Castle Valley Comments: Oct. 10, 2019

Next Saturday, Oct 19, Castle Valley will be celebrating one of the most remarkable and versatile vegetables – the hard-shell gourd – during the annual Castle Valley Gourd Festival. The event, which draws gourd enthusiast from all parts of the country, will begin at 10 a.m. and run until 3 p.m. Gourd artists are asked to register for a free booth space by calling organizer Ruth Brown at 435-259-0537 and they can start setting up at 8 am. There will be something for all ages there.

The parade will begin at noon followed by a potluck lunch at 12:30 p.m., where people are asked to bring a favorite dish to share.

This week we are also observing National Fire Prevention week. The National Fallen Fire Firefighters Foundation started the week with its 38th Annual National Fallen Firefighters memorial service at the memorial park in Emmitsburg, Maryland to pay tribute to all firefighters who died in the line of duty during the previous year.

Thousands attend the services during the weekend. Among those honored in Maryland was Draper, Utah Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett who lost his life while fighting the Mendocino Complex Fire in California a year ago this week.

Locally, the Castle Valley Fire Department used to hold an open house sometime that week in observance of the occasion. Thirty-five years ago this week the fire department held an open house with numerous activities including films, demonstrations and refreshments. Fire Chief John McGann talked to the group about escape plans, wood-burning stoves, flammable and combustible liquids and fire extinguishers. Smokey Bear also made an appearance, which delighted the children. Ken Drogin was inside the bear suit. The objective was to have the community become familiar with the fire department members and the equipment.

Earlier that week 35 years ago during their regular training meeting, election of officers was held. McGann remained as fire chief and Dave Seibert was the assistant fire chief. I remained as the hose captain, Valli Smouse was the safety and engineering captain, and Elaine McGann was the secretary.

Also that week a small brush fire erupted on Castle Valley Drive when a resident said a cardboard box that was burning in an incinerator blew out and ignited the dry grass. Gil Haegele also expressed his appreciation to the fire department that week for their quick response to a fire on his property. He stated that the fire personnel saved his buildings from burning after a controlled burn got out of hand on his neighbor’s property and spread to his lot.

The programs that are offered by the fire department these days are more geared to wildland fire and are mostly held during the beginning of the wildland fire season. As of Tuesday our fire danger is still listed as “very high” despite the colder weather. The vegetation is still very dry and high winds have contributed to the high fire danger and fire watch warnings, which were issued by state fire officials.


There is still a lot of bear activity in the valley, according to several people who were discussing the subject this week. A bear broke through a fence to get to JoAnna Stoddard’s peaches last week while she was gone. She was planning to pick and bottle the fruit for the winter. A bear in a tree on lower Shafer Lane was reported to the sheriff’s office but it moved on before anyone responded. Dorr Hatch has no problem with the bears as long as they leave his beehives alone. He said their nightly visit to his place just cleans the apples off the ground. But in their effort to retrieve fruit from trees they often break and damage the fruit trees at other people’s property, as was the case of the Castle Valley Inn Bed and Breakfast recently.


The Castle Valley Women’s Workshops, which are for the benefit of all women in the Castle Valley area, are starting again after the summer break. The next workshop will be at 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 14 beginning at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Branch chapel. The next workshop will be a presentation by Pastor Nathan James, the regional pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. His discussion will be on what to do if confronted with wildlife and how to deal with wildlife on your property.

This subject is especially appropriate given all of the bear activity in the valley this year, but the discussion deals with all forms of wildlife. Light refreshments will be provided. For more information, contact Ady Moore at 435-201-0908 or JoAnna Stoddard at 435-259-9105.