1% for Open Space - Crested Butte & Gunnison, CO - Saving Paradise Pennies at a Time A

1% Pledges Funds to Gunnison Whitewater Park

1% for Open Space has recently pledged grant monies to help fund the reconstruction of damaged whitewater wave features #2 and #3 of the Gunnison Whitewater Park. These funds will be used as a portion of the 10% cash match required for the award of a requested Great Outdoors Colorado grant.

“We have heard from so many people in the Gunnison community that the repair of the Whitewater Park is important to them,” says 1% board president Glo Cunningham, “We are thrilled to offer funding to help preserve this crucial recreational amenity.”

1% made the decision to help fund the repairs because they recognize that while Gunnison County is a haven for outdoor recreation—from biking and hiking, to fishing and rafting—the Gunnison Whitewater Park stands alone as the sole experience of its kind in the area. Its position as a major economic driver in the County with aquatic recreationists, as well its vital role in supporting the Gunnison River Festival and rafting and fishing companies were also stated.

In addition, the 1% for Open Space board felt other benefits associated with the reconstruction, such as enhanced habitat for fish, improved bank stabilization for the riparian river ecosystem, and greater functionality of the important 75 Ditch, were also influential to the decision.

“What is exciting to us about this project is that it offers support for a major recreational asset in the southern end of the valley,” adds 1% Executive Director Molly Murfee, “We want the Gunnison and Almont communities to know that 1% for Open Space is established to fund projects throughout the County, not just in the Crested Butte area.”

1% for Open Space raises funds through voluntary donations from customers of over 100 participating businesses to help preserve Gunnison County’s open space, recreational opportunities, gorgeous viewsheds, ranching heritage and important
ecosystems. Since 1997, 1% has collected over $2 million to help protect over 5,100 acres in Gunnison County.

“Any business in Gunnison County can participate in 1%,” encourages Murfee, “And money collected stays in the part of the valley where you operate. Pledged support to repair the Gunnison Whitewater Park is a perfect example of how funds collected from participating Gunnison businesses can help protect valuable south-of-the-valley assets.”

For more  information on 1% for Open Space visit www.1percentforopenspace.org or call 970-349-1775.

Best Blooms of 1% for Open Space

Join 1% for Open Space executive director Molly Murfee for a “Best Blooms of 1% for Open Space” hike through the area’s most prolific wildflower displays of the season on Saturday, August 16 from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m.

How is there so much gorgeous open space in Crested Butte? 1% for Open Space is one of the answers! Learn about the unique fundraising engine of 1% for Open Space and experience some of the unusual properties 1% has helped permanently protect. Discover the natural history, lore and medicinal uses of the plants and flowers.

Perfect for proud 1% customers who want to learn more about the program’s funded projects; local business owners interested in becoming participants; and conservation enthusiasts wishing to start similar programs in their hometowns. Occurring the first day of the Crested Butte Bike Week this saunter is ideal for non-biking family members or bikers wanting to stretch their legs in a different way (and learn about how the land under the trails was conserved!)

Held in conjunction with the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival. To register visit www.crestedbuttewildflowerfestival.com.

North Pole Basin

North Pole Basin: 158 acres preserved in 2013 with the Crested Butte Land Trust and Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory

1% Helps Fund North Pole Basin

1% for Open Space announces its pledge of $78,000 to permanently preserve 158 acres of North Pole Basin.

Recently, Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) decided to help fund the purchase of North Pole Basin with a grant of $700,000, making its permanent preservation a foreseeable reality. We are proud to say that 1% for Open Space funding, as well as that made by the Gunnison Valley Land Preservation Fund, played an essential role in GOCO’s grant approval.

While seemingly a smaller donation in comparison to the literal millions GOCO is able to generate, we at 1% want to make sure that our community members know that without the organization’s crucial local support, such large grants would noteven be available for our benefit.

Our strength is in the community support our grants demonstrate. Our funding has an incredibly strong voice, backed by our 85 participating business and the literally hundreds of thousands of their participating customers. We make a very powerful statement of our community’s values when we pledge funds.

This was made personally apparent to me at a GOCO board meeting held this fall in Crested Butte, where I had the opportunity for multiple conversations with GOCO board members expressing the absolute necessity of these local funding sources.

They simply won’t give a project money unless it has local support, and they are extremely impressed with the support open space receives here in the valley. They notice when entities such as the Gunnison Valley Land Preservation Board receive more than 80% of voter approval. Many of them were asking me how to start their own 1% funding program in Denver. I take that as a great compliment for our organization.

