Hispano Heroes to Speak in Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area

The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area(SdCNHA) is proud to present an inspirational evening with Olympic Gold Medalist in Wrestling, National Wrestling Hall of Fame Member and UFC World Flyweight Champion Henry Cejudo. He will speak to the community about perseverance, dedication, finding your passion and having pride in oneself on September 22, 2018 at the Alamosa High School Gymnasium at 6pm. This event takes place during September, which is Hispanic Heritage Month and a perfect time to honor Hispano Heros Henry Cejudo and Frankie Sanchez. This event is free for all youth and those with student IDs. The doors will open at 5:30pm with an adult entry fee of $5 to be collected at the door. All proceeds will go towards heritage area youth history fair scholarships. All students who compete in the regional history fair this year with a topic about local history will be eligible to compete for scholarship funds. SdCNHA will hand out 5 special awards to local recipients during the evening as well.


Cejudo grew up in south central L.A., the son of undocumented immigrant parents and youngest of 7 children. He grew up poor, and his father – who struggled with drug and alcohol addiction – was absent for large stretches of his life and passed away when Henry was only 20. Henry captured four high school wrestling state championships (two in Colorado, two in Arizona). He was awarded (the title) ASICS National High School Wrestler of the Year (2006).
He participated in two Junior World Championships, placing fifth in 2005 and second in 2006. That same year, Henry became the first high schooler to win U.S. Nationals since USA Wrestling’s formation as the sport’s national body in 1983. Cejudo decided to skip wrestling at the college level and instead accepted an offer from USA wrestling to train at their main facilities in Colorado Springs, Colorado.Following successful performances at the Pan American Games and Pan American Championships, Cejudo qualified for the 2008 Olympics in last place and told he really had no shot at the gold. Not only did he win gold, at the time, he was the youngest American to ever become an Olympic champion in freestyle wrestling.
In January of 2013 Henry announced his plans to begin training for a MMA career. He has had 13 professional wins and 2 loss. One loss was his first match up with Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson in 2016 for the Flyweight title. He lost the fight via TKO in the first round being dropped with a variety of strikes. Henry took this loss as a reason to train harder for the next two years in hopes of a rematch.
His nickname “The Messenger” comes from the belief that his success is a platform to spread a greater message: No situation is too difficult to overcome. “You can accomplish anything that you dedicate yourself to. Think how many people struggle across the world, across the country. I know anything is possible if you set your mind, your body, your soul and your faith to it. MMA, fighting, winning the Olympics – it’s only a platform for me to help others. It’s just a tool,” Cejudo says. “I have a purpose and a meaning in life, and I have to fulfill that. Being a champion is great, but more importantly than that, you get to be an inspiration and a role model to other people.” Henry has also authored the book American Victory ,that the Los Angeles Times called, “Compelling…American Victory represents the triumph of the human spirit.”

Also speaking at the event is Frankie Sanchez Sr., an alumni of Adams State, member of Team Cejudo and entrepreneur. Frankie Sanchez Sr. is a native of Colorado and his family history traces back to the Spanish and Native Americans who settled in San Luis, Colorado. He won 6 Colorado Golden Gloves Boxing Championships and after a great high school wrestling career he received a wrestling scholarship to Adams State. After competing in wrestling for five years at Adams State, Frankie turned professional in the sport of boxing. He fought 32 pro fights and competed for 3 professional championships that were televised on HBO, Showtime and Pay Per View Television. After his professional Sports career, Frankie used his college degree to enter into many different careers fields. He was a youth counselor, college recruiter, Jr. High and high school wrestling coach. He also did private security for movie stars such as The Karate Kid Ralph Machio and Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee.
In 2013 Frankie took a chance and followed his love and passion for food and giving back to others and purchased a used hot dog cart. His goal was to create and serve food that he grew up eating in Southern Colorado. His idea of serving customers tacos, burritos, nachos and quesadillas along with green and red chili and his sriracha ranch sauce has really taken off. His company North of the Border Grill is now one of the top food truck companies in Colorado. He now has 2 food trucks, 7 food carts and a private restaurant in the Denver Tech Center. His company is now partnered with four multi million dollar companies. Iheart radio, American Financing, 505 salsa and Flagship Food Group. His startup taco cart company, that he established with $700.00 only five years ago and is only opened part time, is now selling between $500,000.00 and $1,000,000.00 per year.
Frankie’s goal was to always give back to his community and motivate others to become successful. In 2008 Henry Cejudo contacted Frankie Sanchez for assistance in putting together a fundraiser to help some of Henry’s family members travel to China to support him with his dream of becoming an Olympic champion. The fundraiser was a success and His family was able to travel to China and watch Henry shock the world and achieve the biggest accomplishment in his life.

