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The Paradise Plays

The Paradise Plays The Impossible Paradise and Paradise Protected are original plays written by Barb Boyer Buck. They tell the stories of early Estes Park and RMNP.

His eyes, even after he was moved for Bond Park renovation in a multi-year project beginning in 2009, always gaze upon L...
02/18/2019

His eyes, even after he was moved for Bond Park renovation in a multi-year project beginning in 2009, always gaze upon Longs Peak. Colorado's northernmost 14er and the jewel in the crown of peaks which surround her, Longs was cherished by Enos Mills. Learn about Mills, the "father of Rocky Mountain National Park," in my upcoming history walk, offered every week in Estes Park. And watch for my upcoming blog post, "On Fathers and Grandfathers."

Attention everyone! I have recently developed a short history walking tour in downtown Estes Park that I am going to sta...
02/10/2019

Attention everyone! I have recently developed a short history walking tour in downtown Estes Park that I am going to start offering this spring! This is a way to utilize my in-depth knowledge of the area's history combined with my skills in hospitality to create a unique experience for visitors and locals alike. This easy hike will offer interpretive insights on the area's most famous landmarks. In conjunction, I am revitalizing my history blog, using my own publishing platform - that should be launched in less than a month. Be sure to follow this page for news and reports!

"I would very much like to climb Longs Peak, but it seems I've arrived too late in the year to attempt it" - Isabella Bird.

"Actually Miss Bird, the weather has taken on a calm of late - an Indian Summer we call it. It promises to hold for at least a week. It will be the last opportunity for such a trip this year." - Griff Evans.

From "The Impossible Paradise," by Barb Boyer Buck, copyright, 2014.

The second installment of Barb Boyer Buck's history series celebrating the Town of Estes Park's 100-year anniversary is ...
06/01/2017
100 Year Centennial Feature - The historic buildings of Estes Park

The second installment of Barb Boyer Buck's history series celebrating the Town of Estes Park's 100-year anniversary is an overview of the Town's early development & the historic buildings. Learn about the entreprenerial spirit that first brought business owners to "The Impossible Paradise."

Note: This is the second installment in a series that examines the history of the Town of Estes Park, in honor of its 100th birthday.

In the early 1870s, Estes Park pioneers foiled what historians now consider Colorado's largest land grab. Lord Dunraven,...
02/01/2017
Republicans move to sell off 3.3m acres of national land, sparking rallies

In the early 1870s, Estes Park pioneers foiled what historians now consider Colorado's largest land grab. Lord Dunraven, a wealthy Earl from Ireland, saw this pristine wilderness and plethora of harvestable wildlife and dreamed of making our beautiful mountain park into a private hunting ground for himself and his aristocratic cronies.

This area had just been made available for settlement under the Homestead Act, so Dunraven (who was not eligible to acquire the land because he was not an American citizen) bribed Americans to file claims, which were then sold back to Dunraven's holding company.

A few scrappy, legitimate homesteaders got wind of this plot and mobilized to stop it. But Dunraven had amassed more than 15,000 acres in Estes Park (including most of the land within the current town limits) before he was stopped for good through various legal machinations, instigated by several pioneers, including Alexander MacGregor. MacGregor, an important character in "The Impossible Paradise" was a savvy lawyer and Estes Park homesteader and his daughter was Colorado's first woman lawyer.

The author of this play, and the subsequent play, "Paradise Prorected," Barb Boyer Buck, sees the actions of the current American president and ruling political party to sell off BLM to private interests as a dangerous first step that can establish precedent for selling off other federal lands for private use.

In the Paradise plays, Estes Park's amazing struggle to keep private interests from using public land is explained through the struggle against Dunraven in the first play and the fight to establish Rocky Mountain National Park in the second play.

If one thing is clear, it's this: it is up to the citizens of this great country, us modern-day pioneers, to tap into our ancestor's indomitable spirits and fight against this exploitation of public lands. Let us learn from our history and be inspired by our past victories. Let us use our hard-won rights of free speech and assemblage to make our voices heard. Let us save our public lands, America's greatest treasures, from being parceled out to private interests. We can stop this great American land grab!

