2016

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Reflections

What was most interesting to you about the projects your group members completed? How did they relate to yours? What could someone learn from reading and considering all the projects in your group together?

Gannon’s site as I mentioned in class, parallels mine in a way and was what I was considering since I’m actively involved in Applewood’s meetings and support against Molson/Coors selling the Applewood Golf Course to a developer. But as I began developing my blog, I was more interested in its history in order to understand and intelligently address the where, how, what and why of the areas current issues. I liked what he did with his blog and since the subject matter was one I was starting with and it complemented my place project, I decided to add his thesis as a post to my blog along with a link his blog.

Lana’s blog was really interesting and I learned about the significance of Infinity Park located in Glendale, which I had no prior knowledge of. Who would have thunk of the significance of the park, let alone Rugby. I also found it interesting how the natural and synthetic world intertwined (as we discussed in class) in conservation planning of the park.

Evan’s blog I liked because I’m interested in the Steamboat Springs area, so now when I decide to visit the place, I’ll have some background knowledge of the place and have a better insight of its history and current state of affairs.

 

What were you most excited to have learned about this place that you selected?

It was cool to see how these two cities developed and the influence they had on one another along with how they and the environment were impacted by events of the time. It was also neat to see the relation of my research of the place project to our readings and class lectures.

 

Now that you have your own personal website, what might you use it for in the future? Possible uses could for other class projects, personal blogs/interests, homepage for a group you’re involved in, professional portfolio, etc. (Remember, you can own separate sites from your WordPress account, and you can share authorship with others on a given site.)

Since I only have two credits left to graduate, I won’t be using my blog for another class unfortunately. So my current plan is to develop the blog and content better and become more familiar with its functions and capabilities to make it better looking and easier to navigate. So far, I’ve done some cool stuff to my blog which wasn’t part of the required class outline, like drop down tabs, which at first would only drop to the right, so I figured how to make my tabs drop directly down. Figured out how to make it snow on my page and becoming more familiar with its coding. Once I get my blog polished-up some, I’d like to make it available to the Applewood and Golden community to keep folks updated on the Molson/Coors Development and future plans with the golf course while creating a site which can be used to collect some history from families who’ve been living in the area from way back in hopes of sharing with others Golden’s and Applewood’s rich history and possibly a forum for airing concerns or ideas.

2015 08 28: Rec District Seeks OK to Purchase Applewood Golf Course near Golden

A developer wants to buy Applewood Golf Course
GOLDEN, CO, – FEBRUARY 12: Golfers out on the fairway of Applewood Golf Course February 12, 2015 in Golden. A developer wants to buy Applewood Golf Course to build more than 400 homes. (Photo By John Leyba/The Denver Post)

If approved, the district would save the golf course from 400-unit development

By Josie Klemaier of The Denver Post, Yourhub Golden
YourHub Reporter

 

 

Applewood vs. Molson-Coors

Author: Gannon Kehe
Source: Gannon Kehe / Place Project

With the growing popularity of the Colorado suburban lifestyle, and high rates of individuals moving to the state, the rate of expansion of the real estate market has risen accordingly; making the controversy over the future of Applewood Golf Course a heated debate between a frustrated community and a private owner, who’s capitalization of the land has evoked the members of the Applewood community to fight for their nature, way of living, and ideals that have resonated in the community for over 100 years.
A Bit of History:

The birth of Applewood originated from the Homestead Act and a family of farmers making their claim and pursing the American Dream. In the mid 1880’s the Bunger family came to Colorado as, “part of the wave of farmer emigrants from Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, and other eastern states”[1] They arrived from Indiana and homesteaded in Wheat Ridge to raise their nine children and began a farm of their own. “Growing wheat began as early as 1862 but soon gave way to the cultivation of apples, strawberries, raspberries, peas, carrots, onions, potatoes, and other vegetables. To supply the many customers in Denver, Fred Bunger would visit farms to gather produce to sell on commission along with his harvest”[1] due to the harsh road conditions and traveling by wagon. This began to establish a sense of community in the area as a helping hand in transporting crops allowed the Wheat Ridge/Golden Farms to flourish. Shortly after, his son, “Myron Bunger, the family’s entrepreneur, opened Bunger’s Cellar–Wheat Ridge’s first real fruit stand—on West 38th Avenue”[1], which the family managed for years. During the harshest point of the Depression, in 1932, “two of the brothers, Myron and Howard, and a sister, Berness, scraped together an $8,000 down payment for 80 acres centered on West 26th Avenue and Youngfield Street. The land was crossed by a creek that provided good water rights. Today this is the location of Maple Grove Reservoir.”[1]
MapleGroveReservoir
Image obtained from bcsprosoft (WordPress upload) “Maple Grove Reservoir”

The origin of the name “Applewood” however, originated a few years later from a savvy trade made by Myron, the entrepreneur, where he was paid for one of the family horses in apple seedlings. When it came time to plant the seedlings, plowing was a futile endeavor as the ground was too hard to break the top soil. However, with a little determination and knowledge of soil fertility, the Bunger family developed an innovative method of aeration and fertilization in which, “they pounded a crowbar into the ground and shoved in a stick of dynamite. After the explosion, the ground cracked enough to plow so they could plant the seedlings. The cracks aerated the soil, and the nitrogen from the gun powder provided a powerful fertilizer. The result was a productive orchard.”[1] With the success of the community farms and excess of open space the land was becoming a much more valuable commodity for the real estate industry than for farming. Developers began to see the untapped potential and soon privately owned land was being purchased for housing developments. The first of nine was the 160-acre Creighton Airport landing field that was developed into 450 Hutchinson Homes and a stretch of I-70 in 1962. Finally, “in 1954, the area was named Applewood, after the Bunger apple orchard at 18th Avenue and Youngfield Street”[1] and encompassed an area large enough to be a city in itself. “Applewood has changed from farms supplying the early gold seekers, to large-acreage ranges, to homes which became the ‘city’ of Applewood. This 4.8 square-mile area, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, is home to 7,120 residents, many of whom are involved in the life of the greater Denver Metropolitan Area.”[1]

