Voices Topics Info

Julie Quinn

San Luis Valley Citizen Alliance

Interview Conducted by: Rachel Johnson


Julie Quinn is a 79 year-old native of Maryland. When she was younger, she enlisted in the Airforce. After her service, she became a physical therapist and lived in Boulder, Colorado. After some years she bought land in Taos, New Mexico as a nature retreat. While living in Taos, Quinn took a trip up to Crestone, Colorado and was in awe of its natural beauty. Fifteen years ago, she sold her land in Taos in favor of Crestone because it was far more beautiful and a fraction of the price. Her property sits at the edge of the wildlife refuge and is in grave danger if the natural gas drilling occurs. She uses the land for solitude and refuge and has never built on it. She now resides year round in the town of Crestone. Quinn did not come to Crestone because it is a spiritual Mecca. She came here to “live off the land” and “live off the grid.” She did not have spiritual knowledge when she first arrived, but has been on her own semi-spiritual quest ever since. Quinn is now a member of the San Luis Valley Citizen Alliance – a group of citizens who voice what the local community feels.

“A friend of mine gave me one of those metal energy poles. When someone with a strong energy comes by, the poles will separate. But when I pointed it at the mountains here, it just started spinning wildly. The mountains are filled with energy and the poles didn’t know how to handle it!”

“I did not come here for the purpose of spiritual knowledge.”

“I needed solitude for my loneliness. I find peace through loneliness. I like to be lonely, and sit and meditate on my land. I maintained my land for the reason.”

“I became more and more connected to the fact that the spiritual groups are here. It feels good that they are here, even though my own spiritual group is not here.”

“I am very attracted to the fact that they (the citizens of Crestone) have all these spiritual groups, spiritual involvements and rituals, but they also lead other lives. It’s a combination of doing many things. It is a beautiful balance of culture.”

“I have had spirituality from the beginning. I practice Sound and Light Meditation. My practice is not directly connected to this land, not more than any other place.”

“I’m 79 years-old and healthy. I attribute a lot of that to being here (in the Baca).”

“The drilling here has brought a lot of controversy.”

“The spiritual aspect of this place leads one to be different.”

“This land is called The Bloodless Valley for a reason, the land was so beautiful and sacred that no one would fight here. Now there is the biggest war. Just the controversy of the gas drilling is politically disrupting here. Its an environment and lifestyle issue.”

“Living here, and facing this drilling issue has forced me to be more aware of what’s generally going on in this world.”

“I am always amazed at how many really brilliant people living right here who are willing to get involved with this issue.”

“I love the dark here. It is pitch black at night. There are very few places where you can absolutely experience that kind of darkness.”

“I love the quite here. There is no noise, no traffic. The dark and the quite and night, I just love that. It is difficult to find that experience coupled with a strong community.”

“This place demonstrates idealism. All the spiritual centers get along and are harmonious. They practice, ‘This is how I believe, but I honor and accept how you believe too’.”

“This place has a very Native American spirituality. It is represented more by what is NOT obviously here, then by what s here. The spirit of the Native Americans, their archaeology represents that there was once a great existence here.”

“This place is called the Bloodless Valley because the sacredness of the land prevented anyone from war. And now we are having the biggest fight ever here.”

“Artists and musicians come here because of inspiration. The drilling is an intrusion of a sacred place.”

“This community is unique in the world. It could maybe exist somewhere else, but it does not.”

“This place has developed through the years. White people did not originally come here to be more spiritual. It was a retirement community and a raunchy mining town. But slowly, things fell into place. Now, this land does not lead anywhere. People come here to be here, not because of a business.”

“Kirt Ward came here to build a catholic monastery and decided to stay and run a store. This small community can sustain such a store. It’s hard to say which came first, the type of people attracted to that sustainable store, or the store itself. It’s like the chicken or the egg. The store attracts the type of people who live here.”

“Someone else owns the mineral rights on my land. If they find gas – who knows that will happen to my land. If they do find gas, who knows what will happen to my land.”

“People don’t come here for the money. Money is far from the minds of the people here. The drilling is bringing forward people’s attitudes.”

“This controversy brought many things to the surface. It has forces people to realize how special this place is.”

“This is one of ten most spiritual places in the world. It is great to get the attention, but I hope not to get a great number of tourists here.”

“I don’t feel quite as protective of this land, but I am beginning to feel more that way because of who is coming here.”

“There is a difference between spirituality and religion is dogma. Dogma separates a lot of the people who are here. But not every tradition has a place here. Everyone needs to respect each other and get along.”

“We have begun cremation ceremonies here. They have no affiliation with any specific spiritual groups. One man had a ceremony in his driveway. He felt connected to all of the groups. The Muslim prayer was the most beautiful. One man took a photo of the cremation ceremony. When it was developed, the smoke had a white light floating above it. Can you imagine something so special occurring with the noise of the drilling going on?”

“There is a special cremation site being built. It is a way of knowing – a more natural way of dealing with death.”

“I do not participate in the spiritual groups here, I’d like to, but they happen too early.”

“This drilling is not inevitable. We must keep doing what we are doing. Common sense tells me this is not the place.

“There are groups in place here to stop the drilling. It is such a small population here, people tend to be focused on their own backyard. It can be stopped!”

“This drilling is a huge intrusion. It is a wildlife refuge, we are not even allowed to walk on it!”

“The animals – my life is about the animals. We already intrude on the animals too much! We should use this land to build more solar farms, not oil and fuel companies.”