Land totaling the size of Connecticut has been targeted in a new bill in the Republican House, uniting hunters and conservationists in opposition

"I would very much like to climb Longs Peak, but it seems I've arrived too late in the year to attempt it" - Isabella Bi...
10/09/2016

"I would very much like to climb Longs Peak, but it seems I've arrived too late in the year to attempt it" - Isabella Bird.

"Actually Miss Bird, the weather has taken on a calm of late - an Indian Summer we call it. It promises to hold for at least a week. It will be the last opportunity for such a trip this year." - Griff Evans.

From "The Impossible Paradise," by Barb Boyer Buck, copyright, 2014.

It's been a while, but I wanted to check in and let all of you know that us pioneers are still alive and kicking up here...
04/18/2016
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It's been a while, but I wanted to check in and let all of you know that us pioneers are still alive and kicking up here in Estes Park, and thinking about another Paradise play...
In the meantime, let me remind you all about the local naturalist who, 100 years ago, did much of the lobbying to created Rocky Mountain National Park, Enos Mills (played by Jim Valone Paradise Protected, pictured). I am honored to count Mills' great-granddaughter, Erin, among my friends; she was a valuable resource to me while writing this play and is keeping her important ancestor's homestead cabin relevant by running it as a museum. She and her mother also have a press where they publish Enos' numerous books. Check out the link below for a virtual visit to Enos Mills' cabin...

The playwright of The Impossible Paradise and Paradise is co-directing another play about Colorado history, Beets, writt...
01/24/2016

The playwright of The Impossible Paradise and Paradise is co-directing another play about Colorado history, Beets, written by Loveland author Rick Padden. The Fine Arts Guild of the Rockies is holding auditions today (11:30 so it doesn't interfere with the Broncos game) and tomorrow night at 6:30 for Beets, performed March 11-13 & 18-20. Click on the link below to get more info. We need seven men (Including five young men who can play ages between 15-21), one woman in her 30s and one young woman (about 17) for this important Colorado play.

AUDITIONS for Beets, by Rick Padden will be held Jan. 24 & 25 for performances on March 11-13 & 18-20. There are roles for seven men and two women. For more information, see: http://www.fineartsguild.org/#!current-production/cb3i

This is a very informative piece about many of the themes explored in both The Impossible Paradise & Paradise Protected ...
01/14/2016
The Bundys Have A Vision For The West, and You Aren't Included

This is a very informative piece about many of the themes explored in both The Impossible Paradise & Paradise Protected regarding land use, public lands, and conservation in the west. The recent "occupation" of federal lands in Oregon has, at its core, a deep-seated attitude of entitlement, bred from the original pioneers and passed down through generations. The hypocrisy of demanding private rights to public land (while excluding other users from that land) hasn't changed much. Many of the private large-tract landowners in the west are quite wealthy - wealth that grew from the original federal land-acquisition measures such as the Homestead Act & the Timber and Stone Act. Lobbyists, senators, and representatives are still acting on behalf of these private concerns today.

The armed group now occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge say they want to take the land back for "The People," but they mean certain people, and you're not invited.

A happy holiday season to our friends, fans, and family - here's what Christmas was like 100 years ago, when Katherine G...
12/26/2015

A happy holiday season to our friends, fans, and family - here's what Christmas was like 100 years ago, when Katherine Garetson (portrayed in Paradise Protected) homesteaded in the Tahosa Valley (from "Homesteading Big Owl"):

"You will agree with me that Christmas, viewed from Thanksgiving, fills most people with anxiety. Imagine what it means when you are a thousand miles away from the loved family and friends! Add to that the knowledge that fifty miles of unbroken snow lie between you and the nearest shopping district. ... Big Owl cabin looked exactly like a Christmas card, so what more fitting than a Christmas celebration?

"We decided to invite the Wind River Ranch family because we needed the two babies to make the Christmas Day genuine. They agreed to come if the snow drifts were not too deep for the wagon to get through. Alfred (from Longs Peak Inn) and Charles (Hewes) set up a perfect tree in one corner of the living room. Ornaments were contrived out of every scrap we had that was bright colored. Most amazing gifts were constructed out of scraps rummaged from our trunks; and we made candy and prepared a feast.

