Some Writings | George Home


GEORGE SIBLEY'S WRITTEN WORK (except for poetry, plays, unfinished novels, and other unpublished things still in the drawer)

CURRENT WORK: ONLINE BLOG 2022-present and beyond:

Reflections on life in the Anthropocene, with a focus on the  'First River of the Anthropocene,' the Colorado River. New posts every 2-3 weeks.

BOOKS (mostly unavailable today, except as used books)

Dragons in Paradise (Plus). A 2014 second edition of the 2004 collection of essays - the initial collection plus ~50% more essays. Raspberry Creek Books, Gunnison, CO, 2014 (since gone out of business; contact the author for copies)

Water Wranglers. The 75-Year History of the Colorado River District:    A Story About the Embattled Colorado River and the Growth of the West. A commissioned history of the development of Colorado's share of the Colorado River, from a Western Colorado perspective. Published by the Colorado River Water Conservation District, 2012, through Wolverine Publishing, now out of print. Click here for Introduction to Water Wranglers.

Dragons in Paradise. Essays on life in the post-urban mountain communities of Colorado. Mountain Gazette Publishing, Frisco, Colorado, 2004.

Part of a Winter. Reflections on life in America and the Colorado Rockies in the late 20th century. Harmony Books (Division of Crown Publishing), New York, 1978.  (Available cheap through the Alibris used book network.)

Long Horns and Short Tales. A two-volume history of the Crawford area in Western Colorado, co-authored with Mamie Ferrier. Locally published, 1982 (Volume I) and 1983 (Volume II).

A Crested Butte Primer. A historical walking-tour of Crested Butte, Colorado. Self-published in Crested Butte, 1972; second edition in 1979.


"Hiking with Hobbes," an essay in Reading Colorado: A Literary Road Guide, compiled by Peter Anderson. Bowser House, Denver, 2023.

Four poems in Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West, edited by Laurie Wagner Buyer & W.C. Jameson. Ghost Road Press,  Denver, CO, 2007.

"Sawmill," in The Landscape of Home, edited by Jeff Lee, A Rocky Mountain Land Library Reader. Johnson Books, Boulder, CO, 2006.

"Never Cry 293F," in Comeback Wolves, edited by Gary Wockner, Gregory McNamee & SueEllen Campbell. Johnson Books, Boulder, CO, 2005.

Two essays - "Slouching toward Simpletopia" and 'The Monkey Wrench Gang: A Review" - in When in Doubt Go Higher: A Mountain Gazette Anthology, Mountain Sports Press, Boulder, CO, 2002.


Sibley's Rivers. A 'blog' posted every 2-3 weeks at This is most often historical, economic and political reflections on our relationship with the Colorado River in the Anthropocene.

Monthly column, "Down on the Ground." Colorado Central magazine, Salida, CO. Sept. 2000–present.

"Part of a Winter, Part 5:  The Rope and the Abyss." Essay contemplating, at 82, the possibility of eventual human adulthood while hanging out around the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River. Mountain Gazette 200, Fall 2023. (The second resurrection of the mythic journal 'generally about the mountains' first launched in 1972 in the Rockies, now based in the Tahoe region)

"The Colorado River and the Romance of the Anthropocene - And Why We Need to Either Get Our Anthropomojo Back Or Just Walk Away From What We’ve Been." Essay into the problem of leaving a big job half done. Mountain Gazette 198, Fall 2022. (The second resurrection of the mythic journal 'generally about the mountains' first launched in 1972, now based in the Tahoe region)

"Who is Mark Walter John Galt?" A critical analysis, with lapses into dystopian fantasy, on the ever-present role of outside money in mountain communities, inspired by a billionaire's unexplained investment in Crested Butte, Colorado. Mountain Gazette 196, Fall 2021. (The second resurrection of the mythic journal 'generally about the mountains' first launched in 1972, now based in the Tahoe region)

"Climate, Weather, and those Ornery Ninos." Crested Butte Magazine, Winter 2014. A (largely futile) investigation into predicting winter snows in the Southern Rockies.

"The Colorado: First River of the Anthropocene." Mountain Gazette 188, May 2012. Poses the argument that the Colorado River is now essentially a partially completed waterworks shaped by human users rather than an overstressed natural river. (Rewritten and expanded in 2014 for the Second Edition of Dragons in Paradise (Plus).