One of the other largest contributors to the development of the Applewood/Golden community and its ideals was a 21 year old brewing apprentice named Adolph Coors, who immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1868 and arrived in Colorado in 1872. Coors, while broke and not knowing hardly any English, worked hard as a gardener and manager of a bottle plant in hopes of saving enough money to open his own brewery. His dream came to light in 1873 when he went into business with a man named Jacob Schueler and they purchased an old tannery building in the Golden valley and named it the Golden Brewery. Adolph Coors took over as owner of the company in 1880 and renamed it the Coors Golden Brewery. As he began to build his global beer business, the widespread success of the brewery resulted in an economic growth in the Applewood/Golden area as water sources from the Rocky Mountain snowmelt were harnessed and allowed for residential development. The profits of the brewery flowed back into the community as the brewery provided jobs and owned large parcels of land that were allocated for recreation and water storage such as Applewood Golf Course. The ownership of the Brewery remained in Coors family hands for over 100 years as it was passed down through his family of Golden natives who embodied similar ideals to Adolph and shared his mutual respect for the Applewood/Golden Community and the inherent beauty of the landscape.
Old coors factory
Image obtained from cityofgolden.net “S191 Castle Rock and Adolph Coors Golden Brewery. Golden, Colo.

However, in 2005, The Coors Brewing Company and Molson merged to become the world’s 5th largest brewery and the ownership transferred hands to Molson along with the plethora of land that Coors Brewery had owned. This effectively shifted the responsibility to Molson, to maintain a relationship that was both beneficial to the community and the brewery business. The Brewery—Community relationship remained on good terms until just recently, as a developer’s sites have turned towards a 145-acre lot owned by Molson Coors called Applewood Golf Course.
Molson Coors History
Image obtained from WordPress (jdcteam). “History of Coors Molson”
Present Day Land Use:

Applewood Golf Course; known to natives as lush, green, and chemical free, represents the connection between the descendants of the founding farmers and the nature that the present day residents hold so significance to their way of life. The course spans a 145-acre lot in the Golden valley and lies on Molson Coors property. The course has served as a source of recreation for Applewood natives for decades as a way to experience nature and has preserved the suburban lifestyle that has attracted so many to area by remaining unmolested by the rapidly growing real estate market in the surrounding Denver Metro Area. Applewood Golf Course, being on Molson Coors property, has embodied the ideals set forth by the brewery on environmentally friendly practices which ensures no use of hazardous chemicals for course maintenance and no use of pesticides. The course maintenance mostly revolves around allocation of water which is provided by the Molson Coors water rights (Snow Melt from Rocky Mountains).
Applewood Golf Course
GOLDEN, CO – NOVEMBER 13: Golfers use the driving range at Applewood Golf Course on November 13, 2015, in Golden, Colorado. At the beginning of the month voters approved a tax increase to help Prospect Recreation and Park District purchase Applewood Golf Course in an attempt to save it from development. (Photo by Anya Semenoff/The Denver Post)

What can be seen from this image are the water sources and trees that line the majority of the holes on the course and provide an enclosure to the outside world. Although the course itself is manicured and slightly changed within, it retains its inherent beauty of nature, and serves as an escape from the industrialist world we live in. Yet, with the merger of Molson and Coors into an even larger brewing industry, the course is being subjected to the industrialist ideals of real estate developers who are viewing the land as a commodity that can turn a profit. The fate of the course could be sealed within the next year or so and could possibly turn into the next large housing development; attributing further to the decline of nature in our 21st century.
The Rezoning—Redevelopment Debate

Aldo Leopold’s perspectives on Conservation and Land Ethic in “A Sand County Almanac”[2] have appeared to resonate in the Applewood Community as the developer has backed out of the redevelopment process. After months of protesting and opposition, the Applewood community can rest easy for a short while as “the application for rezoning the property also stalls out”[3]. By viewing this controversy through the eyes of Leopold, a series of parallels begin to unfold which offer insight to the community’s opposition and why they are outraged with Molson.

With the rapid expansion of the Highlands area in Denver and its progression into the valley and foothills of Golden, the prevalence of open space and outlets for isolation and change-of-scene have greatly declined for the Applewood community, resulting in a demand for conservation. From Leopold’s perspective, “Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land”[2]; yet, what land will remain if the continuous pursuit of commodification of resources persists unchecked and without any ethical basis to follow. Leopold alludes to the idea that this necessary ethical baseline is defined within the community and reflects what is important to the individuals apart of it. The Applewood Community emulates these ideals as they have fought hard to conserve the open space and way of life they pride themselves in. Ironically, the land they are fighting to conserve is one of the aspects of Applewood that makes it so appealing to developers.

Similar to the push for conservation of the land, the Applewood Community is concerned with the preservation of their way of life. Present day Applewood is home to mostly upper—middle class families with young children and active lifestyles. When news of an application for rezoning the course for redevelopment reached the community members, they saw the new development as more than a loss of nature, but as a threat to their way of life. This stirred a large scale opposition as the public has rallied together over the past 8 months to fight for the course. Between community meetings with lines out the door, yard signs, email lists, and pressure from the natives on the County Commissioner to reject the application as he approaches re-election, the Applewood Golf course debate has become a lengthy struggle between an industrial powerhouse and a strong cohesive community.
No rezoning
Image obtained from Scoopnest “drive to Applewood Golf Course”