After the Olympic Games in 2008 Frankie and Henry traveled across the USA visiting different schools, churches, book stores and colleges offering motivational speeches and wrestling camps.
On August 4,2018 Henry Cejudo once again made history and upset the pound for pound greatest fighter of all time, Demetris Johnson, to become the first ever Olympic and UFC champion. After celebrating a victory tour across the world in August, the next stop is here in Alamosa, Colorado to attend the Hispano Hero’s event hosted by the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area. Both Henry and Frankie are excited to return to the SLV where the journey to inspire others started in 2008. They love the support from the SLV and hope that with the new stories and experiences they have had and that they will share with you at this event that they can motivate people to go out and accomplish anything they want. They both believe that hard work, dedication and sacrifice is the key to success. They are both living proof that no matter where you come from or how many obstacles you have to cross, anything is possibles.

The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area (SdCNHA) was established by Congress in 2009 as being an important and unique part of the story of the founding of America. It is richly layered with stories of people, their traditions and arts, their histories and breathtaking landscapes. SdCNHA, which is a non-profit 50s located in south-central Colorado and covers more than 3,000 square miles of the San Luis Valley including Alamosa, Costilla and Conejos counties; the Great Sand Dunes National Park; and the Alamosa, Baca and Monte Vista Wildlife Refuges. The mission of SdCNHA is to promote, preserve, protect, and interpret its profound historical, religious, environmental, geographic, geologic, cultural, and linguistic resources. These efforts will contribute to the overall national story, engender a spirit of pride and self-reliance.

SdCNHA would like to thank sponsors that help make this event possible: Colorado Trust, Alamosa County Local Marketing District, Hampton Inn and Suites by Hilton,
Alamosa State Bank, La Jara Pharmacy Health Mart Center, San Luis Valley Brewing Company, Nino’s del Sol, Alta Fuels, VinRock Media, Chavez Southwest Market,
Alpine Electric, Grizzly MMA and the Zebra 97.1

For more event info and information on youth history scholarships visit www.sdcnha.org or find us on Facebook at Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area.

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Internship Opportunity

National Parks Intermountain Regional Office announces Internship opportunity with Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area.

Click below for details.


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Walking Through Our Past

Experience the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area by walking through our past on youth led walking tours with Caminos del Valle. Caminos del Valle is a connection focused walking community and program partner of the Walk2Connect Cooperative. Walk2Connect helps connect people to one another, to the places they live and to themselves through walking. They host community walking and hiking events throughout the year, train walking leaders and inspire connection-focused walking culture.

Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area Executive Director Tori Martinez has worked with Jonathan Stalls, Walk2Connect Founder/Co-op Owner as Team Support, to tie in local heritage and history to these walks.

She states, “I am proud of the youth leaders for their passion about heritage and culture. They have worked hard to learn about the history of where the walks take place. The youth are also building life-long skills during this program that are transferable to any career they pursue in the future.”

What makes the walks through the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area special alongside Walk2Connect programming is the focus on youth leadership.

