos of the area in South East Colorado.

I took my Mazda 6 down this road. Whoa Rich!!

You don’t want to fall in this hole. Even if you’re lucky enough to fall into the water the pool is still nearly 30 feet deep.

More soon. EW


12 Responses to “The Army Just Doesn’t Get It.”

  1. Hi Eldon,

    I’m with you 100%. It’s hard for artists to stay apolitical when
    they’re faced with a possible disaster on this scale. So which
    of your two parties is willing to save the land from the army?
    Or is that going too far?

    I’d like to holler, but does a Canadian’s opinion matter on this one?
    The painting, as always is absolutely fabulous.


  2. Beautiful land and photos. Thank you for sharing the situation with us. Our government is unbelievable sometimes. We need to get someone elected who cares about the land and our precious resources.

  3. Hi Barbara, Looks like I got to choose a side once in a while. I come from down there and have run those prairies for nearly 40 years. I’m thinking Obama might be most likely to take up the ranchers cause since his opponent seems to like to play army. I don’t know what they would say if a Canadian spoke up. Probably not much really, We’re having a hard time being heard down here. 🙂 I’ll keep ya posted. thanks

  4. Thanks Cynthia, You’re right, sometimes these guys really take the cake. I wonder how much our presidential candidates know about it and if they’ve been pressed on it. It would be interesting to hear wouldn’t it?

  5. Great post Eldon. Thanks for helping to spread the word. I love the photos and of course, your paintings! Obama’s military adviser came to La Junta a while back and got an earful, but who knows if the expansion issue got any further up the line. But I agree with you that McCain’s highest priority is building a bigger badder military and using it where ever and when ever possible. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s his answer to our economic problems; build more weapons to sell to world; invest in the military-industrial complex. I’ve decided that McCain’s perspective is profoundly shaped by the Viet Nam War. That’s why he is so bull-headed about Iraq. He is still stinging from a feeling of betrayal by the government, pulling out of Nam.

    Anyway, I’m glad for this opportunity to stand, as an artist in solidarity with the ranchers against the expansion of Pinon Canyon. It is an outrage that patriotic American Citizens would find themselves in a position of having to defend their homes against an invasion by their own military.

  6. No problem Doug, I was hoping you wouldn’t mind me putting your link into the post. Which reminds me… May I put a permanent link to your site in my links list? The list is upper left in each post if you’d like to see what is already there.
    I’m going to post again real soon. I have a story I want to tell and I don’t want to forget what goes in it. I usually wait until Wed. but I’ll fudge a little this time. Say Hey! to Lori. I’m glad she liked the photo. Aint that black and white version of you guys under the oak a beut?

  7. Doug, upper right is more like it. 🙂

  8. Glad to see you are on board…this is a great place to live and it will be a fantastic place to retire…I think I’ll get to do that someday….

  9. Hi Nancy, many is the time I’ve thought the same thing. I’d love a place “out South” where I can retire. I plan on living to a ripe old age so I guess it would be cool to be where I’d be happy. My favorite place to paint is still S.E. Colorado. I connected a long time ago.

  10. My Gosh what a travasty!!! The army (read government) never has gotten it and probably never will. It is a huge mechanical engine that worrys only about feeding itself it seems. I sincerely hope a change is coming soon. Otherwise we will not have any rights or voice left. I could go on…..but won’t! I love this country and just in my lifetime have seen so much rape of the land and its people.
    Sincerely, Theresa

  11. Hey Eldon, Looks like you guys had a blast out there. Beautiful country. Beautiful Paintings!!

  12. Yeah we did Josh. You’d have loved it. What say we head out there this summer? There are several others wanting to go so we can make a party of it.

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