Neighborhood organizations such as SAGC (Save Applewood Golf Course), AVA (Applewood Valley Association), and APOA (Applewood Property Owners Association) were formed and assisted community members in making their voice heard. They distributed information pamphlets and contact information for those involved in the approval process as well as opposition registration forms where community members could voice their opinion and explain their specific reasons for opposition such as the form attached here. The largest concerns seemed to revolve around the addition of 400 new families to the community and the traffic and children that come along with them. The group president of the APOA, Brian Hansen, helped elaborate on this concern as he explains the already crowded and competitive school system. Hansen states, “We have three schools in the neighborhood—Litz Preschool, Maple Grove Elementary and the Manning School. These schools are already in high demand—parents line up at Litz Preschool at 2a.m. on registration day to get one of their limited spots.”[4] I can personally attest to this concern as I went to Maple Grove and Manning, yet, despite growing up directly across the street, it was still quite difficult to get into the schools and has become increasingly difficult every year since. This hit home with the Applewood residents as many of them have moved to the suburbs to begin a family and be able to provide their kids with a sound education. Likewise, community members were worried about preservation of their open space and loosing, “a long-standing community gathering and recreational place.”[4] As one resident, Robin White puts it, “People bring their children and their grandchildren [here]. It’s more than just golf. It’s a gathering place.”[5] It’s not difficult to see that the land represents a whole lot more to the natives of Applewood than just a golf course. There has been a land ethic that has developed over the past century where, as Leopold describes, “In short, a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it. It implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect for the community as such.”[2] There is an implied respect between the citizens of Applewood and the land that surrounds them and a mutually beneficial relationship between the two.

Finally, the Neighborhood organizations took a legal stance against the application as they opposed, “the rezoning application through the public rezoning process.”[6] They believed, “that the developer has ignored the mineral preservation statute that precludes residential development on this property and that this statute will be upheld by the courts if rezoning is approved.”[6] In an email from SAGC to community members[7], the grounds for a lawsuit they filed to block the housing development were explained as well as a new ballot measures to protect the course. Primarily, SAGC believed that Colorado Law states that no one can build houses on this property due to a large quantity of valuable gravel under the course. If the lawsuit went in favor of SAGC, there were new measures on the fall 2015 ballot allowing the incurring of debt in the District to finance the purchase of the property through the Prospect Recreation & Park District (PRPD). Not too shortly after the lawsuit was filed, the developer who was pursuing the purchase of the course backed out and the property returned to the market for sale. In a more recent email from SAGC, they explained that “Molson-Coors reached out to the PRPD and an informal meeting took place to discuss the sale of the golf course property.”[7] Hence, the next milestone to achieve conservation will depend on Molson-Coors and the PRPD negotiating a fair price for purchase. The initial $16.2 million asking price is just far too outside the means of the Parks Department; however, if the lawsuit goes in favor of SAGC, I am sure the price will drop immensely if the land cannot be commoditized by real estate due to zoning laws. The future of the course lies in the hands of Molson and I hope the united voice of the Applewood community will be loud enough for Molson to hear.
Final Thoughts

Where Molson went wrong, was he viewed the course as an economical commodity as opposed to an important part of a conservative community. Although Molson is not a part of the Applewood community and environment, he still has the ability to greatly influence them. Despite his “ownership” of the land, the course belongs as much to Molson-Coors as it does the Applewood residents and they are prepared to fight for it. There was a lack of mutual respect for the land and community by Molson and he failed to identify the symbiotic relationship between them that far surpassed more than just the dollar sign. “If the private owner were ecologically minded, he would be proud to be the custodian of a reasonable proportion of such areas, which add diversity and beauty to his farm and to his community”[2]. Instead, Molson-Coors explains, “We understand that some in the community would like to preserve the property as open space. However, we reiterate that we are not in the golf business and any decision we make with regard to the property will be consistent with our efforts to invest in our global beer business, which is our top priority.”[3] Unfortunately, this has been a reoccurring theme throughout the history of industrialism where the industry takes priority over the individual and communities suffer as a result.

There is still a long road ahead for the individuals of Applewood and the future of the golf course. However, by taking an ethical and legal stand against Molson and personifying the ideals of Leopold, Adolph Coors, and the Bunger family, by working as a community with mutual respect for each other as well as the land they inhabit; the residents of Applewood may be able to conserve their course and way of life.
Historic Golden Valley
Image obtained from Pinterest…. Elizabeth Trala “Colorado My Home”

[1] HistoricJeffco.org. “Historically Jeffco.” Issue 33. 2012 https://historicjeffco.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/historical_jeffco_2012_web.pdf.
[2] Aldo Leopold. “A Sand County Almanac.” New York. Ballantine Books.
[3] Melissa Blasius. KUSA. “applewood-golf-course-buyer-backs-out”. 9news. web. accessed 11/11/15. Published 11/6/15. http://www.9news.com/story/news/investigations/2015/11/06/applewood-golf-course-buyer-backs-out/75329770/.
[4] Josie Klemaier. YourHub Golden. The Denver Post. Web. Accessed 12/2/15. Published 2/12/15. http://www.denverpost.com/golden/ci_27513608/applewood-golf-course-sale.
[5] Kassandra Lau. “Hundreds pack meeting to rezone golf course.” 9News. April 8, 2015. KUSA-TV. Web. Accessed 11/1/15. http://www.9news.com/story/news/local/2015/04/08/hundreds-fill-golf-course-rezoning-meeting/25448061/.
[6] Reader Clarke. “Applewood Golf Course Rezoning Moves Forward.” Wheat Ridge Transcript. Thursday, July 2, 2015. Web. Accessed 11/1/15. http://wheatridgetranscript.com/stories/Applewood-Golf-Course-rezoning-moves-forward,192968.
[7] SAGC Neighborhood Organization email list: saveapplewoodgolfcourse@gmail.com.

