Castle Valley Comments
February 13, 2014
by Ron Drake
Feb 13, 2014 | 1549 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Leta Vaughn of Castle Valley receives a splint for a simulated broken bone during the Castle Valley EMR course. Photo by Ron Drake
Leta Vaughn of Castle Valley receives a splint for a simulated broken bone during the Castle Valley EMR course. Photo by Ron Drake
If you were listening carefully last week in Castle Valley, you might have been able to hear a collective sigh of relief. That would have been the moment when the medical emergency responder students completed their final written and practical exams.

Eighteen Castle Valley students finished the intensive 60-hour emergency medical responders course last week and they all successfully completed the certification exams. The final examinations were conducted by the Utah State Emergency Medical certification staff from Salt Lake City on Feb. 3 in Moab. The students, who are also nationally certified, were comprised of residents from the Castle Valley Fire Department, the community, and staff and students from the DayStar Academy. They ranged in age from 16 to the mid-70s and all had a desire to help people in the community during a time of need.

Over the course of the classes, the students imposed on their friends and family to let them take vital signs as part of the course, which was also part of learning to make patient assessments in eight minutes or less. The assessment process involved learning how to assess a person in trouble with everything from a heart attack to a patient involved in a motorcycle crash or a person with hypothermia. They learned how to splint broken bones, deliver a baby, everything to do with anatomy and physiology, and when and how to order a helicopter. During a portion of one class they toured the Classic Lifeguard medical helicopter that landed in the valley next to the Town Hall for part of one of their classes.

During a triage class a simulated bus wreck involving multiple casualties had people imitating various injuries, from the walking wounded to the dead, and the class members assessed which patients to care for first. Aside from the twice-weekly classes, the students were given lots of homework for the rest of the week.

The course was under the guidance of Grand County EMS Director Andy Smith and Paula Dunham, the EMS assistant director of education, with help from several Grand County EMTs and guest lecturers. During the next several weeks, a non-transport ambulance will be put into service and teams of emergency responders will be assigned to provide emergency medical services to the Castle Valley area. Their responsibility will be to render immediate lifesaving aid until advanced emergency medical technicians arrive from Moab to transport patients to the hospital.


Thirty years ago, this column reported that John Adams of Castle Valley appeared before the Castle Valley River Ranchos Property Owners Association meeting to announce the construction of a placer mine, which was to be located around Round Mountain at the upper end of Castle Valley. Adams said he had a long-term mineral lease for 11,500 acres of both state and BLM land. He was at the POA meeting to dispel rumors that the operation was going to use caustic chemicals, including cyanide in the mining operation and that the company was going to work on one small area at a time then it would be re-seeded while another area was to be excavated.

At the time, they were in the sampling process and they expected to begin construction sometime during that year and the project would eventually hire 200 people. Geologists believed the property contained a large amount of gold and associated minerals, making it possibly the richest placer deposit in the world. One of the geologists worked on what was considered the largest gold deposit in the world located in Chile. He said that the geologist considered the Castle Valley mine to be even larger, giving it a multi-million dollar value.

After I turned the column in to publisher and editor Sam Taylor that week 30 years ago, he asked me to do a separate story and get a picture of Adams for that week’s edition of the T-I. I met Adams near the boundary of the 11,500-acre state and BLM land for the picture, which ran on the front page of that edition.

Editor Taylor said he wasn’t going to trivialize the claim of a large Castle Valley gold deposit and related a similar incident, which occurred during the early 1950s. He said a man by the name of Charlie Steen walked into the T-I office to announce that he had found a massive high-grade uranium deposit in the Big Indian Wash of Lisbon Valley, southeast of Moab. After the man left the office, Taylor and others in the office didn’t take seriously his claim of the big strike but did run a little story in one of the inside pages of the newspaper that week. It wasn’t long after that Steen’s “Mi Vida” mine was the first big strike of Moab’s uranium boom and the rest, as they say, is history.

Unlike the Mi Vida mine, the Castle Valley project never materialized.

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