1% Fall Sign Up Season Open!

 

The official Fall Sign Up Season for 1% for Open Space is open now through December 15! These slower days of fall are the perfect time for local businesses to sign up for 1% for Open Space.

Since 1997, 1% has collected over 2.7 million dollars to help protect over 12,000 acres solely in Gunnison County. In Crested Butte this includes such popular trails as the Snodgrass, Lower Loop, Lupine Trail, and Rec Path; areas such as North Pole Basin, Paradise Divide, Yule Lakes and Schofield Park; and working ranches such as Rozman, Lazy F Bar and Cold Spring. In Gunnison our projects have put conservation on crucial historic ranchland such as Razor Creek and Tomichi Creek, as well as recently helped fund progressive projects such as the reconstruction of Gunnison Whitewater Park features and restoration of Tomichi Creek on the W Ranch.  1% for Open Space is also a proud funder of the recent Trampe Ranch Conservation project, permanently preserving 6,000 acres in Crested Butte, Almont and Gunnison as well as local stewardship initiatives such as Mountain Manners and the Crested Butte Conservation Corps.

Business participation is completely free, extremely easy, and we offer free bookkeeping services and support materials to get you started. Voluntary donations are collected from your customers and help preserve Gunnison County’s open space, recreational access, gorgeous viewsheds, ranching heritage, wildlife habitat, watersheds and important ecosystems. We have over 100 businesses currently participating. Already with lodges, restaurants, retail stores, real estate agents and guiding companies, there is no limit to the kind of business that can participate. Donations stay in the part of the valley where you conduct your transactions, so businesses from Gunnison to Almont to Crested Butte can all participate.

Businesses interested in simply learning more about the program should contact Executive Director Molly Murfee at 970-349-1775 or director@1percentforopenspace.org for a free informational coffee date to answer questions and help strategize how to best fit the program into your business. Visit www.1percentforopenspace.org for complete information on the program, funded projects, and participating businesses.

 

Low Impact Travel Techniques

Have some Mountain Manners

(And Don’t Love the Wilderness to Death)

Low Impact Ethics for Backcountry Travel

 

Remember while you’re traveling – while this may be just a weekend or a week for you, someone else will fill your traveling shoes when you leave. The cumulative impact of millions of visitors on our wildlands can have a seriously negative impact on the soil, plants, water and wildlife of the area. These low impact ethics will help you travel responsibly through this beautiful landscape. 

Love the Whole Experience

Use tools like binoculars to see wildlife and scenery up close without scaring animals or trampling plants

Use tools like binoculars to see wildlife and scenery up close without scaring animals or trampling plants

  • Get some good hiking boots or trail shoes
    • Waterproof hiking boots allow you to march through any condition the trail presents and still keep your feet dry.
  • Invest in some gaiters
    • These go over the top of your boots so water can’t leak in.
  • Get a good camera and binoculars
    • Take good pictures of wildlife and wildflowers, or see them up close, without having to scare the animals or trample the plants in order to get that great shot or view.
  • Get some wildflower, plant and tracking guides
    • Enhance your experience by learning more about this incredible land you are traveling through.

Love the plants

  • Stay on the trail
    Travel on durable surfaces such as trails, roads and rock to avoid crushing plants

    Travel on durable surfaces such as trails, roads and rock to avoid crushing plants

    • If you encounter a muddy or snowy spot, use those great new boots and gaiters and tromp right through it. Walking around muddy and snowy spots enlarges the trail, creates multiple trails in one area, causes both erosion and compaction, and kills all those beautiful flowers and plants you came to see.
    • Walk in a single file on the trail so as not to widen it
    • When encountering other people on the trail, “pull off” the trail only on durable surfaces such as dirt, gravel or rocks, and completely stop to let the others pass. Do not trample the plants just to get out of someone’s way.

 

 

 

 

Stay on the road

    • Do not drive out into our gorgeous meadows, no matter how easy it may be or fun it looks. This destroys plant life, compacts the soil, creates erosion, is extremely unsightly and makes a general enormous and often irrevocable mess of things.
    • When parking at trailheads, do not drive out onto the grass, flowers and meadows to create a space. Find a space to leave your car on pre-established parking spots. Squeeze in if necessary, being in tight and slightly inconvenient parking is better than destroying the wilderness.
  • Use only established campsites
    • Don’t start branching out into untrammeled ground. Keep your campsite tight, making sure you conduct all your activities of washing dishes, sleeping, hanging out, etc. off of vegetation
  • Break on durable surfaces
    • Chose a rock or bare ground off the trail for snack breaks and lunch.

