Colton Guard Station

Colton Guard station was built in 1933 and remodeled in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC was part of the New Deal of President Franklin Roosevelt instituted during the Great Depression. Single young men were recruited to work on natural resource projects like building dams, roads, fences, campgrounds, and buildings. The men lived in camps that were run by the military. Many of the roads and buildings on the forest were built during this period. The wood porch was replaced with a cement one in 1974, but the station essentially looks the same way it has for nearly 70 years

Frazio tells the following story about the Colton Guard Station.

Thirty years prior to the construction of Colton Station, Louis Freestone and two other men found a dead cowboy at the site. It was reported that he had been thrown from his horse, crawled to the creek for water, and died where he lay. Glen Lambert (A Vernal District Ranger), however, later heard one of the men that buried him say he had been shot – not thrown.

The grave is located squarely beneath the present station. Lambert and the others were aware of this in choosing the location, but since it was the best spot, and hoping that the cowboy wouldn’t mind and others would probably not know the difference, the little station was built where it stands today.

One of the last crews to live in Colton was a timber crew who worked long hours conducting stand exams. Stand exams are to identify the types of trees, their size and any disease or bug problems in a particular area. One evening the crew noticed a porcupine had begun eating bark near the top of a spruce tree beside the station. They watched the porcupine for several days, but one day it left the tree and was waddling on the ground. Wanting to protect the tree and guard station from the porcupine, but not kill the porcupine, the crew quickly grabbed a garbage can and captured the fellow. He was transported in one of the crew member’s van a few miles from the station and released. Can you find the tree the porcupine was living in? How might the porcupine have killed the tree and what danger was there to the guard station?

One of the main duties of the employees who stayed at Colton was to watch the sheep drive line that passed just north of the station. Beginning in World War I and into the 1920’s over 100,000 sheep were driven into the Uintas to graze for the summer. Each herd was given a specific area (allotment) to graze. The herders were never in a hurry to reach their allotments because every day the sheep spent in someone else’s area meant more feed on their own allotment later. Forest Service employees would ride the drive way to encourage the herds along and count the number of sheep to ensure there were no more than had been permitted.

William Hurst, Forest Supervisor between 1950 – 1955, told the following story about one of these riders. Hurst hired a local young man to ride the drive way and sent him to Colton. The man was a good rider, but had been given a Forest Service horse that could be stubborn. The next morning the young man walked into Hurst’s office and threw his badge on the desk and said, “I quit.” Hurst asked him why he was back so early, what had happened. “Remember Blue (the horse) and how many times we had threatened, if I had a gun? Well, this morning I had a gun.” Hurst talked the young man into going back to Colton to deal with the horse’s body. When they arrived the horse was walking around the corral. The young man swore the horse had gone down when he had shot it, but no wound could be found. Blue lived to torment employees for several more years.