The Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, adopted as the official state animal in 1961, is doing just fine without any help from us. A much more endangered species is the Colorado lobbyist, whose very existence -- and legal foraging range -- is threatened with extinction by the passage of Amendment 41.
The lark bunting, named the official state bird in 1931, is a migrant -- and so are many of the executives who flew in and out of Qwest after collecting their stock options. But now they're back in Colorado, and as they've shown in court, these birds can really sing.
In 1994, the greenback cutthroat trout was named the state fish, supplanting the rainbow trout, which had long been considered the unofficial state fish. Still, when was the last time you saw trout on a Denver menu? Meanwhile, there's a sushi joint on just about every corner. Such raw ambition deserves official recognition.
Legislators adopted the square dance as the official state folk dance in 1992, but it's so, well, square -- particularly since Colorado is jam-packed with more jam-band fans per capita than any other state in the union. In honor of this peculiar set of folks, the Go Ger Swing -- that dazed, trancelike step so often seen at Red Rocks and other dreadlockian venues -- should take its rightful place as the state's folk dance.
Governor Dick Lamm made the mighty stegosaurus our state fossil in 1982, 150 million years after it lived in Colorado. Just a few years later, a new dinosaur moved into Colorado when child psychologist James Dobson established his Focus on the Family headquarters just north of Colorado Springs.
The Ailanthus is also known as the Chinese sumac (because it looks like a sumac) and Tree of Heaven -- but there's nothing heavenly about this rapidly growing, unbearably stinky tree that's springing up from sidewalk cracks and patches of dust all over town. Still, it has one decided advantage over the Colorado blue spruce, our official state tree since 1939: No bugs can kill it. In fact, it's impossible to kill.
What has rhodochrosite, the state mineral since 2002, done for us lately? Compare that with the titanium sheathing on the Frederic C. Hamilton Building. It's elemental and should be the state mineral.
Give Girl Scout Troop 357 of Lakewood a special merit badge for convincing the legislature to make Yule marble the official state rock in 2004. Coincidentally, that's about the time some real rock -- as fashioned by the Fray -- was coming into its own. C'mon, Colorado: There's more to this state's music than John Denver.
One-stop shopping for all you need to know -- and more -- on state symbols and emblems, including the state tartan, gemstone and insect.
"If you have an ugly girlfriend and she changes her name, she is still ugly," Commerce City mayor Sean Ford says, by way of explaining his opposition to renaming his town. Not that Commerce City is a town without pretty, he hastens to point out; the ugly truth is that all those johnny-come-latelies to the burg northeast of Denver want to gussy it up with a superficial name that gives no hint of the town's deep, personality-filled roots. While Ford's own name won't be on the April 3 ballot -- his eight years on council are enough -- he definitely plans to hit the polls to vote down the renaming proposal. Save Commerce City!

Best Of Denver®

Best Of