Pera:Valley Floor Going to the (Prairie) Dogs | Musings of a Mountain Man
by Jack Pera
Sep 13, 2007 | 1134 views | 1 1 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Have you noticed? The comparison is so stark and repulsive, how could you miss it?

As you drive into the Telluride Valley, past the Eider Creek Condos and Hillside Subdivision, notice how lush and green the meadows are on the south side of the highway.

Part of that $50 million open space investment sitting in a gorgeous mountain panorama now also sits in a court of law. As you continue towards Telluride make a point of studying the topography of the meadow that’s east of the San Miguel Country Store Shell gas station. You know, the one that used to be lush and green and completely covered with a solid carpet of yellow dandelions like those further west were earlier this summer. Looks like hell, doesn’t it? The prairie dogs have trashed it. And it’s only going to get worse. If you don’t believe that, drive west of Norwood and look at some of those ranchers’ pastures that have been completely ruined by prairie dogs.

It’s not going to stop there, either. There are prairie dogs in the Eider Creek/Hillside south-of-the-highway meadows I just mentioned. Saw some a few days ago. There also were a few in the meadow just east of the Hillside subdivision on the north side of the highway that the San Miguel Valley Corp. owns outright that seem to have mysteriously disappeared. Hurrah for whoever pulled that one off.

Earlier this summer I noticed a prairie dog in the meadow adjacent to the west of the Pearl Property. Maybe the water table is a tad too high in those two parcels for prairie dogs, and maybe not. I hope so. Time will tell. In any event, the damn things are likely going to destroy all the meadows on the valley floor that aren’t swampy wet sooner than later, because they multiply like juicy gossip. We raised $50 million bucks for that precious property and now we’re going to allow those luscious meadows to be converted into trash heap wastelands? Insane.

If Neal Blue gets to keep his property, it’s my bet he’ll get rid of them pronto, and it can’t happen soon enough for me. Oh, of course there’s an alternative removal option: Let ’em breed themselves into an overpopulation/disease crash. They almost always do. My observation is that they’re smart enough to avoid heavy predation, which in turn allows them to breed like – well, maggots and humans. Then they disappear almost overnight because they invariably acquire the bubonic plague, which kills them off like flies. Isn’t it ironic? A plague gets the plague. What’s left is a moonscape trashed by holes and contaminated dirt that will take a couple of generations to completely recover.

I’ve got an idea. The Town of Telluride ought to collaborate with Neal Blue and the Colorado Division of Wildlife in a joint venture, and agree to call that prairie-dog-elimination dude out of Cortez and vacuum the Valley Floor prairie-dog clean. Immediately, doggone it. Oh I know, the G-D “Gunnison endangered things” are supposed to be protected at all costs, but there’s a solution to that, too. After sucking every damn one of them out of their lairs, we’ll ship half to St. George, Utah, and rename them “the St. George prairie devils.” We’ll ship the other half to Winnemucca, Nev., and rename that half the “Winnemucca ground rats.” Because they quickly double and redouble until multiplying themselves out of existence, splitting them into two colonies in different states will enhance their chances of survival, temporarily.

You know, on second thought, I don’t think Utah and Nevada are far enough away. I vote to relocate them in Outer Mongolia. Better yet, why not ship ’em to the Sahara Desert? That’s what a good portion of the Valley Floor is going to look like in a few years if we let ’em be. On the Sahara, they’ll feel right at home and fit right in.

I’m a nature-loving guy who generally likes all animals, but prairie dogs and skunks are right up there with rattlesnakes, scorpions and professional politicians in my book. 

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August 22, 2008

Once again the prairie dog is causing damage. Damage that had been eliminated years ago by the hunting of the little devils. Of course, things have changed and we are told to love all of God's creatures. Hell, we all have a relative we can't stand, why should we put up with prairie dogs?

As a kid in Montrose, my uncle Jack would take me with him and we would sit just outside a prairie dog colony and thats how I learned to handle a .22 rifle. It was great target practice and we eliminated the problem of hundreds of the little buggers in just a week. He worked for the electric company and also a government agency that was told to eradicate the little devils from the area. We tried, nothing was more enjoyable for a 10 year old, but I guess we failed, cause again we are bothered by the little buggers.

I guess history has a way of repeating itself, because I remember not too many years ago Colorado had a sanctioned hunting contest for shooting the dogs. What ever happened to that? Wyoming also had a contest and the animal lovers forced that to end. Also, tainted and poison bait was used but that caused more problems than shooting the critters.

Well, good luck on this one, as I said, history will repeat itself, again and again.

Ernie Milner