 

ABOUT

despicable-me-2-img

Retrieved From: newrochelletalk

Hello and thank you for visiting my blog. I’m an Environmental Studies senior in the undergrad dept. of C.U. Boulder. This site was developed for a course at the University of Colorado at Boulder – History 4416: Environmental History of North America, Fall 2015 taught by Dr. Phoebe Young. Support for this project kindly provided by ASSETT (Arts & Sciences Support of Education Through Technology) at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

For my class place project, I will look into the history and current period on the development of the Golden and Applewood Mesa community. I will show how it parallels similar stages of the first settlers of this nation, the Homestead Act and the developing stages from an agrarian community to what is now an urban, recreational community and a world leader in technology in the center of a diverse environment known as Golden. I will also attempt to tie in external environmental factors that influenced the progressions of Golden and Applewood Mesa communities from their beginnings to present time.

This blog is updated frequently, so content of pages subject to change.

Any constructive feedback is most welcomed.

Cheers!

 

Applewood vs. Molson-Coors

Page by: Gannon Kehe @ Place Project
Website: https://gannonkehe.wordpress.com

 

Applewood vs. Molson-Coors

With the growing popularity of the Colorado suburban lifestyle, and high rates of individuals moving to the state, the rate of expansion of the real estate market has risen accordingly; making the controversy over the future of Applewood Golf Course a heated debate between a frustrated community and a private owner, who’s capitalization of the land has evoked the members of the Applewood community to fight for their nature, way of living, and ideals that have resonated in the community for over 100 years.

A Bit of History:

The birth of Applewood originated from the Homestead Act and a family of farmers making their claim and pursing the American Dream. In the mid 1880’s the Bunger family came to Colorado as, “part of the wave of farmer emigrants from Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, and other eastern states”[1] They arrived from Indiana and homesteaded in Wheat Ridge to raise their nine children and began a farm of their own. “Growing wheat began as early as 1862 but soon gave way to the cultivation of apples, strawberries, raspberries, peas, carrots, onions, potatoes, and other vegetables. To supply the many customers in Denver, Fred Bunger would visit farms to gather produce to sell on commission along with his harvest”[1] due to the harsh road conditions and traveling by wagon. This began to establish a sense of community in the area as a helping hand in transporting crops allowed the Wheat Ridge/Golden Farms to flourish. Shortly after, his son, “Myron Bunger, the family’s entrepreneur, opened Bunger’s Cellar–Wheat Ridge’s first real fruit stand—on West 38th Avenue”[1], which the family managed for years. During the harshest point of the Depression, in 1932, “two of the brothers, Myron and Howard, and a sister, Berness, scraped together an $8,000 down payment for 80 acres centered on West 26th Avenue and Youngfield Street. The land was crossed by a creek that provided good water rights. Today this is the location of Maple Grove Reservoir.”[1]

MapleGroveReservoir
Image obtained from bcsprosoft (WordPress upload) “Maple Grove Reservoir”

The origin of the name “Applewood” however, originated a few years later from a savvy trade made by Myron, the entrepreneur, where he was paid for one of the family horses in apple seedlings. When it came time to plant the seedlings, plowing was a futile endeavor as the ground was too hard to break the top soil. However, with a little determination and knowledge of soil fertility, the Bunger family developed an innovative method of aeration and fertilization in which, “they pounded a crowbar into the ground and shoved in a stick of dynamite. After the explosion, the ground cracked enough to plow so they could plant the seedlings. The cracks aerated the soil, and the nitrogen from the gun powder provided a powerful fertilizer. The result was a productive orchard.”[1] With the success of the community farms and excess of open space the land was becoming a much more valuable commodity for the real estate industry than for farming. Developers began to see the untapped potential and soon privately owned land was being purchased for housing developments. The first of nine was the 160-acre Creighton Airport landing field that was developed into 450 Hutchinson Homes and a stretch of I-70 in 1962. Finally, “in 1954, the area was named Applewood, after the Bunger apple orchard at 18th Avenue and Youngfield Street”[1] and encompassed an area large enough to be a city in itself. “Applewood has changed from farms supplying the early gold seekers, to large-acreage ranges, to homes which became the ‘city’ of Applewood. This 4.8 square-mile area, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, is home to 7,120 residents, many of whom are involved in the life of the greater Denver Metropolitan Area.”[1]

One of the other largest contributors to the development of the Applewood/Golden community and its ideals was a 21 year old brewing apprentice named Adolph Coors, who immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1868 and arrived in Colorado in 1872. Coors, while broke and not knowing hardly any English, worked hard as a gardener and manager of a bottle plant in hopes of saving enough money to open his own brewery. His dream came to light in 1873 when he went into business with a man named Jacob Schueler and they purchased an old tannery building in the Golden valley and named it the Golden Brewery. Adolph Coors took over as owner of the company in 1880 and renamed it the Coors Golden Brewery. As he began to build his global beer business, the widespread success of the brewery resulted in an economic growth in the Applewood/Golden area as water sources from the Rocky Mountain snowmelt were harnessed and allowed for residential development. The profits of the brewery flowed back into the community as the brewery provided jobs and owned large parcels of land that were allocated for recreation and water storage such as Applewood Golf Course. The ownership of the Brewery remained in Coors family hands for over 100 years as it was passed down through his family of Golden natives who embodied similar ideals to Adolph and shared his mutual respect for the Applewood/Golden Community and the inherent beauty of the landscape.

Old coors factory
Image obtained from cityofgolden.net “S191 Castle Rock and Adolph Coors Golden Brewery. Golden, Colo.

However, in 2005, The Coors Brewing Company and Molson merged to become the world’s 5th largest brewery and the ownership transferred hands to Molson along with the plethora of land that Coors Brewery had owned. This effectively shifted the responsibility to Molson, to maintain a relationship that was both beneficial to the community and the brewery business. The Brewery—Community relationship remained on good terms until just recently, as a developer’s sites have turned towards a 145-acre lot owned by Molson Coors called Applewood Golf Course.

