Friday, June 14, 2013

The mystique of Air Force Academy, Colorado and surroundings

[Image: 640px-Rampart_Range.JPG]

The mystique of Air Force Academy, Colorado and surroundings

By Mei Wong
The Daily Magi
November 14, 2046

Air Force Academy is a census-designated place (CDP) in El Paso County, Colorado, United States. The CDP includes a large portion of the grounds of the United States Air Force Academy, including the cadet housing facilities. The population was 6,680 at the 2010 census. The USAF Academy Post Office (ZIP Codes 80840 and 80841) serves the area.

Air Force Academy is located at 38°59′26″N 104°51′38″W (38.990440, -104.860674). According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 10.0 square miles (26.0 km²), all of it land. As of the census of 2000, there were 7,526 people, 1,128 households, and 1,112 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 750.9 people per square mile (290.0/km²). There were 1,238 housing units at an average density of 123.5 per square mile (47.7/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 83.6% White, 5.8% African American, 0.8% Native American, 2.8% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 3.1% from other races, and 3.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.7% of the population.

There were 1,128 households out of which 82.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 90.2% were married couples living together, 5.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 1.4% were non-families. 1.3% of all households were made up of individuals and none had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.60 and the average family size was 3.62.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 24.2% under the age of 18, 49.2% from 18 to 24, 24.4% from 25 to 44, 2.0% from 45 to 64, and 0.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 21 years. For every 100 females there were 191.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 235.8 males. All these statistics are typical for United States military bases.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $43,417, and the median income for a family was $43,264. Males had a median income of $7,307 versus $15,464 for females. The per capita income is $11,088. 3.2% of families and 2.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.6% of those under the age of 18 and none of those 65 and older.

The Rampart Range is a mountain range located in Douglas, El Paso, and Teller counties, Colorado, USA. It is part of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The range is almost entirely public land within the Pike National Forest. Devils Head, the highest peak in the range, reaches 9,632 ft. (2936m). It is located at N 39.260268 and W -105.1011. It is used for recreational purposes.

The Palmer Divide is a ridge in central Colorado that separates the Arkansas River basin from the Missouri River (via the Platte River) basin. It extends from the Front Range of the Rockies in central Colorado, eastward toward the town of Limon. The western end of the Palmer Divide is generally considered to be at Palmer Lake, located south of Denver and north of Colorado Springs. However, the divide between the two river basins actually extends west and then north to a junction with the Continental Divide at McNamee Peak.

The Palmer Divide is named after William Jackson Palmer, the founder of Colorado Springs. For much of its length, it travels very roughly along the northern border of El Paso County. Thus, it forms a natural separator between the Denver and Colorado Springs metropolitan areas. The elevation along the divide varies between about 6,000 and 7,887 feet, with the high point being Bald Mountain in southern Douglas County. This peak can be seen from I-25 just northeast of Monument Hill This uplifted area causes a slight increase in precipitation from the rest of eastern Colorado, resulting in the presence of the Black Forest, a peninsula of trees surrounded by dryer grassland plains.

This terrain feature is the cause of several small scale, or microscale, weather patterns, and it can make a great difference in the weather between Denver and Colorado Springs. Although the elevation technically qualifies it for the foothills category, it does not parallel a mountain chain as foothills generally do; instead, the Palmer Divide is perpendicular to the main chain of mountains. Due to the orientation of the Palmer Divide with respect to the eastern plains, the weather can be similar to that of the foothills during active weather with enhanced precipitation, especially during snowstorms. Cities and towns near the Palmer Divide include Castle Rock, Parker, Franktown, Elizabeth, Kiowa, Monument, Elbert, Black Forest, Sedalia, Palmer Lake, and northern communities of Colorado Springs, such as Gleneagle and Briargate.

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