Growing up on Colorado’s Western Slope established a foundation for Zebulon Miracle’s passion for connecting people with the lands, cultures and heritage of the American Southwest. After graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Miracle moved back to the region that long inspired him and worked for the Museums of Western Colorado in Grand Junction before becoming curator of curiosity for Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa in Gateway, Colorado.
Located in the beautiful canyon country at the foot of the Uncompahgre Plateau and created by John Hendricks, founder and former chairman of the Discovery Channel and Discovery Communications, Gateway Canyons is committed to providing learning programs and adventures that enrich guests’ minds and spirits. Miracle says he was honored to establish a new position and department in 2015 that allows individual guests and groups the chance to experience the dynamic history and geology of the area.
Locally, Miracle has utilized his expertise on historic preservation projects at Calamity Camp (a uranium camp listed on the National Register of Historic Places), the Hanging Flume (a site recognized by the World Monument Fund), and Driggs Mansion.
Off-site excursions with Miracle last 90 minutes to a full day, and involve the historic sites mentioned, dinosaur tracks, rock art, geology, natural history, and attractions like Colorado National Monument and Arches National Park, located just across the border in Utah. Shorter on-site talks and lectures cover topics such as Rock Art on the Colorado Plateau, Uranium Fever, and Murder, Madams and Mayhem.
While groups can take advantage of any of the programs offered to resort guests, a couple of Miracle’s favorite options available only to gatherings include the Tools of the Hunters team-building activity, fireside chats with s’mores and stargazing with telescopes. During Tools of Hunters, participants are divided into teams that compete with spears, bows and arrows, and atlatls (spear-throwing devices) they make from local materials.
“Groups and people travel for a number of different reasons,” Miracle says. “I want them to understand this is a special place. If I do my job right, our guests will go home and think about that and where they live.”