So what, exactly, has been preserved? Why are such words as “vital” and “critical” being thrown around in relation to this project?

The North Pole Basin is a large and important piece of the High Elk Corridor, a vast tract of land situated between the Maroon Bells-Snowmass and Raggeds Wilderness areas, surrounded by the White River National Forest. It stretches from Gothic to Marble, including the historic mining towns of Schofield Park and Crystal. For the outdoor enthusiast, these are the homes of trails such as Yule Creek and West Maroon, guarded by the sentinels of Baldy, Crystal, Treasure and Treasury. Preservation of the High Elk Corridor stands as one of Colorado’s longest running conservation efforts.

Here, thousands of acres of mining claims created in the 1800’s have remained privately owned. But now, through the conservation efforts of the Trust for Public Land, Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory and Crested Butte Land Trust, over 1,800 acres are preserved. 1% for Open Space has been an important funding partner to these organizations throughout many of these preservation projects.

Preservation of the North Pole Basin has been orchestrated by the Crested Butte Land Trust, who will hold the conservation easement, and the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, who will own the land. The property, once a Commonwealth Placer mining claim, has been purchased from the North Village Reserve, a subsidiary of the Crested Butte Mountain Resort. CBMR had acquired the property through the previous ownership of the resort. The current owners are selling the highly valued property at a bargain sale, donating 30% of its value to the conservation project.

North Pole Basin itself shares borders with Schofield Park, much of which is also permanently preserved, and the Mexican Cut, another critical piece of land preserved with the help of the Nature Conservancy in the 1990’s. The Mexican Cut is used by the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory for sensitive research.  With the addition of the North Pole acreage, their field of research just got a lot larger.

Previously, access to the North Pole was only granted through permission. With RMBL’s ownership the property will be re-opened to the public via a hiking trail. Now, hiking through the water-laden basin, camping in the upper echelons of the high alpine meadows beneath Treasure Mountain, climbing Crystal Peak, and backpacking through Bear Basin, will all be available for public access through an easement granted by CBLT and RMBL.

The North Pole Basin isn’t 1% for Open Space’s first rodeo in the High Elk Corridor.  Since 1999 the organization has pledged $221,923 to preserve 232 acres in this area alone. These projects have included Schofield Park, Paradise Divide, Paradise Basin, Yule Creek, Maxfield (Gothic) Meadows, and Crystal Peak. Organizations such as the Crested Butte Land Trust, Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory and Trust for Public Land have all received individual grants from 1% to help see these projects become a reality.

It is vital for business participation in the 1% program to continue to increase, and for customers to not only frequent 1% businesses, but encourage those not yet a part of the program to join. Much of the incredible beauty we enjoy in the valley isn’t magic or free, but a result of the hard efforts of the land preservation and funding organizations we have here locally.

The real beauty in 1% is that every single person that has stepped foot through a 1% for Open Space business and purchased anything – be it a $20 pair of socks or a week’s stay in a local cabin – can feel proud to have donated to the preservation of the North Pole Basin. This program allows everyone to participate and take ownership in these successes.


1% Helps Preserve Razor Creek Ranch

1% for Open Space has added another pledge in the Gunnison Ranchland Conservation Legacy’s efforts to help preserve Greg Peterson’s Razor Creek Ranch, with funding assistance for a 460-acre conservation easement on the property.

Razor Creek Ranch

Razor Creek Ranch

This is not the first time 1% for Open Space has granted funds to the Gunnison Ranchland Conservation Legacy for preservation of the Razor Creek Ranch. 1% funds were used in 2001 to protect 150 acres, and again in 2006 to protect an additional 430 acres. This 2012 easemnt creates a network of protected lands covering 2,927 acres in the Razor Creek Valley, which is also home to the imperiled Gunnison Sage Grouse. Funds were additionally granted by Great Outdoors Colorado, the Gunnison Valley Land Preservation Fund, the Gunnison Sage Grouse Mitigation Fund, the Jim Gebhart Memorial Fund, and other private donations.

Peterson’s ranch is located 20 miles east of Gunnison. This particular easement covers 460 acres of irrigated hay meadow and pasture. It is the final phase of Peterson’s series of conservation easements, which now protect his entire 1,640-acre property in the Razor Creek Valley.