Molson Coors History
Image obtained from WordPress (jdcteam). “History of Coors Molson”

Present Day Land Use:

Applewood Golf Course; known to natives as lush, green, and chemical free, represents the connection between the descendants of the founding farmers and the nature that the present day residents hold so significance to their way of life. The course spans a 145-acre lot in the Golden valley and lies on Molson Coors property. The course has served as a source of recreation for Applewood natives for decades as a way to experience nature and has preserved the suburban lifestyle that has attracted so many to area by remaining unmolested by the rapidly growing real estate market in the surrounding Denver Metro Area. Applewood Golf Course, being on Molson Coors property, has embodied the ideals set forth by the brewery on environmentally friendly practices which ensures no use of hazardous chemicals for course maintenance and no use of pesticides. The course maintenance mostly revolves around allocation of water which is provided by the Molson Coors water rights (Snow Melt from Rocky Mountains).

Applewood Golf Course
GOLDEN, CO – NOVEMBER 13: Golfers use the driving range at Applewood Golf Course on November 13, 2015, in Golden, Colorado. At the beginning of the month voters approved a tax increase to help Prospect Recreation and Park District purchase Applewood Golf Course in an attempt to save it from development. (Photo by Anya Semenoff/The Denver Post)

What can be seen from this image are the water sources and trees that line the majority of the holes on the course and provide an enclosure to the outside world. Although the course itself is manicured and slightly changed within, it retains its inherent beauty of nature, and serves as an escape from the industrialist world we live in. Yet, with the merger of Molson and Coors into an even larger brewing industry, the course is being subjected to the industrialist ideals of real estate developers who are viewing the land as a commodity that can turn a profit. The fate of the course could be sealed within the next year or so and could possibly turn into the next large housing development; attributing further to the decline of nature in our 21st century.

The Rezoning—Redevelopment Debate

Aldo Leopold’s perspectives on Conservation and Land Ethic in “A Sand County Almanac”[2] have appeared to resonate in the Applewood Community as the developer has backed out of the redevelopment process. After months of protesting and opposition, the Applewood community can rest easy for a short while as “the application for rezoning the property also stalls out”[3]. By viewing this controversy through the eyes of Leopold, a series of parallels begin to unfold which offer insight to the community’s opposition and why they are outraged with Molson.

With the rapid expansion of the Highlands area in Denver and its progression into the valley and foothills of Golden, the prevalence of open space and outlets for isolation and change-of-scene have greatly declined for the Applewood community, resulting in a demand for conservation. From Leopold’s perspective, “Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land”[2]; yet, what land will remain if the continuous pursuit of commodification of resources persists unchecked and without any ethical basis to follow. Leopold alludes to the idea that this necessary ethical baseline is defined within the community and reflects what is important to the individuals apart of it. The Applewood Community emulates these ideals as they have fought hard to conserve the open space and way of life they pride themselves in. Ironically, the land they are fighting to conserve is one of the aspects of Applewood that makes it so appealing to developers.

Similar to the push for conservation of the land, the Applewood Community is concerned with the preservation of their way of life. Present day Applewood is home to mostly upper—middle class families with young children and active lifestyles. When news of an application for rezoning the course for redevelopment reached the community members, they saw the new development as more than a loss of nature, but as a threat to their way of life. This stirred a large scale opposition as the public has rallied together over the past 8 months to fight for the course. Between community meetings with lines out the door, yard signs, email lists, and pressure from the natives on the County Commissioner to reject the application as he approaches re-election, the Applewood Golf course debate has become a lengthy struggle between an industrial powerhouse and a strong cohesive community.

No rezoning
Image obtained from Scoopnest “drive to Applewood Golf Course”

Neighborhood organizations such as SAGC (Save Applewood Golf Course), AVA (Applewood Valley Association), and APOA (Applewood Property Owners Association) were formed and assisted community members in making their voice heard. They distributed information pamphlets and contact information for those involved in the approval process as well as opposition registration forms where community members could voice their opinion and explain their specific reasons for opposition such as the form attached here. The largest concerns seemed to revolve around the addition of 400 new families to the community and the traffic and children that come along with them. The group president of the APOA, Brian Hansen, helped elaborate on this concern as he explains the already crowded and competitive school system. Hansen states, “We have three schools in the neighborhood—Litz Preschool, Maple Grove Elementary and the Manning School. These schools are already in high demand—parents line up at Litz Preschool at 2a.m. on registration day to get one of their limited spots.”[4] I can personally attest to this concern as I went to Maple Grove and Manning, yet, despite growing up directly across the street, it was still quite difficult to get into the schools and has become increasingly difficult every year since. This hit home with the Applewood residents as many of them have moved to the suburbs to begin a family and be able to provide their kids with a sound education. Likewise, community members were worried about preservation of their open space and loosing, “a long-standing community gathering and recreational place.”[4] As one resident, Robin White puts it, “People bring their children and their grandchildren [here]. It’s more than just golf. It’s a gathering place.”[5] It’s not difficult to see that the land represents a whole lot more to the natives of Applewood than just a golf course. There has been a land ethic that has developed over the past century where, as Leopold describes, “In short, a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it. It implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect for the community as such.”[2] There is an implied respect between the citizens of Applewood and the land that surrounds them and a mutually beneficial relationship between the two.

Finally, the Neighborhood organizations took a legal stance against the application as they opposed, “the rezoning application through the public rezoning process.”[6] They believed, “that the developer has ignored the mineral preservation statute that precludes residential development on this property and that this statute will be upheld by the courts if rezoning is approved.”[6] In an email from SAGC to community members[7], the grounds for a lawsuit they filed to block the housing development were explained as well as a new ballot measures to protect the course. Primarily, SAGC believed that Colorado Law states that no one can build houses on this property due to a large quantity of valuable gravel under the course. If the lawsuit went in favor of SAGC, there were new measures on the fall 2015 ballot allowing the incurring of debt in the District to finance the purchase of the property through the Prospect Recreation & Park District (PRPD). Not too shortly after the lawsuit was filed, the developer who was pursuing the purchase of the course backed out and the property returned to the market for sale. In a more recent email from SAGC, they explained that “Molson-Coors reached out to the PRPD and an informal meeting took place to discuss the sale of the golf course property.”[7] Hence, the next milestone to achieve conservation will depend on Molson-Coors and the PRPD negotiating a fair price for purchase. The initial $16.2 million asking price is just far too outside the means of the Parks Department; however, if the lawsuit goes in favor of SAGC, I am sure the price will drop immensely if the land cannot be commoditized by real estate due to zoning laws. The future of the course lies in the hands of Molson and I hope the united voice of the Applewood community will be loud enough for Molson to hear.