"For a month, Mr. Sherman had abandoned himself to these preparations, so he made such an array of gifts that we called him Santa Claus. For several weeks parcels had been coming by the mail and there were at least 40 letters - not cards, but fat letters - for me. Mr. Sherman kept preaching: 'don't open even a letter before Christmas.'

"A fine, drifting snow worked steadily for two days and nights before Christmas... Mr. Harding (from Wind River Ranch) had shoveled snow till he was exhausted and Mrs. Harding feared the babies were getting chilled.... so they turned homeward. Instead of having the dinner at two, we sat down at four o'clock; and instead of a table of nine, including two little children, we were five. After the dessert we sat around the table listening in the dusk to a Christmas story, told by Mr. Sherman. We were all homesick - desperately so.

"Charlie cried, 'Oh look!' The east, seen from the row of front windows was growing light; we all knelt on the bench under the windows and in profound silence watched a great silver moon ride into the sky accompanied by clouds. We all felt as if we were listening to music. It was a sweet and solemn ceremony."

Almost a decade after the first hearty pioneers settled Estes Park in the mid-1860s (depicted in The Impossible Paradise...
12/10/2015
Homesteading populated Estes Park

Almost a decade after the first hearty pioneers settled Estes Park in the mid-1860s (depicted in The Impossible Paradise), the land became available for settlement under the Homestead Act. Read about the origins of the Homestead Act and its effect in Estes Park in a piece by the author of the Paradise Plays.

Editor's Note: This is part of a continuing series looking at the history of the Estes Valley. The panic of 1857 - the first international economic crisis that caused many domestic banks to fail - created a cry for "free land" by those who were hit hardest by the financial downturn.

John Muir is a compelling character in Paradise Protected, which will be reprised - along with The Impossible Paradise -...
10/25/2015
20 Inspiring Quotes from John Muir

John Muir is a compelling character in Paradise Protected, which will be reprised - along with The Impossible Paradise - in late February, 2016, in Estes Park. Watch this page for more information about the upcoming performances.

Essays 20 Inspiring Quotes from John Muir Been outside lately? How about a few reminders from the Poet Laureate of the High Sierra? John Muir was ecstatically By Brendan Leonard October 22, 2013 8 13 Been outside lately? How about a few reminders from the Poet Laureate of the High Sierra? John…

If it were winter I’d wrap you in the warmest blankettanned from the thickest hide.If it were spring I’d fetch you a pai...
09/29/2015

If it were winter I’d wrap you in the warmest blanket
tanned from the thickest hide.
If it were spring I’d fetch you a pail of cold water
drawn from under the ice of a frozen stream.
If it were summer I’d pluck the brightest wildflower from a riotous field of color
for you to wear in your glorious hair.

But it is autumn and all I can give you pales before
the golden gifts that God has laid out before us.
It is autumn and in the last breath
and glorious death of creation before winter’s long sleep
I am born on this mountain anew, in your light,
fresh as spring, warm as summer.

You are the comfort of winter
the hope of spring
the beauty of summer
the passion of fall.

-Rocky Mountain Jim to Isabella Bird in The Impossible Paradise, photo by Wendy Gedack Photography

Interesting interpretation of the color-scheme for the dedication banner in this colorized photo of the RMNP dedication,...
09/04/2015

Interesting interpretation of the color-scheme for the dedication banner in this colorized photo of the RMNP dedication, which took place 100 years ago today in Horseshoe Park. Congratulations Rocky Mountain National Park, for a century of protecting our little slice of paradise :)

100 years ago, on September 4, 1915, Rocky Mountain National Park was dedicated. We thank those who long ago had the foresight to recognize that this spectacular and special place was worthy of protection so that future generations could also enjoy it. Together, we are working to be sure that the park will be well cared for for the next 100 years and beyond. Please join us in wishing Rocky Mountain National Park a very happy centennial birthday! www.RMConservancy.org

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