"Blue Mesa: Life at 50." The Gunnison Country Magazine, annual magazine published by the Gunnison Country Times, Summer 2012. A historical perspective on the big dam on the Upper Gunnison River.

"The Colorado: Our Namesake Working River." Headwaters, Journal of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education, Summer 2011. A historical overview of the conflicted upper Colorado River, needed by too many users.

"Going with the Flow: Water Management Adapts to Include Recreation." Headwaters, Journal of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education, Fall 2010. Working through the tensions between utilitarian and recreational water users.

"Still Cranish After All These Years." High Country News, Sept. 13, 2010. Reflections on cranes, humans, species endurance, and neoteny.

"The Grassroots: A homegrown approach to healthy watersheds." Headwaters, Journal of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education, Summer 2010. An overview of the watershed group movement in Colorado.

"Making Way for Midas Mulligan: A paranoid vision of our mountain future." Mountain Gazette, May 2010. An analysis of what's happening as "resort tourism" degenerates into "nature-gated" amenity communities for the wealthy.

"Why It's White, and Other Mysteries of Snow." Crested Butte Magazine, Winter 2009/10. An essay on the deeper magic (the science) of snow.

"Advancing the Conversation." Headwaters, Journal of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education, Fall 2009. Interview essay on Jennifer Gimbel, Director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

"Days of Beer and Rosie." Mountain Gazette, October 2009. Drinking in the afternoon with old men.

"Mountaintownie Biking: The Once and Future Slow Lane." Mountain Gazette,  August 2009. A short history of the "townie bike" in mountain towns.

"Right to Remain." Headwaters, Journal of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education, Summer 2009. History and analysis of the administration of "non-consumptive" water uses. (Scroll to page 15)

"The Day of the Thousand Thousand-foot Waterfalls." Mountain Gazette,  May 2009. An other-world day in the Grand Canyon.

"Colorado's Water for the 21st Century Act: Finally doing the right thing?" Headwaters, Journal of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education, Spring 2009. A look at the origins of an important change in "the way we do water." (Scroll to page 4)

"Still Crazy after All These Years." Mountain Gazette, December 2008. A sort of history of the early years of the "first" Mountain Gazette.

"Does a River care if it doesn't get to the Ocean?" Mountain Gazette, May 2008. About the nature of rivers as opposed to the nature of water.

"Springtime in the Rockies: Of Mud and Dandelion Greens." Mountain Gazette, April 2008. Reflections on greens in a white world.

"The Dead Forest and the Next Forest."  Mountain Gazette, December 2007 and January 2008. A two-part essay on the devastating bark beetle infestation in the forests of the Rockies, and ideas toward management of the "next forest."

"Dancing in the Streets Crested Butte Style." Crested Butte Magazine, Winter 2007-2008. Making the case for "collective joy" as a way surviving in marginal times and places.

"'Post-Appropriation' Water Management: Colorado's Water for the 21st Century Act." The Water Report, Issue 42, Aug. 15, 2007. An analysis of Colorado's effort to sustain "distributive justice" in water allocation when there is little or no "new water" to develop.

"Whose water is it, anyway? The Black Canyon and the two chambers of the western heart." Crested Butte Magazine, Summer 2007. Conflicts between use and beauty in a National Park.

"The Valley of the Shadow." Mountain Gazette 122, March 2006. An essay contemplating moving over.

"Friends to Cross Passes With." Mountain Gazette 121, February 2006. An essay about what’s solid in what’s transient.

"Play on - Mama's Cookin' just gets hotter and hotter." Crested Butte Magazine, Winter 2006-7. The story of a local band on its way up.

"A ‘River No More’ Becomes a River Again." Citizen’s Guide to Colorado’s Environmental Era. An essay on a river that had been turned into an irrigation canal, but through efforts by a diverse group of "water users" was restored as a river. Colorado Foundation for Water Education publication, 2005.

"The Secret Life of the Mountain." Crested Butte Magazine, Winter 2005-6. The living mountain under the snow that skiers don’t know.

"The Hat." Mountain Gazette, September/October 2005. A mostly fiction account of an encounter between the New West and the Old West.

"Showdown with Ranger Kreutzer." Crested Butte Magazine, Summer 2005. What happened when the first Forest Ranger confronted a herd of angry cattlemen in the Upper Gunnison valley in 1905.