Final Thoughts

Where Molson went wrong, was he viewed the course as an economical commodity as opposed to an important part of a conservative community. Although Molson is not a part of the Applewood community and environment, he still has the ability to greatly influence them. Despite his “ownership” of the land, the course belongs as much to Molson-Coors as it does the Applewood residents and they are prepared to fight for it. There was a lack of mutual respect for the land and community by Molson and he failed to identify the symbiotic relationship between them that far surpassed more than just the dollar sign. “If the private owner were ecologically minded, he would be proud to be the custodian of a reasonable proportion of such areas, which add diversity and beauty to his farm and to his community”[2]. Instead, Molson-Coors explains, “We understand that some in the community would like to preserve the property as open space. However, we reiterate that we are not in the golf business and any decision we make with regard to the property will be consistent with our efforts to invest in our global beer business, which is our top priority.”[3] Unfortunately, this has been a reoccurring theme throughout the history of industrialism where the industry takes priority over the individual and communities suffer as a result.

There is still a long road ahead for the individuals of Applewood and the future of the golf course. However, by taking an ethical and legal stand against Molson and personifying the ideals of Leopold, Adolph Coors, and the Bunger family, by working as a community with mutual respect for each other as well as the land they inhabit; the residents of Applewood may be able to conserve their course and way of life.

Historic Golden Valley
Image obtained from Pinterest…. Elizabeth Trala “Colorado My Home”

[1] HistoricJeffco.org. “Historically Jeffco.” Issue 33. 2012 https://historicjeffco.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/historical_jeffco_2012_web.pdf.
[2] Aldo Leopold. “A Sand County Almanac.” New York. Ballantine Books.
[3] Melissa Blasius. KUSA. “applewood-golf-course-buyer-backs-out”. 9news. web. accessed 11/11/15. Published 11/6/15. http://www.9news.com/story/news/investigations/2015/11/06/applewood-golf-course-buyer-backs-out/75329770/.
[4] Josie Klemaier. YourHub Golden. The Denver Post. Web. Accessed 12/2/15. Published 2/12/15. http://www.denverpost.com/golden/ci_27513608/applewood-golf-course-sale.
[5] Kassandra Lau. “Hundreds pack meeting to rezone golf course.” 9News. April 8, 2015. KUSA-TV. Web. Accessed 11/1/15. http://www.9news.com/story/news/local/2015/04/08/hundreds-fill-golf-course-rezoning-meeting/25448061/.
[6] Reader Clarke. “Applewood Golf Course Rezoning Moves Forward.” Wheat Ridge Transcript. Thursday, July 2, 2015. Web. Accessed 11/1/15. http://wheatridgetranscript.com/stories/Applewood-Golf-Course-rezoning-moves-forward,192968.
[7] SAGC Neighborhood Organization email list: saveapplewoodgolfcourse@gmail.com.

Thesis: The Tail of Two Cities

 

1
Image obtained from The Golden Hotel

 Introduction

     It’s been twenty two years since I’ve lived in a regular single family home (with the 2 yr. exception in Germany) amongst neighbors who weren’t active U.S. military members. During those years, I’ve had the privilege to live in different countries throughout the world from Europe, Asia, Saudi Arabia, Australia and many places in the U.S. to include Alaska. During most of that time, I lived in base housing on an Air Force base where the residences were either single family homes or quad town-homes near an active air field and other aerospace support facilities. It was almost like living in a big city that was built around an airport. This city (Air Base) had all the modern conveniences of a regular city; grocery store, recreation facility, hospital, gas stations, shopping center, movie theater, a gym with bowling, pools, a mini golf course and small restaurants. So after retiring from the Air Force in 2011, I wanted to live in an area that had cultural activities as well as recreational without having to live in a big city. I chose the Golden & Applewood Mesa because it was nestled in the Colorado Foothills and had a nice historic small town feel, only minutes away from the cultural activities of down town Denver without feeling like I was living near a major city and practically a stone’s throw from recreational activities right down the streets. Within Golden, there’s an unincorporated city called Applewood Mesa which is close to hiking trails in and around South Table Mountain and along Clear Creek River, not to mention the many parks and two golf courses within walking distance from my home. I bought a house in Applewood because it was unlike many neighborhoods and communities I’ve seen which tend to be cookie-cutters now-a-days. The neighborhood here is laced with individual style homes, thick of mature trees and with a crick running through the middle of it all.

      When I moved into an area, I like to learn its history and to imagine it in its beginnings; what was the place like before people, how did these communities first develop, why, what factors influenced their development? Was it utilitarian, political, or was it a vision to recapture a rural Mayberry or an urban Norman Rockwell like Eden? What I found was pretty typical of communities of the west which started around the 18-1900’s, but yet for me it was really amazing to be living in an area which kept its identity of its rich past as it developed through the years. Applewood Mesa, a place I’m proud to call my home, a quiet little Mayberry like community nestled near the Colorado Foothills, only minutes away from the Coors Brewery within a quaint little town called Golden. A place I feel is centralized within cultural and recreational activities. Driving through Golden & Applewood, one can’t help but notice some of the mid19th century architecture, the pride folks have in their community shows through their home landscaping, the healthy mature trees that adorn our community throughput, the daily activities one has access to such as cycling, running, jugging, walking, hiking, basketball courts, golfing, country club, gold panning, or just the simple gatherings of neighbors at their homes, or at one of the many parks surrounding the Golden & Applewood community. But like most historic communities, there’s a struggle to maintain its connection and identity to the past, while staying relevant in a changing modern landscape.