“Youth are open, curious and passionate. Inviting them into more body movement, more time in nature and more human connection outside of walls and screens can do beautiful things. Weaving intention, stewardship and education around their local heritage, culture, and land is beautiful and necessary. Adding leadership and group facilitation skills is formative and empowering ~ for everyone involved. I’m so proud of these young people. It’s our first time hosting walks in these ways and they are doing such a great job” shared Jonathon.

“We strongly encourage young people and their families to join the walks to not only support our leaders, but to learn more about their culture and to see themselves as future leaders for things like this. The more young people we have connecting to one another, to the places they live and to themselves, the better,” continues Jonathon.

There are 4 walks left in this summer’s schedule that vary in topics and length.

On Saturday July 28th there will be a 3-4 mile forest walk in Osier. This walk will move through and around public lands on the Eastern side of Osier Mountain just west of Magote and Antonito. Youth Walking Leaders will guide participants into conversations on land conservation, public land resources, hunting practices in the San Luis Valley, local plants and more.

August 3rd’s tour features a 2 mile Lobatos Bridge and the Rio Grande River Walk. This will be a relaxing and beautiful big sky walking experience, visiting the historic Lobatos Bridge crossing over the Rio Grande River. Youth Walking Leaders will guide participants through a variety of themes related to native and local culture and heritage, Rio Grande river conservation, preservation and information on nearby petroglyphs.

On Saturday Aug 4th a walk through the history of Conejos County Mission Church’s with an all day 9-10 mile walk. Youth Walking Leaders will guide participants through a variety of themes connected to cultural heritage, religious traditions, and rooted practices. The walk will follow rural roads moving from one Mission Church to the next, with good breaks and community connections.

Then on Saturday August 11th, the Youth Walking Leaders will conclude this season with a walk through the history of Costilla County Mission Churches. They will guide participants through a variety of themes connected to cultural heritage, religious traditions and rooted practices. The tour will make its way on rural roads moving from San Luis, to San Pedro, to San Pablo and finishing in San Francisco. This will be an all-day walking experience with good breaks and community connections.

The walks are free to the public. However, anyone wishing to make a donation can send it to the SdCNHA. Specify you want your donation to go toward next year’s program to train more youth leaders.

For more information please visit www.walk2connect.com/slvyouthwalks2018 or call (719) 679-3119

For more information about the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area please visit www.sdcnha.org

Current partners of Walk2Connect and Caminos del Valle summer walking series are: San Luis Valley Great Outdoors (SLVGO), Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area (SDCNHA), Move Mountains Project San Luis, Conejos Clean Water, San Luis Valley Conservation and Connection Initiative and Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU).

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Upward Bound Student Interns at the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area


Alexander Stokes, a student from Alamosa High School, served a four week internship at the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area during the month of June.

Tori Martinez, the Executive Director for SdCNHA said this about Alex’s internship, “It’s my belief that when a person gets the opportunity to do an internship, especially one for a national organization, it’s the time to do your absolute best, to outperform, to over deliver, and to find and fill a need. Alex did all those things.”

Alex organized, archived, and researched heritage area documents for the staff. He helped with promotional preparation for the busy summer season and learned about the daily tasks of working for a National Heritage Area. In addition Alex also assisted in creating a set of self-guided tour itineraries.


In addition to performing much needed work at the SdCNHA, Alex was also mentored by the staff and board members. He was able to take a tour of Conejos County, and visit the Conejos Museum and Visitor Center also run by SdCNHA.


Alexander is a participant in the Adams State University’s Upward Bound Program. Upward Bound is a federally funded grant with the TRiO Program at Adams State University. Upward Bound is designed to motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds, supplementing their existing education and preparing them for academic success at all educational levels. Upward Bound provides opportunities for students to prepare for college entrance, succeed in pre-college performance and ultimately achieve success in higher education pursuits.

Admission to the ASU Upward Bound Program is based on student grades, teacher recommendations, and two written essays from the student. Students with an interest in postsecondary success are especially encouraged to apply. The program consists of an academic year program and a summer residential program.


