Grand County historian brings Rocky Mountain National Park centennial celebration to Steamboat |

Grand County historian brings Rocky Mountain National Park centennial celebration to Steamboat

Dave Lively's presentation "Sisters of Courage" at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Bud Werner Memorial Library chronicles pioneer sisters Annie and Kittie Harbison's experiences during the development of Rocky Mountain National Park.

After years of conducting historic seminars and tours for Rocky Mountain National Park, Rocky Mountain Conservancy and the Rail River Ranch Education Center, Grand County historian Dave Lively will help Steamboat Springs and nearby communities celebrate Rocky Mountain National centennial during the Centennial Speakers Series.

This Tuesday, Lively will present “Sisters of Courage,” a story of two sisters from the first days of Rocky Mountain National Park, at 7 p.m. in the Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library.

“The celebration of Rocky is to celebrate the last 100 years and also to look forward to the next 100 years of preserving it,” Lively said. “Through stories, I show what has happened in the past to make the park what it is. The centennial also shows how the preservation of Rocky will be able to continue with programs like the Junior Ranger program.”

Lively, who specializes in recounting “absent narratives,” has led his “Sisters of Courage” walk in Rocky Mountain National Park for more than eight years as one of 10,000 National Park Service interpretive guides in the country.

He also has appeared in the 2015 PBS documentary “The Living Dream,” has served as past president of Grand Lake Area Historical Society and past chairman of the Grand County Historic Preservation Board. He currently serves as the vice chair and West Slope representative for Colorado Preservation Inc.

Lively’s story Tuesday will chronicle the Harbison sisters’ challenges owning a homestead at what would eventually become the west entrance to the park. As pioneers in the Kawuneeche Valley, the sisters provided fresh milk to the expanding Grand Lake population as the National Park Service navigated through the early developmental days of Rocky Mountain National Park.

“During my presentation, I talk about how the Harbison sisters fought to maintain their homestead when the National Park Service asked to buy their land for Rocky Mountain National Park,” Lively said. “But I also talk about how, if the Harbison sisters were here today, they would be pleased with how they have preserved the land and that it has not been abused.”

Though not an entry point into the park, the city of Steamboat Springs and its residents have historic ties to the park.

“We are one of the important west entrance communities to the park,” said Bud Werner Library adult programs coordinator Jennie Lay. “A lot of people from Steamboat have spent time there, and it’s part of our landscape. This event will give people a great insight on the spectacular public lands in our backyard.”

In the past 100 years, Rocky Mountain National Park has been designated the fifth most visited national park in the country, an international biosphere reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and an official globally important bird area.

In honor of its centennial, Rocky Mountain National Park is hosting Colorado Mountain Club hikes, climbs and wildflower walks, Rocky Mountain Conservancy Field Institute seminars, the Centennial Concert Series, the Centennial Speaker Series, the Rocky Mountain Plane Air Paint Out and Show and the Vintage Time Travelers Model T tour.

For more information on Lively, visit

To reach Liz Forster, call 970-871-4374, email or follow her on Twitter @LizMForster

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