The Valley of Opportunity: A History of West-Central Colorado
BLM Cultural Resource Series (Colorado: No. 12)
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The history of west-central Colorado is the story of man using and adapting to his environment. As work on this study progressed, it became obvious that natural resources and their location led to two distinct patterns of development in different sections of the region. Men constantly made decisions about use of these resources and in a sense The Valley of Opportunity is a chronicle of those choices and their ramifications.

An author accumulates many debts along the trail of history and I am no different. I want to express my gratitude because without these people this document would have been impossible to write. Many thanks to the staffs of the Denver Public Library's Western History Department, the Documentary Resources Division of the Colorado Historical Society, the Western History Collections of Norlin Library at the University of Colorado, Mesa County Public Library, the Museum of Western Colorado, Mesa College Library, Garfield County Public Library, Glenwood Springs Public Library, Eagle County Public Library and Pitkin County Public Library. Special thanks go to the staffs at Colorado State Office and Grand Junction District Office, BLM, and Colorado National Monument, NPS. To simply say thank you to John Crouch, BLM District Archaeologist, Grand Junction hardly covers the debt. But the biggest obligation, by far, is owed Dr. Frederic J. Athearn, BLM's Colorado State Historian. His professional guidance and editing did more than anything else to strengthen the document. A special thank you to Larraine Davis, Debbie Allyn, Vickie Noreen, Mary Seifert, Cindy Gurule, and Terri Kingery who made it all possible by spending what must have seemed like endless hours at a typewriter. Finally, I must say thanks to my wife Carol, for her help, encouragement and occasional use of her "nimble fingers".


Steven F. Mehls was born in March, 1952 at Omaha, Nebraska. He received his Bachleor's degree from Drake University in Des Moines, Ia., in 1974. That summer, following the example of many of west-central Colorado's pioneers, the author moved West. The next year he received a Masters degree in American History from the University of Colorado and a Ph.D. in Western American History in 1982. The author has published in numerous professional journals and is a member of many professional societies.

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Last Updated: 31-Oct-2008