Each summer, qualifying rising seniors apply for and compete to participate in Upward Bounds Work Internship Program, and can earn up to $600 per month.  Students work in various departments on campus, as well as off campus at local organizations and businesses.  The program is designed to expose students to possible career choices, and help them to achieve the skills, motivation and determination necessary to obtain a college degree.   It also helps them to develop an understanding of the attitudes and ethics that are necessary to achieve success in a professional career. “We love being able to provide internship opportunities to our students not only for the work experience, but for the opportunity to network and make meaningful connections.” Said Angelica Valdez, Executive Director of ASU’s Upward Bound Program.

To be selected for the program, a student must be a current Upward Bound participant who has completed the 11th grade, and has exemplary citizenship at their schools, as well as Upward Bound.

For more information about the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area please visit www.sdcnha.org.

For more information about Upward Bound please visit https://blogs.adams.edu/upward-bound/

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Intermountain Region Heritage Area Directors meet in Boulder

Across America there are places that are richly layered with stories of people, their traditions and arts, their histories and their breathtaking landscapes. Forty-eight of these areas have been recognized by Congress as places that have made significant contributions to the history of and the formation of the United States. These places have  have been designated as National Heritage Areas.

In 2009 Congress established the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area (SdCNHA) in the San Luis Valley for the purposes of providing an “integrated and cooperative approach for the protection, enhancement, and interpretation of the natural, cultural, historic, scenic and recreational resources of the area.” In the feasibility study that led to this national recognition it was stated that SdCNHA represents a “profound historical, religious, cultural, ethnic and biological diversity that historically served as a staging ground for a new nation that was being redefined. Hispano, Anglo and Native American Cultures interacted in this area, witnessing the convergence of the old with the new.

Alex Hernandez, the National Heritage Area Regional Coordinator for the National Park Service (NPS), led a two-day training session in Boulder, Colorado in mid-June. “The National Park Service was pleased to host a regional National Heritage Areas workshop, where representatives from the Intermountain Region’s six National Heritage Areas could collaborate with one another and share ideas for engaging the public on meaningful heritage-oriented projects. The Intermountain Region’s heritage areas highlight the diverse and significant stories of our nation’s history and the West. Their community-driven efforts to tell these stories demonstrate the importance of partnerships among communities, heritage areas, and National Park units.”

Tori Martinez, Executive Director of Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, stated “We are proud to be a part of this national effort to preserve, protect, and promote our countries stories and natural resources. Though each National Heritage Area is unique in what we focus on, we all strive to share our piece of the countries history with locals and visitors. This common goal provides many opportunities for collaboration, which makes National Heritage Areas a good model of partnerships with government and the private sector, nonprofit and business, higher education and K-12.”

Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area(CO), was one of six National Heritage Areas represented at the Boulder training. The others were South Park National Heritage Area(CO) and Cache la Poudre National Heritage Area(CO), Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area(NM), Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area(UT) and Yuma National Heritage Area(AZ). Some of the topics covered were collaboration efforts between National Parks and Heritage Areas and Heritage Areas with each other, legislative outreach, resource needs, reauthorization planning, sustainability, technical assistance opportunities and National Parks Service support.

Each Heritage Area was able to share about the projects going on in their region and highlight some of the work they have done to help preserve and protect their sacred places.

“It was amazing to hear stories about history and culture from the regional representatives. One of the most important lessons I took from the workshop was the realization we all share so much of the same story. The people and their heritage on the land we all love is the communal experience we all strive to preserve and protect. Together we can bring a tapestry of wonderful stories to the public square.” said James Nelson, Associate Director of Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area.

Each heritage area was able to share what programs they have accomplished in the last year and the efforts they are making for their heritage area to have sustainable resources for the future. One effort that is universal across the board is the heritage areas partnerships with National Park Service.

Kathleen Benedict, Executive Director of Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area stated, “Working collaboratively with our National Park Service representatives in the Intermountain Region helps National Heritage Areas like the Cache la Poudre River by integrating and promoting our initiatives on a larger scale. These cooperative efforts ultimately allow smaller organizations like the Poudre Heritage Alliance to have a bigger impact on a national-level, thereby assisting with the fulfillment of our organizational goals and mission.”

