While hiking up South Table Mountain with teacher Mary Eiberger, one can’t help but agree with her statement that she has the gift of gab. Mary grew up in the Applewood neighborhood of Jefferson County, Colorado in a house her parents built in 1958. It was only five houses up the street from a deer path that lead them up South Table. She began hiking the mountain when she was six years old with her dad. “It’s closed now but we used to take the Jeep trail up here too,” says Mary. “It was very challenging.” She stops and talks with every hiker and mountain biker she comes across, telling them about the mountain and Carl’s Point. Carl’s Point is an area on top of South Table named in 2021 after her father, attorney Carl Eiberger, who helped Jeffco Open Space buy portions of the mesa. He donated 10,000 hours of legal work and fought 98 public hearings to save South Table Mountain from a proposed 75-year aggregate rock quarry operation. The quarry would have used 50,000 pounds of explosives, causing air, water and noise pollution, as well as erosion in the area.
Mary carries the torch for her father, promoting her father’s good works, giving lectures, leading hikes and teaching all who want to learn. Her background is in teaching. She started in her 20s taking people to Rocky Mountain National Park to teach them about the park, the mountain peaks, their history and native wildflowers. She has taught biology, science, earth science, anatomy and algebra. She is also very involved in sports and the outdoors. She has taught avalanche awareness, snow caving, and skiing to people with disabilities. Mary also developed the outdoor education program for Boulder High School, which involves rock climbing, mountaineering, rope skills, survival skills, skiing and snowboarding. “My passion is teaching, my passion is nature, my passion is sports,” says Mary.
Once we reach the top of South Table Mountain, Mary motions to Carl’s Point and beyond. “See the crater right there,” she says. “It’s the K-Pg boundary (Cretaceous-Paleogene). Dinosaurs lived, the asteroid hit 66 million years ago, they died. The Tertiary layer comes all along here. It was the first site identified in North America in 1943 where they found the first K-Pg boundary, just 49 feet below Carl’s Point.”
Mary continues her father’s fight. She testifies to help Save the Mesas and makes her voice and thoughts known regarding any kind of proposed development. In March 2022, a 10-acre solar array was proposed for the top of South Table Mountain. “They found the first T-Rex tooth on that site, where they are talking about putting in the solar array,” says Mary. ”What if they find a whole T-Rex? I want make this a historical, paleontological, geological site, so people leave it alone, for the good of the people.”