It’s harvest season in El Paso County, but this crop isn’t exactly what one might expect. KRCC's Tucker Hampson reports.
A Skid Steer Loader, which looks kind of like a big Bobcat, pulls tumbleweeds out of a ditch. The tumbleweeds are then chopped up by a converted 1995 John Deere Harvester, dubbed the Tumbleweed Eater, and then shot out into neighboring fields.
Parts of Southeast Colorado are experiencing a longer period of drought than the dry times that occurred during the Dust Bowl.
According to Nolan Doesken, the state climatologist, the past three years and eight months have been the driest stretch ever recorded for some parts of the state, including Rocky Ford, La Junta and Ordway.
"It was drier than the worst consecutive drought period of the 30s and of the 50s," said Doesken.
Amtrak’s Southwest Chief line runs through the towns of Lamar, La Junta, and Trinidad - part of a longer passenger route stretching from Chicago to L.A. The rails are in need of major repairs and the upgrades are expected to be in the millions.
Part of a multistate effort, a measure is moving through the statehouse to try and find ways to finance the project and save the rail line.
The Southwest Chief roughly 20 minutes east of Trinidad, Colorado. The Sangre de Cristo Range looms in the distance in this photo from July 2011.
Amtrak’s Southwest Chief is a long distance passenger train that travels daily from Chicago to Los Angeles. Some riders travel the full route, others use it as their primary transportation between shorter distances. The train follows the historic Santa Fe Trail, one of the oldest commerce routes in the American West. Along the way, it passes through Southern Colorado—Lamar, LaJunta, and Trinidad—and then into Raton in Northern New Mexico. But the rails are aging, and the Southwest Chief could be diverted, bypassing Colorado and Northern New Mexico entirely.