National Heritage Areas are not national park units. NPS does not assume ownership of land inside the boundary of each National Heritage Area nor does the NPS impose land use controls as a result of National Heritage Area designation. Rather, NPS partners with, provides technical assistance, and distributes matching federal funds from Congress to National Heritage Area coordinating entities. Some heritage areas like Sangre de Cristo have a National Park within their boundaries and thus create even closer partnerships.

Kathy Faz, Chief Interpreter for Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve also attended the training. She stated, “Great Sand Dunes is proud to be included within the boundaries of the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, it allows the park to enhance our visitor’s experience within the surrounding communities. We will continue to support a variety of community-based activities that celebrate the rich culture and history of the southern San Luis Valley.”

One thing was evident, National Heritage Area staff and National Parks staff all care greatly about preserving our nation’s historic and geographic features and will continue to work in close partnership for generations to come, so that tourists and residents alike can continue to enjoy America’s past, present and future.

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Fred “Lightning Heart” Haberlein Memorial July 7th in Antonito

A memorial event will be held in honor of the passing of noted muralist and artist Fred “Lightning Heart” Haberlein on July 7th, 2018 in Antonito, Colorado.

Frederick Fitzjarrald Haberlein, Lightning Heart, was born December 7, 1944. He grew up at the Conejos Ranch on the Conejos River in southern Colorado. Fred graduated from Antonito High School, attended Colorado State University with a degree in sculpture and anthropology and attended graduate school at Arizona State University, where he studied printmaking. During and after graduate school, Haberlein lived in Oracle, Arizona., working alongside other artists at Rancho Linda Vista. In 1984, Fred returned to Conejos Ranch and began painting murals in Colorado, the first of which was a Virgin Mary for his high school classmate Johnny Johnson, who was nearly killed in the Vietnam War.

Haberlein went on to complete 80 murals in the San Luis Valley before moving to Glenwood Springs with his wife, Teresa Platt, in 1988. He continued mural work, completing 140 pieces of public art including pictures on the main streets of Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, Leadville, Gunnison, Salida, Alamosa, LaJara, Romeo and Antonito. For 18 years, Haberlein taught Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain at Colorado Mountain College.

One of his more recent projects was the repainting of a mural of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 2016 in Antonito, through a grant from the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area,which he completed despite being diagnosed with esophageal cancer and undergoing treatment at the time.

Fred loved native American culture, painting, juggling, hiking, skiing and hanging out with friends. He is survived by his wife, Teresa; brother, Bill; son, Kort, and daughter-in-law, Sandy; and 2 grandchildren, West and Ryan.

The memorial event will begin with a viewing of a recent documentary on Mr. Haberlein  beginning at 12 noon in the Antonito Fire Department Building. Attendees will then proceed to the Conejos County Museum, located at the intersection of Hwy 17 and Hwy 285 in Antonito, for a viewing of selected art pieces.  At 2pm, beginning at the Conejos County Museum, there will be a guided walking tour of the Antonito murals painted by Fred.

The family requests contributions to the Fred Haberlein Documentary Fund in lieu of flowers. Contact info@carbondalearts.com or 963-1680. Donations will help see the film to completion.

Memorial event sponsors are the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, Conejos Clean Water, Caminos de Valle,  Dutch Mill Restaurant and G6.

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Update on the Spring Fire our Heritage Area

Hello San Luis Valley tourists and residents,

Here is an update on the Spring Fire in our Heritage Area.

As of 10:20am Monday, July 2nd the Spring Fire was measured at 56,820 acres with 5% containment. There are 550 personnel working the fire.

Road Closures — As of 1am July 2nd – US Hwy 285 is closed between Antero Junction and Fairplay.  CO 9 and US 24 being used as alternate routes. As of 7:22am July 2nd – Hwy 12 is closed between the Cuchara Pass area and La Veta.  US Hwy 160 is still closed in both directions over La Veta Pass between Fort Garland and La Veta. No estimated time for reopening. US 50 west of Pueblo is open to US 285.