 

The History of Golden & Applewood Mesa

                                             Golden’s beginning as a mining supply stop along Clear Creek, near its 1858 discovery of gold.

Image collected from The Ted Kierscey Collection

       Golden & Applewood’s history is really not much different from other stories from the industrialization era in that, Applewood came about due to the Homestead Act of the 1800’s, when the Bunger family from the eastern states, joined the wave of migrating settlers heading west and was influenced in the mid 1800’s by the discovery of gold in Clear Creek and then the Rocky Mountains. The area near the creek developed into a small community and became an important mining supply stop supporting the gold, “coal mining and clay extraction industries which settled into the Clear Creek area, utilizing the region’s ample natural resources”.[01] The mining for uranium came later in the 20th ce. The mining supply stores near Clear Creek later became to be known as the Colorado School of Mines (Mines/CSM) and the city of Golden was born.

     Like most new settlers, around 1862, The Bunger’s began growing wheat in Wheat Ridge to meet local food demands. But because transporting of food, especially fruits & vegetables across the plains was expensive, the Bunger brothers, Fred and Myron found that specializing in fruits & vegetables was more profitable than seeking gold.[02] or growing wheat. So the brothers converted their wheat crops to start growing strawberries, raspberries, peas, carrots, onions, potato’s and other vegetables and[02] apples, in what is known today as Applewood Mesa in order to meet the food needs of local industry and residents.

      Since the west was still sparse and only beginning to slowly develop with the closet produce stand about sixteen mile away in Denver, located on the east side of the Platt River along Cherry Creek’s west bank, The bunger’s set up their own produce stand on west 36th ave. near Youngfield street, which at the time was substantially closer to the mining community of Golden than Denver’s.

     Wheat Ridge and Applewood’s industry transformed from its mid 19th century roots of supplying agricultural goods to ranchers, local industry and community to selling land in the early mid 20th century, to a smaller trades & goods industry, then to an sprawling urban housing community known today as Applewood, named after the Bunger’s Apple orchards that the homes were built upon.

       When the discovery of gold occurred around 1858 along the Clear Creek River, there were less than about 200 people in the Golden/Rocky Mountain area, and in only two years, nearly 35,000 people saturated the area in search of fortune and gold. The industries commodification of the area’s natural resources as coal, clay, the water by Coors and knowledge by the Mines via engineering/academics of students in minerals had strongly influenced the development and transformation of Denver and surrounding communities, and state government. This is similar to the Isenberg reading of when small groups of prospectors came to pan for gold, then industry moved in and started to develop the resources and communities grew as a byproduct of industry, changing the landscape and political structure.

  But the ecological/geological impact from the mining industry in the Golden and Applewood region was less destructive compared to the mining of California which Isenberg wrote extensively about. Even though the landscape was altered to accommodate industry of the time, it has transformed into a thriving economic urban community of energy and technology research, an internationally leading academic learning center for mining and petroleum technologies, of tourism from around the world, of family living and and a center of smaller trades as micro brews, and specialty services.

      Golden’s began as a mining supply stop along Clear Creek, near its 1858 discovery of gold.[03]

 History & Current State of Conservation/Preservation

Story of Golden Colorado

 Gold Rush Town Turning Green

     In the beginning, Golden and Applewood didn’t come about through a preservation or conservation movement. It was birthed through the accidental discovery of gold in 1830 by hired and private fur trappers of the area, which some developed into an industrial town of different mining companies, as did most cities in the west of that era. These activities change the landscape and displaced the ecosystem of the area by the removal of trees, mining of the landscape and the pollution and waste associated with industry of the time.

      Today, because of the preservation and conservation movement around 1890 to 1920, people from around the world come to Golden not in search of gold or minerals, but to escape the congestion and polluted air of their bumming cities and mostly to experience the sublime, which the Colorado Foothills and Rocky Mountains still offer a somewhat untouched wilderness form. To romanticize of the old west and its mystique of a simpler, more primitive time in history that once was, and in some respects, still is to this day.

         Golden has both preserved and restored its connection to the old west and of its environment and nature, while at the same time, still being able to adapt to the changing of times. Golden has preserved numerous areas around its city like the Lookout Mountain Nature Center and Preserve, by preserving 110-acre of ponderosa pines & meadows, with a nature center, trail & guided tours. The Bison Herd Nature Preserve, a wildlife refuge which maintains a herd of Bison in their natural setting. These Bison (not to be mistaken for the buffalo species which is indigenous to the regions of Asia  and Africa) are direct descendants of the last wild Bison herd which survived in America. The Golden Cliffs Preserve, which is the iconic symbol of Golden, Clear Creek Whitewater Park which provides recreational activities while maintaining a riparian along the creek. Golden Gate Canyon State Park, with its 12,000-acres of mountains, forests, meadows and recreational activities and so forth. Even though Golden is only minutes from the hustle & bustle of down town Denver, it has manage to survive and keep its small town, Mayberry like feel by creating parks in and around the Foothills and the city itself, restoring nature differently from what it once was to fit the needs of a developing community and ecosystem.

         Golden and Applewood are both focused on the preservation and conservation of nature and its valuable ecosystems because they value wilderness over the big city which Denver was becoming. The people of Golden and Applewood value the clean air, the fresh clear Rocky Mountain water, to be connected with nature and the health and tranquility that come with those elements. Golden is still on the path of protecting nature and the environment now, and in the future through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, (NREL) (located on the south side of South Table Mountain Park) a world leader in developing sustainable and renewable clean energy and energy efficiency technologies and practices. The preservation and conservation movement has now evolved from being a local and national interest only, to a global interest, and Golden is a big part of that movement.

       So even though the times and approaches towards conservation and preservation have changed, the dichotomy of methodologies, reasons and philosophical/utilitarian values really haven’t.

