Time Machine: 40 years ago, massive mudslide blocks I-70 in Dowd Junction | VailDaily.com

Time Machine: 40 years ago, massive mudslide blocks I-70 in Dowd Junction

10 years ago

May 26, 2013

Vail local Buddy Lazier returned to the Indianapolis 500, a race he won in 1996, as the most experienced competitor in the field.

“When Buddy Lazier was 19 he was the youngest rookie in the Indianapolis 500 by seven years,” the Vail Daily reported. “Today, when Buddy runs his 17th Indy 500 he may be the happiest driver in the field. At 45 years old, he’ll be the oldest.”

20 years ago

May 23, 2003

A Colorado Supreme Court ruling upholding recreational water rights was expected to have a strong economic impact in Vail, the Vail Daily reported.

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Vail, Breckenridge and Golden argued for recreational water rights to be put on the same par as other water-use rights in Colorado, and the court’s deadlocked decision at 3-3 meant the lower court’s decision, which was in the towns’ favor, would stand.

The ruling preserved a water right of 400 cubic feet per second on Gore Creek in Vail, which had been donated to the town by the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District for use in the town’s whitewater park.

Quoting Mountain Games founder Joel Heath, the Vail Daily reported that the court decision gave the town a legitimate claim to have a multi-sports festival in the Mountain Games.

“Winning the case showed the importance of tourism and what it means to the Colorado economy,” Heath said.

30 years ago

May 28, 1993

Tourism officials were anticipating that some of the estimated 1.5 million people expected in Colorado for Pope John Paul II’s August visit to Denver were going to visit the Vail area to catch a glimpse of Mount of the Holy Cross, the Vail Trail reported.

“Local officials consider a visit by the pope a long shot, although they are gearing up to handle throngs of Catholics who may want to glimpse Mount of the Holy Cross,” the Vail Trail reported. “Forest Service planners out of Denver have been working with local ranger districts as well as Catholic officials and tourism promoters for the expected influx of visitors during the two weeks after the pope’s address.”

A massive mud slide blocks Interstate 70 in Dowd Canyon in May of 1983.
Vail Daily archive/Vail Trail

40 years ago

May 25, 1983

Interstate 70 in Dowd Junction became blocked for days on both sides of the highway after a massive mudslide carried mud, boulders and a grove of aspen trees onto the roadway.

“At press deadline Thursday morning, more than 28 hours after the initial slide, authorities were preparing to blast huge boulders to pieces for the second time,” the Vail Trail reported on Friday, May 27, 1983. “Efforts to whittle down the slide were hampered by a spring in the hillside. Highway Department officials blamed it for building up enough saturation to move the estimated 35,000 cubic yards of muck and rock onto the roadway. Jim Henderson, the local highway foreman, said Thursday morning the job would have been finished earlier, but the soggy mass of earth kept pushing out onto the highway.”

50 years ago

May 25, 1973

A growing conflict between dogs and wildlife was addressed at a May meeting covered in the Vail Trail.

Stories were shared by Wildlife Conservation Officer Kris Moser, who told attendees of a pack of dogs “driving a cow elk into the Eagle River and finally killing her.” Moser also said she found “evidence in the snow proving that dogs had literally driven a five-point bull elk off a cliff.”

County commissioners pondered ways to address the issue, including dog-control statutes from developers of new construction projects, county-wide restrictions and individual town ordinances.

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