"The Ongoing Search for the Bird Is Dead Bar and Grill." Mountain Gazette, November 2004. Essay on the spiritual search for the ideal bar.

"El Chino." Crested Butte Magazine, Winter 2004-5. The story of Les Choy, an Oriental hippie musician and mountain climber staying free.

"Dragons in Paradise." Mountain Gazette, January 2004. Essay on the true locus of uncontained wildness in America today.

"A Trapper Mountain Christmas." Mountain Gazette, December 2003. Story of a post-modern old-fashioned Christmas in a resort town.

"Despair and Denial, Fear and Loathing and Hope on the S.S. Aspen." Mountain Gazette, September/October 2003. A review of a conference, a book and a place.

"Thinking about Community." Crested Butte Magazine, Summer 2003. Looking at an over-used word in a more disciplined way.

"Law, Order and Western Writers." True West, May/June 2003. Historical back-ground for a writing conference in Colorado.

"Forests, Slums and the Fire This Time." Mountain Gazette, November/December 2002. A comparison of nature and society in need of change.

"On the Edge, In the Edge." Crested Butte Magazine, Winter 2002/2003. It’s not a line; it’s a zone where life is richer and stranger.

"How to Save the Grand Canyon." Mountain Gazette, May/June 2002. A modest proposal for finishing the technological reconstruction of the Colorado River.

"How I lost my Town." High Country News, March 18, 2002. Reprint of "Mendicant Mountain" essay from Mountain Gazette, November/December 2001.

"Work and Respect in Never-Never Land." Mountain Gazette, March/April 2002. The growing disconnect between workers and employers in mountain resorts.

"Present at the Creation." Crested Butte Magazine, Winter 2001/2002. The 40th anniversary of resort skiing in Crested Butte.

"Mendicant Mountain." Mountain Gazette, November/December 2001. An account of how well-meaning people bring bad changes to good places.

"Power to the People." Mountain Gazette, September/October 2001. A radical-centrist alternative to going "off the grid" for energy.

"The ‘River no more’ a river again? Well...." Mountain Gazette, May-June 2001. An analysis of the movement to restore manmade waterways to something more "natural," focusing on the Taylor River in the Upper Gunnison Basin.

"Slouching toward Simpletopia." Mountain Gazette, March-April 2001. An essay on the complexity of life grounded in a critique of books and magazines advocating simplicity.

"In the Trail of the Comet." Crested Butte Magazine, Winter 2000-2001. A historical perspective on the development of resort skiing in the Upper Gunnison Valley.

"Ghosts and Growing up in the mountains." Mountain Gazette, December 2000. An essay contrasting life in a present-day mountain valley with life there 8,000 years ago.

"Getting a Life." Crested Butte Magazine, Summer 2000. An analysis of the challenges associated with economic vitality in a community on the vulnerable margins of a seemingly robust national/global economy.

"Central Colorado in Y1K." Colorado Central, January 2000. An archaeological foray into what was going on in the central Colorado Rockies 1,000 years ago.

"Mountain Golf." Crested Butte Magazine, Winter 1999-2000. A fictional account of Crested Butte’s first golf match.

"The Gunnison Knot." Colorado Central, November and December, 2000. A two-part series on the history of water development in the Upper Gunnison River Basin, showing the origin of present-day conflicts.

"Running, Walking and Crawling to Crested Butte." Crested Butte Magazine, Summer 1999. A history of the Gothic-to-Crested Butte Marathon.

"Myth, Fish and Fine Print." Crested Butte Magazine, Summer 1998. A guide to western water issues for the perplexed.

"Falling down and Getting up." Crested Butte Magazine, Winter 1997-98. An essay on the first art of skiing: falling down and getting up.

"A Tale of Two Rivers." High Country News, November 1997. A story of the Colorado River Compact at its 75th anniversary and what it has done in the larger context of water development in the West.

"Chop wood, Carry water." Crested Butte Magazine, Summer 1997. The origins of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory and its founder.

"A Nation brought to the verge." Colorado Central, November 1996. Revisiting the rise of populism, the People’s Party and the election of 1896.

"Glen Canyon: Using a dam to heal a river." High Country News, July 22, 1996. Science trying to replace religion on the Colorado River.

