Castle Valley Comments
Nov. 14, 2013
by Ron Drake
Nov 14, 2013 | 1219 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I once asked the late Bill Buchanan if there were deer in Castle Valley when he lived here on the Pace Ranch as a kid during the 1920s and 30s. He said there were no deer in the valley back then, and I suspect that if one wandered in it would probably end up on the dinner table at some point.

When we moved here in the spring of 1978, we tilled the bare land and planted a large garden and received bounteous amounts of vegetables that first summer. We didn’t need a fence to protect the garden spot because there were no deer in the valley. We were a little concerned about the horses that roamed the area, and there were hordes of rabbits but neither of them bothered the garden.

Now you have to erect fences around anything you want to see grow to fruition because of the large population of deer that now call the valley home. Greg Halliday once had to remove a deer from his swimming pool and more recently had one get caught in his four-foot farm fence. John and Denise Lucas recently found a deer caught in their horse corral and it had to be tranquilized to get it out. The deer are everywhere these days, which brings me to the point of this subject.

Since the first of October there have been three deer killed in collisions with cars on Castle Valley Drive. Simply put, Castle Valley Road Manager Greg Halliday says that people are driving too fast. He says the deer are in the middle of their rut season and they are congregating in bunches and “people just need to slow down” on Castle Valley Drive.

Halliday said that he plans to place some deer-crossing sign at the entrance to the town to remind people of the dangers of the many deer that graze next to the roads. Besides killing the deer, a deer-vehicle collision can do a lot of damage to the front-end of a car and cause you to be even later arriving at your destination.

That reminds me of a humorous letter to the editor of a small newspaper in Kingman, Kan. The person wrote that they live in a semi-rural area. “We recently had a new neighbor call the local township administrative office to request the removal of the Deer Crossing sign on our road. The reason: ‘too many deer were being hit by cars’ and he didn’t want them to cross there anymore.”


The annual Castle Valley Gourd Festival, which was held Saturday, Oct. 19, was another success, according to organizer Yrma van der Steenstraeten. She said that the festival had the most gourd artists so far – 16 artists set up booths this year. The organizers lost count, but estimate that there were about 350 visitors and 175 attended the potluck lunch. Yrma said that Tricia Ogilvy was a wonderful Gourd Goddess and Dave Erley crawled into the skin of the gourd giant, Gourdy, She thanked both of them for their efforts.

She continued: “Also a big thank you to all our volunteers and committee members; without you the festival would not happen! Thanks also goes to the Town of Castle Valley and the Castle Valley Fire Department for use of the town’s lot and fire building. Special thanks to Jake Burnett for donating and serving his Mate and coffee, to Wiley and Christel for the puppet show, to Red Cliff Lodge for donating the delicious chili to our potluck lunch and to WabiSabi for donating materials for decorations for the parade and gourds. Last, but not least, to all the visitors who came from all kinds of directions to our festival! Thank you all!”

The gourd festival has been an annual event since 2001, when Cris Coffey, with the help of a few others, organized the first festival on the town’s vacant lot. A tractor parade was added to the event a couple of years after the gourd festival began and continues to be a popular part of the festival.


Thirty years ago this week, this column reported on the monthly meeting of the Castle Valley River Ranchos Property Owners Association. Board member George Ottinger reported that the budget for the year was based on the $60 per lot assessment that generated $26,800. Of that total, $20,000 went for the maintenance of roads and the remainder went to legal fees, fence maintenance and other miscellaneous expenses.

Ottinger explained that only 68 percent of the dues were collected the previous year and that liens would be placed on properties with dues that were two years in arrears, after a registered letter was sent to the property owners. Ken Johnson and Dave Wagstaff were selected to join board member Roger Lowry on the architectural control and planning commission, and a committee was formed that year to undertake a study of forming a municipal town in the valley.

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