GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- The Curse of the Grand Valley has been a tale told for years around the area.
Legend has it, the Ute tribe “cursed” the land after European settlers kicked the Natives off. Some stories mention the Utes believing the Valley was already cursed and filled with Ghosts. The way to ward it off, is to collect dirt from Valley locations, so once you leave, you don’t come back.
If the dirt is not collected, people who leave will be “cursed” to come back. This varies as much as the story—dirt, according to the tale, is usually a trio of the Mesa, the Colorado National Monument, Mount Garfield and the confluence of the Gunnison and Colorado rivers.
The Lloyd Files Research Library said there are many versions of it. It is unknown how the fable got started, but the research library has been able to track it back to a poem. Grand Junction High School had a competition in the 1930s, and a student entered a poem about the “curse.”
Matt Rosenberg was born and raised in the Valley, graduating from Grand Junction High School. He moved to Texas for college, never taking dirt with him.
“I imagine there was probably some dirt attached to my clothes and my cleats and everything I took with me,” said Rosenberg.
Now, Rosenberg is back in the Valley with his family.
“It’s definitely not a curse,” said Rosenberg. “It’s totally a choice and calling it a curse implies you don’t really have any options, you just get sucked back.”
He said, he chose to come back. Another Valley resident, David McGee, also left after high school for the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
“Frankly, I wasn’t really aware of the whole dirt thing that much,” said McGee.
He too, did not take dirt, and is back in the Valley.
“I wouldn’t suggest it, because I think people should want to come back. I love it here,” said McGee.
Rosenberg and McGee both do not believe in the curse, and besides, they said the Valley is a great place to come back to.
“I’m super happy. So, if it is a curse or it comes down to the dirt, I’m glad I didn’t take any with me,” said Rosenberg.
The Colorado National Monument said taking dirt from the Monument is illegal, and they ask people to not take any--leaving or not.