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County author inspires Colorado, Utah trek

Oct 21, 2012 - Staff

The annual fall trek sponsored by the Little Snake River Museum in Savery and the Little Snake River Valley Education Center was led by museum board member Linda Fleming on Sept. 30. The group traveled in a caravan of about 20 high-profile vehicles to tour the historic valley of Brown's Park in Colorado and Utah.

The theme of this year's trek, "Riding the Edge of an Era," was inspired by Fremont County author Diana Allen Kouris's award-winning book of the same name. Kouris, the author of two books about Brown's Park, was the guest speaker for the trek.

The first stop in the valley was at the 101-year-old Lodore School. Kouris' mother, Marie Allen, attended school there and in 1975 was successful in getting the school placed on the National Register of Historic Places. After telling a bit of history on the school, Kouris entertained the group with a video presentation about her life as a Brown's Park cowgirl riding the edge of an era.

Soon the group was off to the John Jarvie Historic Site to explore the buildings and eat a picnic lunch. Then, after driving along the high rim of Swallow Canyon, the group stopped at the Brown's Park Waterfowl Management Headquarters owned by the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources. This place, once known as the Brown's Park Livestock Ranch, is where Kouris grew up.

Kouris briefly pointed out the stark contrast of the thriving cattle ranch and lush wildlife haven she knew so well to the silent, straw-colored landscape of today which vividly reveals the consequences of government encroachment into Brown's Park that occurred in the 1960s and the resulting years of neglect.

After crossing the Green River on the swinging bridge and hearing a hair-raising tale about Kouris' family crossing the bridge one night during a storm, the trek's final stop in Brown's Park was at the Gates of Lodore where the Green River leaves the valley by way of Lodore Canyon. Linda Fleming spoke about Ann Bassett, Queen of the Cattle Rustlers, and Ann's sister, Josie. Their infamous family once lived nearby.

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