Advocacy Alert




Southern Chief funding at stake / calls needed to Joint Budget Committee members

Funding to keep the historic Southern Chief in Colorado is being determined by the JBC in the next few days.  At stake is the State of Colorado’s contribution of $1.5 million in matching funds toward a federal grant necessary to help keep the railroad safe, accessible and sustainable for years to come.

Located along Colorado’s Santa Fe Trail and the Historic and Scenic Byway, the Southern Chief provides numerous jobs and supports heritage tourism to the region. Trained volunteers ride the train and share the history of the region and Santa Fe Trail.  Thousands of Boy Scouts ride this Amtrak route annually, making an overnight stop in La Junta to visit the famous Koshare Museum.

Amtrak’s Southern Chief is southeast Colorado’s only mass transit providing passenger travel to points beyond Colorado. 12 Colorado communities plus the State of Kansas, Amtrak and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad have already contributed financial support toward this essential effort to keep the Southern Chief route in Colorado. If funding is not approved, the route will likely move to the southern pathway out of Colorado through Oklahoma, southeastern Colorado – and the entire state – will lose an important segment of our economy.

The House approved $1.5 million; the Senate bill was narrowly defeated.  Now the Joint Budget Committee needs to align with the House version.  Calls in support of funding are needed to three key JBC members now:

Senator Kevin Grantham, Canon City: 303-866-4877,

Representative Millie Hamner, Dillon, 303-866-2952,

Representative Dave Young, Greeley, 303-866-2929,



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Featured Project

4 Bar 4 Ranch

Homesteaded in 1895 by Dick McQueary to provide a stop for the Georgetown Stage Line, the 320-acre 4 Bar 4 Ranch has strong ties to Grand County and Colorado's heritage. The Georgetown Stage Line traveled on the road through the 4 Bar 4 Ranch from Idaho Springs to Hot Sulphur Springs over Berthoud Pass. In 1895 a roadhouse and stage stop were constructed on the ranch. The hotel and barn were constructed using trees from the Ranch property, and the hotel remained open for travelers coming over Berthoud Pass by horseback and wagon until 1913. With the coming of the automobile, the roadway over Berthoud Pass and through the 4 Bar 4 Ranch was considered an integral part of the Trans-Continental “Midland Trail” highway. Following the closing of the stage line, the ranch continued to host travelers until 1912 or 1913 when it was purchased and converted into a Ford Motor Company . Ford vehicles were sold here until 1917, when Harry Larkin purchased the ranch site. Today emergency efforts are underway to ensure it survives through the winter. Donations are in need. To learn more, contact Jennifer Orrigo Charles at

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