The 460-acre easement includes 300 acres of irrigated meadow and pature that are designated as “Lands of Statewide Importance” by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The ranch provides critical brood-rearing and nesting habitat for the imperiled Gunnison Sage Grouse, as well as habitat for numerous other wildlife species. The easement includes a half mile of Razor Creek and surrounding riparian habitat. The ranch also provides scenic views for travelers on the Doyleville-Cochetopa Road and for visitors on adjacent public lands. Mr. Petson is an enviornmetnally conscientious rancher who earned the 2005 Gunnison Sage Grouse Stewardship Award.

The ranch is located in the Gunnison Basin Megasite, which is considered to be of “Critical Global Significance” by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program. The Nature Conservancy considers the Gunnison Basin to be a priority conservation area within the Southern Rocky Mountain Ecoregion. The area’s biologically rich landscape received a “high” ranking in TNC’s assessment process. The property is also located in the Gunnison Basin Priority Landscape designated by the Colorado Conservation Partnerhsip’s “Keep It Colorado” initiative.

The conservation easement ensures that the land will be availabe for food production in perpetuity. THe undeveloped property will also continue to provide wildlife habitat and scenic views.





Alpengardener in Crested Butte South

Providing all you with a vast selection of high mountain tolerant flowers, plants and trees for your property. We are open all spring, summer and fall from 9 – 5pm all week long. We are glad to help you pick out plants for your property location. Stop by and see our selection or call with questions (970) 349-0252.

Cold Spring Ranch

Cold Spring Ranch: 190 acres preserved in 2011 with the Trust for Public Land.

Baxter Gulch Trail Begun

View from Baxter Gulch

The beginnings of the new Baxter Gulch Trail commenced this summer with a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado funding a group from the Colorado Youth Conservation Corps to begin trailwork. About 10 youth, ages 17—22, built approximately 1/2 mile of the trail.  The trail is at an 8% grade and 24” across—perfect for mountain biking and hiking.  Dana Lambert of Arrowhead Trails oversaw the construction and provided professional trail building experience to the project.

The trail will continue to be built in stages for the next couple of years with the final stages allowing for volunteer efforts from the community. Ultimately, the trail will provide access to climbing Whetstone Mountain as well as a through trail to Ohio Creek.  A feasibility study has begun to place a campground at the trailhead.

Special thanks should be sent to Jake Jones, Town of Crested Butte Parks & Recreation Director and John Hess, Town of Crested Butte Town Planner who made this trail construction project happen

PLEASE NOTE: The Baxter Gulch Trail is NOT open and will not be for some time due to the multiple-year needs in constructing.

1% for Open Space funded the final needed trail easement to create an environmentally sound and user-friendly trail in 2010 with the Town of Crested Butte.  The Town of Crested Butte and Crested Butte Land Trust also did considerable work in acquiring easements to help make this trail happen.  Thank you to all the private land owners and organizations who have helped bring this amazing amenity to the community!


New Kikel Trail Talks

Kikel preserved acres

Discussions have begun with the Kochevar Trails Coalition with the Crested Butte Land Trust leading the charge to connect the new Lupine Trail on the Kochevar Parcel with the Kikel Parcel with a new trail.  The new trail would link the Lupine Trail through Kikel to meet the Slate River Road near the Gunsight Bridge Parcel.  This new trail would eliminate user needs to hike or bike through the current exit route of the Lupine Trail that runs down a county road and through a considerable amount of gates.  It would also provide a more direct route for connecting with the Gunsight Bridge and Lower Loop trails.  Consideration is being made to make the trail wide enough for adaptive users.

Construction on the new trail will most likely begin in the spring and summer of 2012.

1% for Open Space helped fund the Kochevar Parcel in 2010 with the Town of Crested Butte, the Kikel Parcel in 2006 with the Crested Butte Land Trust, the Gunsight Bridge Parcel with the Crested Butte Land Trust in 2002, and the Lower Loop with the Crested Butte Land Trust in 1998 and 1999.

The Kochevar Trail Coalition is a consortium of non-profits and governmental entities focused on providing open space and trail amenities to the community. The group consists of 1% for Open Space, Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association, Town of Crested Butte Planning Department, Town of Crested Butte Parks and Recreation Department, Town of Crested Butte Town Council, Crested Butte Land Trust, Gunnison County Trails Commission, Gunnison County Land Preservation Board, Elk Mountain Hikers Club, Adaptive Sports of Crested Butte and Gunnison County Commissioners



Need Supplies?

As you gear up for our busy “on” seasons, be sure to let Molly know if you need any new signs, Employee Fact Sheet, remittance envelopes or other such materials.