Weather: Per Incident Mgmt Team Black – As of 9am July 2nd: Weather remains unstable, and a warming trend continues today with temperatures approaching 90F. Relative humidity is decreasing and could reach single digits today. Winds are from the west-southwest at 10 to 14 mph with gusts nearing 25 mph. These factors align for another day of extreme fire behavior.

The Great Sand Dunes National park and preserve is open with Stage 2 Fire Restrictions in Effect Check their website alerts for updates.

All the museums in our heritage area are open.  Check the SLV Museum Association’s website for locations and hours of operations.

The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad has suspended operations. Please check their Facebook page for updates to their schedule and operations.

The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad is still operating with normal trains running daily. Visit their website for more information

NOAA Weather Radio Station WXM-54, serving Alamosa CO and the San Luis Valley, will be off the air indefinitely due to the Spring Fire.

Community Information Contacts:

Fire-related community information for Costilla County: 719-480-8719

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Los Caminos Antiguos Part of ‘Scenic and Historic Byways’ Exhibit at DIA

Los Caminos Antiguos Part of ‘Colorado’s Scenic and Historic Byways’ Exhibit

Photo Courtesy of Denver International Airport

Denver International Airport is showing off its 26 Scenic and Historic Byways through a collection of breathtaking color photographs. Two photographs from the Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic and Historic Byway are included in the collection, which is located at the ‘Y-Juncture Gallery’ past the A-security checkpoint. The collection will be displayed at DIA through October 2018,  then move to the State Capitol in January of 2019.


Journey through the photographic collection to see such locations as Rattlesnake Arches Trail, the Steel Bridge on Phantom Canyon Road, or the highest paved road in north America, to name a few. The exhibit represents each of the byways located in 48 of Colorado’s 65 counties, 11 of which are nationally recognized for their outstanding scenic and historic attributions. Colorado has the most designated byways in the U.S., so this venturesome exhibit along highways and back-roads reveals more than just suggested road trips. It’s a true Colorado experience. Los Caminos Antiguos photographs feature a photo of the Cumbres and Toltec Steam Train by Chris Cassels, who runs Casablanca Digital Media, and a photo of two children playing in Medano Creek at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve taken by Patrick Myers/NPS.

Photo: Chris Cassels/Casablanca Digital Media

Colorado’s Scenic Byways program is a statewide partnership intended to provide recreational, educational and economic benefits to Coloradans and visitors. This system of outstanding touring routes in Colorado affords the traveler interpretation and identification of key points of interest and services while providing for the protection of significant resources. The byways unite communities and the stories of their collective past. Charlotte Bumgarner, the executive director of the Gold Belt Tour Scenic and Historic Byway who spearheaded this project, said the organization is a non-profit that does educational, preservation, conservation and other projects along the byway. Bumgarner serves on the Colorado State Byway Commission, appointed by the governor.

Photo: Patrick Myers/NPS

The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area oversees the Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic and Historic Byway, which starts at Cumbres Pass and travels through Antonito, Romeo, Manassa, San Acacio, San Luis, Fort Garland, Blanca, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Hooper, Mosca and ends in Alamosa. There are 21 points of interest along the Byway, which marvels at the ingenuity of the early settlers of the San Luis Valley.


Stop at any of the six large ‘Caminante’ portal signs, 3 stand-up signs and 8 low profile signs for information along the drive. Brochures and maps for Los Caminos Antiguos are available at the Alamosa Welcome Center, Conejos County Museum, San Luis Valley Museum and the SdCNHA office at 623 4th Street in Alamosa.

Photo Courtesy of Denver International Airport

SdCNHA would like to thank Chris Cassels and Patrick Myers/NPS for the use of their incredible photographs for this exhibit. To view more photos of the Colorado Scenic & Historic Byways exhibition at DIA, visit https://images.flydenver.com/Art-at-DIA/Temporary-Exhibits/Colorado-Byways/.