From Mining Industry to Recreation and Everything in Between

       After reading Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac,[04] [05] [06] I have another vantage view of my place project of Golden/Applewood from a different angle.

After the industrialized revolution calmed down for Golden and Applewood, some people stayed behind because of the natural beauty and the rustic feel of the area. Then after World War II in 1945, life appeared to be getting better and starting to become normalized; the consumer economy was starting to boom, people had money to spend on luxury items and had the financial means to do things they weren’t able to do before. This new era created “some major changes that began to take place in the American population.”[07] Many Americans became unsatisfied with their previous life and began searching for something better.

      “Millions of people moved out of cities and small towns to buy newly-built homes in the suburbs,”[07] and Colorado was no exception. To them, the Rocky Mountains were the epitome of nature; wild, natural and breathtaking. People started to visit the Rocky Mountains in search of the sublimed experience. But as Leopold mentioned, so were many others and like AMWAY, word of Colorado’s skiing and Wild West like atmosphere was spreading. As most places in the west, as people migrated (drove) their way in search of nature, roads and infrastructures were built in order for them to access and experience nature.

          Since Golden was close to the city of Denver and was also the gateway to the Rocky Mountains, people started moving here to get away from the stress and congestion of city life and closer to the serenity of nature’s outdoors. As the population grew and people explored the outdoors, they discovered that there were so many activities to be had; skiing, mountain climbing, fishing, hiking, hunting, horseback riding, and camping, all within a reasonable walk or drive from Golden. Others saw this trend and saw and opportunity decided to commoditize it. The highlands developed ski resorts, the national forestry started developing parks, camp sites and trails. Hotels started to populate the areas to offer billeting to visiting patrons, as did restaurants, recreation shops and other services type businesses.

        Like myself back in 2011, present day people are still traveling and moving to Colorado’s Golden and Applewood area for the fresh air, to be closer to nature and experience the sublime, for the recreational activities that abound our great state and to renew themselves by escaping the hustle & bustle of the big congested cities.  But with the influx of new people wanting to visit and live here, it’s creating a shortage and demand for housing, infrastructure and access to nature, highlighting the struggles between conserving and preserving nature and the need to develop housing and infrastructure to lessen the aforementioned deficit. A good example of this continuing struggle can be seen between the residents of Applewood and Molson/Coors. Molson/Coors want to sell the Applewood Golf Course which is located on a vital riparian ecosystem so that a developer can build 400 new housing complexes in order makeup some of the shortfalls in the demanding housing market. Molly Hendrickson of Denver’s News 7 wrote a brief story Apr 8, 2015 and provided a 1 ½ minute video[08] covering a meeting of the two parties (which I was a participant of) and the struggle of whether to conserve nature or develop it; “Neighbors say they’re concerned the development would create traffic problems, overcrowded schools and force the local wildlife out of the area” vs. “The developers want to build 454 houses in the area”.[08]

      The transformation from a once humble mining industry to one of a world leader in technology, petroleum & mineral university, and consumer recreation shows how the relationship between humans and nature and our responses when nature becomes disfigured and we try to reconstruct it through myths from the days of yore, only to not realize that nature, is all around us and always has been. This can be seen in the opposing interests of Applewood community and MolsonCoors, where MolsonCoors wants to divest in the Applewood Golf Course to a developer who wants to build in 454 homes over a natural ecosystem and Applewood wants to keep its quiet and natural habitat surroundings.


References:

01 A City of Golden. Golden History, Gateway to the West! 2015. 21 10 2015. (WEB LINK)

02 B Jefferson County Historical Commission. Historic Mining and Quarrying. May 2012. 30 10 2015. (WEB LINK)

03 Golden, Colorado – 1874 – Ted Kierscey Collection (WEB LINK)

04 Aldo Leopold, “Conservation Esthetic,” A Sand County Almanac (New York: Balantine Books, 1966; c.1949), 280-295. (WEB LINK)

05 Aldo Leopold, “Good Oak,” A Sand County Almanac (New York: Balantine Books, 1966; c.1949), 06-19/136-141. excerpts by Michael Smith, 2-11. Ney York: Ithaca College. (WEB LINK)

06 Aldo Leopold, “Land Ethic,” A Sand County Almanac (New York: Balantine Books, 1966; c.1949), 237-264. (WEB LINK)

Works Cited:

07 VOA News. The Making of a Nation “American History: Life in the US After World War Two” http://learningenglish.voanews.com/content/a-23-2006-12-28-voa1-83129597/126059.html. VOAnews. web. accessed 11/11/15. Published 12/28/06

08 Molly Hendrickson, KMGH. “Neighbors oppose development plans for Applewood Golf Course”. http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/front-range/golden/neighbors-oppose-development-plans-for-applewood-golf-course. 7news. web. accessed 11/11/15. Published 04/08/1

Blog.06 Drafting a Thesis

My Thesis

What environmental lessons can the tail of two cities teach us about ourselves, our past and possible our future? Golden & Applewood Mesa could be considered a historic and modern day environmental study of two cities born in an era of the western industrial age without environmentalism and how the two revised themselves through the decades of environmentalism and conservationism change, like the changing seasons of the Rocky Mountains, transforming, then giving us pause during the winter to reflect on our past and to prepare for a future of growth and opportunity in the spring of another new season of perpetual change.

 
Objectives

  • Research the history of Golden & Applewood Mesa
  • Explore connections and contributions of the two cities influence on local and regional environment
  • Discuss the significance the environment played in the development and growth of the area
  • Compare resource and environmental issues and philosophies of the past and today with class readings
  • Show how recreation and resource development changed throughout the years and their influences on the environment, economy and community living
  • Investigate the importance of conservation and preservation to the economic growth of the area and its future as a world leader in sustainability

Possible Components to Integrate into thesis

• “You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.” – James A. Froude

• “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” – Henry David Thoreau

• People, like the transparent eyeball, come to Colorado to become one with nature and absorb its …….