After completing the Commonwealth mapping exercise in my small community of Las Animas, it became clear there are several opportunities to appreciate small communities such as mine. Although I may be bias with a background in history, the potential for historic tourism in Southeastern Colorado is tremendous. With sites such as Boggsville Historic Site, Bent’s Old Fort, Camp Amache, and the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, it is easy to tell our small and overlooked part of Colorado certainly is rich with history.
Within Las Animas, sense of place is also a large part of our community. Festivals such as the Santa Fe Trail Day celebration has the current community and people who have left gather together to celebrate our town’s heritage with a parade and town lunch hosted by the high school. There is also not a person in Las Animas who isn’t proud of our beautiful and grand county courthouse built in 1889.
One of the most obvious but important community assets in Las Animas and Bent County is the foodshed. The ranching and farming in our local area is immense and provides the community with not only food but jobs to make a decent living as well.
The final community asset that not many people realize is in Bent County is renewable energy. The city of Las Animas is run on a reverse-osmosis system, providing us with clean water to drink and bathe in. There is also a wind farm in the southern portion of Bent County that provides and creates a renewable source of energy.
In essence, although my small town of Las Animas may be stuck in the middle of cow country, the opportunities to make a living and appreciate the history and heritage of the area is very present.