Love the water

  • Urinate at least 200 feet from lakes and streams
    Conduct all activities - such as camping, washing dishes, cooking, urinating and defecating 200 feet away from any body of water.

    Conduct all activities – such as camping, washing dishes, cooking, urinating and defecating 200 feet away from any body of water.

    • Try to focus on unvegetated areas. Animals are attracted to the salts in our urine and may defoliate plants in order to get the salts.
  • Deposit solid human waste in catholes
    • Dig a small hole 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
  • Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products
    • A great way to do this is to stick a used coffee sack in your pack. Put your used products in the coffee sack, roll the whole bundle in a plastic bag, put it in your pack, and toss it when you reach civilization again.
  • Camp at least 200 feet from lakes and streams
  • Wash dishes and yourself at least 200 feet from lakes and streams
    • Carry water to your washing spot, use small amounts of biodegradable soap, scatter strained dishwater over an unvegetated area so as not to attract animals who might subsequently eat the plants.

 Love the Earth

  • Pack it in, pack it out
    • Inspect your campsite, break or lunch area for trash you might have spilled. Pick up any food scraps or litter and pack it out. Be extra careful of the small items like twist ties, candy wrappers or cigarette butts.
    • Modern human food is not a natural occurrence in the backcountry. Leaving it behind can attract animals, which in turn become accustomed to humans. Animals that are accustomed to humans, especially bears, are often killed to avoid animal-human interactions. Pack out all leftover food, cooking grease or any material used to cook food, such as aluminum foil.
    • Packing it out includes things like orange peels, apple cores, or pistachio shells. These items appear as food to animals.
    • Stuffing some extra plastic bags in your pack or vehicle is a great way to make sure you can carry out your trash comfortably.
    • If you see someone else’s trash, pick it up and pack it out. Think about the health of the landscape and the experience of future visitors and this becomes an easy and rewarding task.
  • Especially pack out your toilet paper
    • Do not, under any circumstances, leave your toilet paper in the backcountry. Do not lay it on the ground or bury it. Animals will get into it and strew it everywhere. It is unsightly for other visitors, extremely unhygienic and it is litter. It will not disintegrate quickly in our cold environment. You wouldn’t throw litter out your car window, why would you do the equivalent in our backcountry? Gross. Put it in a bag or coffee sack and deposit in a trash receptacle back in civilization.
  • Plan and pack your meals and snacks so as to avoid litter
    • Leave excess packaging at home. Avoid small things that can easily fall out of your pocket – like twist ties.

Love the Wildness

Don't pick the wildflowers. Leave them as they are most importantly so they can continue to reproduce; and secondly so others may enjoy them

Don’t pick the wildflowers. Leave them as they are most importantly so they can continue to reproduce; and secondly so others may enjoy them

  • Leave the wildflowers
    • Do not, under any circumstances, pick the wildflowers. Flowers are the way in which plants reproduce and if you pick them, you threaten their very survival. Wildflowers hate being picked anyway and will not last in a vase in your house. They were made to be wild. Plus, as the Wildflower Capital of Colorado, Crested Butte and the surrounding area depends on these flowers for tourism, and therefore our income.
  • Respect the wildlife
    • Don’t feed or approach wildlife. This includes chipmunks or birds that might seem interested in you, or even appear to having been fed before. Feeding wildlife alters their behaviors, making them accustomed to humans and therefore open to harm. They may lose their ability to find food on their own, which may cost them their lives when humans aren’t around.
    • When camping, store food so that animals cannot get into it. Hang your food in a stuff sack in a nearby tree.
  • Honor the rocks and trees
    • Do not carve into rocks or trees. Carving into the bark of trees opens them up to disease and alters the wilderness experience for others. Carving into rocks is just plain obnoxious.

 

Love Your Neighbors

  • Plan to travel in a small group
    • Most folks visit our backcountry to get away from other people and noise, and find some solitude and quiet. Large groups can be a hindrance to this need.
    • If you’re traveling in a large group, break up into smaller groups and hike a good distance away from each other, or take different trails altogether
  • Give folks some space
    Travel in small groups and give folks some space so everyone can enjoy a piece of solitude and quiet on the trail.

    Travel in small groups and give folks some space so everyone can enjoy a piece of solitude and quiet on the trail.

