Bob Silbernagel, author of "Historic Adventures on the Colorado Plateau," will give a program and have a book signing Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 6:30 p.m. at Bill Heddles Recreation Center in Delta.
Chris Miller, executive director of the Interpretive Association of Western Colorado, states that Silbernagel will share stories about the explorers and traders that once trekked across this rugged terrain and the development of a trail that was to become a commercial highway known as the North Branch of the Old Spanish Trail.
History tells us that before the Spanish exploration of western Colorado, the native inhabitants had a variety of routes for traveling on the Western Slope. With Spanish exploration, those routes were utilized as native guides brought explorers from colonial outposts such as Santa Fe into our region. Juan Rivera, exploring in the summer and fall of 1765, was the first to travel along the western San Juan Mountains north into the Delta area. These explorations would lay the foundation for individuals like Antione Robidoux who built Fort Uncompahgre in the late 1820s to trap furs, host trappers and trade with the Utes prior to the Mexican War in 1846.
The Colorado Plateau is home to nearly 30 national parks, monuments and recreational areas. The unique geology, stunning rock formations, powerful rivers and numerous scenic canyons that compose such a striking region also made navigation difficult. Yet daring explorers like Juan Rivera came calling in 1765 followed by Dominguez and Escalante in 1776 seeking information on the native populace, religious converts and trade routes.
Supported by years of research, Bob Silbernagel traces the Colorado Plateau's intrepid inhabitants throughout history. Silbernagel was the editorial page editor for the Daily Sentinel newspaper in Grand Junction for 19 years. Now retired, he continues to write a regional history column for the Sentinel. Silbernagel is the author of the book "Troubled Trails: The Meeker Affair and the Expulsion of Utes from Colorado," published by the University of Utah Press in 2011. He also wrote "Dinosaur Stalkers: Tracking Dinosaur Discoveries of Western Colorado and Eastern Utah," published by Dinamation International, the Bureau of Land Management and the Museums of Western Colorado in 1996. Copies of "Historic Adventures on the Colorado Plateau" will be available for $15. For additional information please call 970-874-8349.