To learn more about SdCNHA visit www.sdcnha.org



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Museum and Visitor Center Now Open

Left to Right: Conejos County Commissioner Mitchell Jarvis, Tori Martinez, Emma Roybal, State Representative Donald Valdez

The ribbon cutting ceremony for the reopening of the Conejos County Museum was held on May 11th, 2018 by Tori Martinez, Executive Director for the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area. Mitchell Jarvis, Conejos County Commissioner and Board Member for SdCNHA held one side of the ribbon while Colorado State Representative Donald Valdez, former board member for SdCNHA, held the other. Emma Roybal, board member for SdCNHA  assisted.

The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area now houses its second office in the Conejos County Museum, which is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 9am-4pm. One staff member has been hired through the Colorado Works STEP program which helps to subsidise employment for those who qualify for the TANF program. It is a pilot project through the social services offices of Conejos and Rio Grande Counties.

The reopening will offer travelers an information center on the southern end of the San Luis Valley. “We will have a place where people can stop and they can find out about the stories that we know and the stories that make us who were are and make this area great to be in.” said Conejos County Commissioner Mitchell Jarvis.

The museum houses several exhibitions about settlement and life in Conejos County and the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area. There are items on loan from Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and from the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad. There is also a collection of resource materials and SdCNHA’s Oral Histories Collection.“The history is rich here. It’s special. No where else in the world do we have heritage and cultures like we find in the San Luis Valley and we need to tell those stories.” stated State Representative Donald Valdez.

Tori Martinez gave thanks to all that made the reopening of the museum possible including staff and donors. Many volunteers helped cleaned up the exterior of the building, resurface the floors, painted the exterior and interior and created signage for the museums exhibits. Andrew Armenta Jr. from Red Hill Lava Products donated lava rock to surround the building. Mike Roque donated a Television to the museum, so the over 100 interviews from SdCNHA’s Voices of the Valley Project can be viewed by visitors. Cafe del Valle donated pinon coffee and baked goods for the opening and Rita Martinez made biscochitos. North River Greenhouse donated some beautiful flowers for the museum entrance as well. SLV Museum Association assisted in preparation for the museum opening and will continue to assist, as the Conejos Museum is a member of the association.

Some exhibits will be expanded upon in the near future. If you’d like to make a donation to assist in that effort please contact the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area for more information at info@sdcnha.org or visit the website at www.sdcnha.org.

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SdCNHA Grant Deadline is June 1st

Grants from the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area are available to local organizations working to promote the mission of the National Heritage Area. The deadline for applying for a 2019 grant is June 1, 2018. Our past grantees have used grant funds to restore historic buildings; provide historical and cultural interpretation; restore or promote scenic, artistic and recreational resources; educational programs; and to document culturally significant components of the way of life in the San Luis Valley.

Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area is administered by a non-profit board of volunteers who represent Alamosa, Conejos and Costilla Counties. Heritage Grants are available to local schools, municipalities, and non-profits annually.These efforts will support Heritage Preservation and Tourism and promote the counties of Alamosa, Conejos and Costilla. Please see our website for our mission, vision, and a list of past grants we’ve awarded. http://sdcnha.org/wp/grants/

The selection process is competitive, and applicants are encouraged to develop proposals carefully utilizing the Heritage Area Management Plan Goals and Objectives. You can find these resources on our Management Plan page http://sdcnha.org/wp/management-plan/. Funding is available up to $25,000.

If your organization or project supports the efforts and mission of the heritage area we would love to partner with you! Visit our website www.sdcnha.org for more information. Please feel free to contact us if you have an idea for a grant or have any questions about this process at info@sdcnha.org, (719) 580-4070 or at our office located at 623 4th Street in Alamosa.

Applicants will be notified of status in August of 2018 and funding will be available in 2019.

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