    • Keep your distance from other recreationalists so they may enjoy the solitude and silence of the wilderness on their own terms.
    • There is no need to be on someone else’s heels. Take a break, eat a snack, snap a photo and let the distance between you widen.
    • Find your own spot. If you are lunching, taking a break, or camping, pull off the trail and break away from other people to help maintain the quality of their experience. Use durable surfaces such as a rock or bare ground for your breaks.
  • Listen to nature
    • We all understand the primal urge to howl at the moon or hear your own echo bounce through the valley. But please respect the desires of others for silence and solitude and keep your human made noises down.
    • Many come to the wilderness to get away from technology. Turn any gadgets you’re carrying with you such as cell phones off or on silence. Avoid yacking away, if you even can get a signal, around other people.

Love Making a Proper Fire

  • Know if any fire restrictions are in place
    • We live in an extremely arid place. Your carelessness of building a fire during dangerous conditions can literally threaten our homes, forests and livelihoods.
  • Use only existing fire rings
    • The intense, concentrated heat of a campfire sterilizes the ground beneath it making it hard if not impossible for plants to regrow in that space for many, many years. Avoid at all costs making a fire ring next to a pre-existing fire ring. This is absurd and just damages more and more soil, thereby making the spot undesirable for humans, plants and animals
  • Keep fires small
    • Use only dead and downed wood. Do not cut branches from trees or bushes, dead or alive. A good size for firewood is about the size of your wrist, or something that can be broken easily with your bare hands.
  • Put it out completely
  • Use a lightweight stove for backcountry cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.

This guide is by no means comprehensive and there are many techniques to developing and instilling a true wilderness ethic of respect and proper behavior within yourself and your travel companions. A good resource for more detailed information on low impact travel ethics is through the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics website at www.lnt.org. In particular click on the “Learn” tab, then scroll to the “Seven Principles” link. If you use motors to experience the wildlands around us, check out www.treadlightly.org for more specific information in that area. Click on “Education” then “Learn” then “Recreation Tips” for a good place to begin according to your sport.

Originally printed in the Crested Butte Magazine summer 2015 edition, page 105. For a direct electronic link to the article visit: http://issuu.com/crestedbuttemagazine/docs/cbms15_digital_linked_small/107?e=1473410/13026661

For the corresponding article entitled, “Why We Need Wilderness” on page 96 of the Crested Butte Magazine summer 2015 edition visit: http://issuu.com/crestedbuttemagazine/docs/cbms15_digital_linked_small/99?e=1473410/13026661

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1% Wins Legacy Award

1% for Open Space recently received the Crested Butte – Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce’s

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1% for Open Space wins the Legacy Award for over 10 years of service from the Crested Butte – Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce

Legacy Business of the year! We are incredibly proud and honored to receive this award.

It is particularly significant to 1% to receive this award from an entity dedicated to business success. We raise our grant funds through the efforts of our 100 participating businesses who donate their time in collecting a voluntary 1% donation from their customers. Their vote of confidence is immeasurably meaningful to us.

The Legacy Award is given to those who conducted business in the valley for over 10 years. It also calls us to ask – “What does it mean to be a legacy?”

For 1% for Open Space it means that through nearly two decades of our work, we have raised over 2.4 million dollars, granted to eight different community organizations, for the  permanent preservation of over 12,000 acres through 45 separate projects – all exclusively in Gunnison County. These include such prominent projects as the Lower Loop, Lupine Trail (on the Kochevar Parcel), and Paradise Divide Basin. We’ve helped generational ranchers continue their economies and way of life by funding conservation easements on working ranches with families such as Trampe, Rozman, Peterson and Guerrieri. Recreational access has been secured with projects such as the Gunnison Whitewater Park and Baxter Gulch Trail.

Being a legacy means that we’ve stood the test of time, proving ourselves to be dependable, accountable and reputable. And so we are also proud to have partnered with entities such as the Crested Butte Land Trust, Gunnison Ranchland Conservation Legacy, Trust for Public Land, Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, Town of Crested Butte, Gunnison County, Trout Unlimited and the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival. The work we have done together means that much of our natural heritage in Gunnison County is preserved forever.

Thank you to all of the businesses who truly comprise this program, who make a statement through their participation that taking care of business also means taking care of the most vital entity that sustains our business – these landscapes that serve as our physical, economic and emotional haven and essential resource.

Wildflowers & Science Extravaganza! An Educational Hike with 1% for Open Space and Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory

Join 1% for Open Space executive director Molly Murfee and Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory scientists on an educational hike in the wildflowers in “Wildflowers & Science Extravaganza!” Saturday, August 15, both from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Discover what world class scientists at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory are studying! RMBL scientists use wildflowers to understand a range of topics, including pollination dynamics; how complex traits like diabetes are controlled by genes; and how organisms will respond to a changing

Science at work on the North Pole Basin Property. 158 acres permanently preserved in 2013 with help from 1% for Open Space funds.