"To make Citizens of the Children." Crested Butte Magazine, Summer and Winter issues, 1996-97. Reading, writing and assimilating in Colorado coaltown.

"Confessions of a Hotshot." Colorado Central, July 1996. Wildfire and firefighting in the Rocky Mountains.

"Community." Colorado Central, April 1995. Trying to define and establish some criteria for a warm fuzzy catch-all word.

"The Year Today came to Town." Crested Butte Magazine, Winter 1994. Reflecting on changes that occurred in 1970 a quarter century later.

"The Trouble with Money." Crested Butte Magazine, Winter 1993. Economic theory at a mountain campus of the College of Hard Knocks.

"The New West and its History: Aren’t we there yet?" Bloomsbury Review, July/August 1992. Review essay on new books in western history.

"Work, Wobblies & Whitman." Crested Butte Magazine, Summer 1992. A meditation on coal-mining versus recreation in the Great Work Ethic Debate.

"Law and Order out on the Edge." Crested Butte Magazine, Winter 1990-91. Murder, riot and wrong-side parking at the edge of civilization.

"An America that did not happen." High Country News, Dec. 22, 1986. A study of the failure of the Forest Service’s postwar community development program.

"Rediscovering the Lost Vision." MANAS, Dec. 10, 1986. A post-industrial re-evaluation of Jefferson’s preindustrial ideas.

"Cutting the Forests down to Jeffersonian Size." High Country News, Sept. 16, 1985. The relationship between forest environment and the forest industry.

"Seeing the Forest for the Trees." High Country News, Dec. 24, 1984. A critique of the Forest Service’s

"The Search for a true Multiple-use Approach." High Country News, Oct. 15, 1984. An examination of the Forest Service forest inventory process.

"The National Forests are cooking." High Country News, Aug. 6, 1984. A status report on the Forest Service planning process.

"Euclid in the Sawmill." New Age Journal, May 1984. Reflections on working as an environmentally-conscious sawyer in a small Colorado sawmill.

"Aspens." High Country News, April 30, 1984. Descriptive essay on aspens.

"Touchdown in D Minor." New Age Journal, Oct. 1983. Reflections on football, music and civilization. Reprinted in Denver Magazine and San Jose News-Mercury.

"Staying with the Land." MANAS, Oct. 1982. An essay on ranching in the Rocky Mountains. Reprinted in Western Colorado Report, Summer 1982.

"Steam Donkeys, Tree Monkeys and Menzi-Mucks." Technology Illustrated, April 1980. Study of how changing forests have changed logging.

"The Mountain that smokes." Denver Magazine, June 1980. Assessment of the energy boom in the Colorado Rockies.

"Crested Butte, AMAX and The Bird Is Dead Bar and Grill." Rocky Mountain Magazine, April 1980. Examination of a conflict between mining and recreation in a small Colorado mountain town.

"The Desert Empire." Harper’s, Oct. 1977. A long exploration of the historical and current development of water in the lower Colorado River Basin.

"The Dragon in the Field." Mountain Gazette, July 1976. Reflections on the technological revolution in coal mining, and implications for 1970s energy.

"Part of a Winter." Mountain Gazette, Oct. 1975-Jan. 1976. Four essays on life in Western Colorado (later expanded and published in book form).

The River in the Desert. Script and on-screen narration for a half-hour documentary on the Colorado River and its development in the 20th century. Produced by Len Aitken Productions, Denver, CO, with grants from the Gates Foundation and the Colorado Council on the Arts and Humanities. The film continues to be aired on PBS channels and at conferences.

"Power." A full-length "update" of a 1935 Federal Theater Project "Living Newspaper" of same name, adapted to the local region's REA programs. Prepared for and presented in "Readers' Theater at the 19th Headwaters Conference, November 2008, Western State College of Colorado.

Wrote all or part of 19 "Gunnison Sonofagunn" scripts – an annual musical production taking a satirical look at life in the Gunnison valley. 1988-present.

"Haltiyago." A three-act "legend" for an end-of-winter festival, presented by the Crested Butte Mountain Theater, April 1975.

Editor and writer, The Headwaters Trib, a newsletter/journal for the Headwaters Project, Western State College of Colorado, 1990-2007.

Editor and Manager, Crested Butte Chronicle, weekly newspaper of Crested Butte, Colorado, June 1968–Sept. 1971.


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