Science at work on the North Pole Basin Property. 158 acres permanently preserved in 2013 with help from 1% for Open Space funds.

climate. Join RMBL scientists and 1% for Open Space Executive Director Molly Murfee in this full day immersion to roam through the three separate permanently protected lands of North Pole Basin, Schofield Park and Maxfield (or Gothic) Meadows. Learn about: current research being conducted live on these lands; open space preservation as a key to understanding our physical world; and how these two organizations work together on land conservation for scientific research. Enjoy a gourmet sack lunch in the Gothic townsite followed by a historic tour of the research laboratory grounds with some time to peruse the gift shop. A portion of this workshop’s tuition helps support the work of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory and 1% for Open Space.

Day & Time:  

Saturday, August 15, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Price: $110 includes gourmet lunch

Held in conjunction with the Art Studio and Crested Butte Wildflower Festival. Register at www.crestedbuttewildflowerfestival.com or (970) 349-2571 .

Hike Highlights & Scientist Bios:

Dr. Jill Anderson studies climate change and its effect on plants at the garden plot in North Pole Basin

Dr. Jill Anderson studies climate change and its effect on plants at the garden plot in North Pole Basin

Dr. Jill Anderson, Assistant Professor, Department of Genetics and Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia will speak about her research in North Pole Basin and Schofield Park during our Saturday, August 15 hike. Here’s a preview of the research she’ll be talking about:

Modern reliance on fossil fuels has ushered in extreme temperatures globally and abnormal precipitation patterns in many regions. Climate change exposes natural communities to novel stresses, and increases the risk of extinction. In this tour, we will discuss the short- and long-term consequences of changing climates. Scientists can test biological consequences of climate change through various procedures, including experimental manipulations of temperature and water stress, and experimental gardens across climatic gradients (such as elevation). We will visit a study that combines these methods to discuss experimental design and results.

 

 

 

Dr. Rosemary Smith, Professor of Biology, Idaho State University, and long-time RMBL Researcher will speak to her research in Maxfield Meadows at the Saturday, August 15 hike. Find out what she’s discovering! Here’s a preview to her research:

The Maxfield Meadow is the site of a long-term small mammal population census. Each year we set up a

Dr. Rosemary Smith studies rodent populations and their impact on predators at the Maxfield Meadows research site

Dr. Rosemary Smith studies rodent populations and their impact on predators at the Maxfield Meadows research site

rodent-trapping grid, using live-traps. For 8-10 nights each summer we bait and set the traps, then remove the live animals in the morning. Each animal is identified to species (deer mouse, vole, jumping mouse), weighed, marked, and released. We have found that rodent populations can fluctuate dramatically from year to year; and this influences the species that depend on them for food.

 

 

 

Wildflower Hike with 1% for Open Space

Join 1% for Open Space executive director Molly Murfee for a “Happy Hour Sunset Saunter” Wednesday, June 24 from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Learn early season wildflowers and wildflower succession as well as about the marvelous fundraising engine of 1% for Open Space

Learn early season wildflowers and wildflower succession as well as about the marvelous fundraising engine of 1% for Open Space

Experience the magic of the Woods Walk as you never have before. In the first throes of summer, the best blooms begin here before crawling their way up the valley. Learn the lore of early season wildflower species as they glow through the peak lighting ambiance. Stop to drink it all in, and savor a gourmet happy hour picnic with local wines and fine regionally sourced appetizers. From this glorious starting point, Molly explains how this gem is the gateway to a world of lovingly and permanently preserved open space lands you can access.

Perfect for proud 1% customers who want to learn more about the program’s funded projects; local business owners interested in becoming participants; participating businesses who want to learn more about what they’ve helped save; and conservation enthusiasts wishing to start similar programs in their hometowns.

Registration is $50 and includes locally sourced wines and appetizers. A portion of the proceeds from this divine wildflower experience helps support 1% for Open Space. Held in conjunction with the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival. To register visit www.crestedbuttewildflowerfestival.com. For more information on 1% for Open Space visit www.1percentforopenspace.org.

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.

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

 

 

Gunsight Bridge Reclaimed

In 2002 1% for Open Space gave $50,000  to the Crested Butte Land Trust to preserve 120 acres at Gunsight Bridge.  The parcel serves as an important connector between the Lower Loop and BLM land, essentially allowing residents and visitors the opportunity to access wilderness land directly from town.  Now, nine years later, the Gunsight Bridge parcel is becoming even better.

Over 11,000 cubic yards of coal removed.  Set into the ground were 15,450 individual plants of 17 different species. Over 125 pounds of seed mix spread with species such as yarrow, paintbrush, lupine and flax.  Recovering from 40 years of hard mining that ended in 1929.

These are just some of the reclamation numbers of the Slate River wetlands on the Gunsight Bridge parcel. This 120-acre connector from the Lower Loop to BLM land was permanently preserved by the Crested Butte Land Trust (CBLT) in 2003,with a conservation easement held by the Town of Crested Butte.

Tara Tafi, Project Manager from the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining, and Safety (DRMS), led volunteers through the reclamation site on Saturday, October 22, after a rigorous day of planting willow, wood rose, shrubby cinqufoil and wax currant on the wetland buffer zone of the project area.  The group tiptoes through loose soil and small nuggets of coal, 11,000 wetland plugs and 30 sod patches that dot the recovering wetland like implants for a receding hairline.  Rhizomes from the plugs will spread roots and shoots from nodes underground to propagate more wetland plants.  Blue joint, reed grass, beaked sedge, water sedge, Baltic rush, tufted hairgrass and large leaf avens are all part of the optimistic mix.  Meanwhile, the surviving wetland creeps in, slowly growing over the now exposed topsoil and thin layer of coal.  Tara estimates that in five years, the plants will have won, and the wetland will once again function like the filtering system it is.

Where did the coal come from?

Tara and the DRMS, in partnership with the CBLT and the Coal Creek Watershed Coalition (CCWC), are cleaning up the mining refuse from the second largest coal mine in the Crested Butte region in the late 1800’s.  Duane Vandenbusche, author of The Gunnison Country, writes that Crested Butte father Howard Smith purchased all of Smith Hill in 1879 after turning up the prized high quality anthracite coal.  The Smith Hill Mine began operations in 1882 with a 1,628-foot tramway running from the mine on top of Smith Hill to a mammoth, 80-foot coal breaker.  The only anthracite breaker west of Pennsylvania, it crushed and sized the coal, where the Denver Rio Grand railway then hauled it away.  Standing next to a small and now uncovered stream, Tara says the coal in that spot rose to eye level. Along with the waste, they’ve also unearthed a lot of trash, including shoes and bottles from the era.  One bottle, she reports, reeked with the booze still sloshing inside.

Overview of reclamation area

The Process of Reclamation

Hauling the coal away is cost prohibitive, explains Tara.  The brand of coal in Crested Butte is low sulfur, however, so abandoned coal mines like the Smith Hill Mine are not cursed with acid mine drainage.  When so thickly layered, however, water cannot percolate up to the surface to support plant life.

The task of restoration becomes not to remove all of the coal, but to resore the pre-mining hydrology to the wetlands. Some of the coal remains as a thin veneer over the original ground surface through which places can grow.  Of the 11,000 cubic yards of coal removed from the wetland, 4,000 was blended into the hillside below the Slate River Road.  The rest was wrapped in a geo-grid material to increase its strength and prevent it from sloughing into the wetland and waterway.  Topped by road base, the area will continue to serve as a cattle load for local rancher Curtis Allen.  While the land revegetates itself, the cattle will be directed by fencing to keep them off the delicate terrain.

“The wetlands will begin to grow back in,” explains Tara, “because we have restored the hydrology.  Now the water can percolate up whereas before the coal was damming it.  Now the water can do what it wants, and do it naturally.”

The project found its seed when the DRMS and CBLT worked together on the Peanut Mine reclamation project in 2007, also a Land Trust conserved property. One-hundred percent of the half million dollars for the project came from the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund – a federal fund collected from severance taxes paid by coal mining companies.  The DRMS contracted wetland ecologist Andy Herb of AlpineEco to create the restoration design.  Since this past August Andy and Tara, along witha host of excavators and several days of volunteers from the Crested Butte Community School, Gunnison High School and Western State College, and CCWC have plant by plant and seed by seed been putting the wetland back together.

The Conservation of Gunsight Bridge

Restoring the wetland would never have been possible if it weren’t for the conservation efforts of the land itself by the Crested Butte Land Trust, who received the support of local funders to make the original preservation happen.

Funding the property was the Gunnison Valley Land Preservation Board with funds from Gunnison County, the City of Gunnison, Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte specifically designated to protect open space and agricultural heritage of Gunnison County; Great Outdoors Colorado, using a portion of lottery dollars for the protection of Colorado’s open space; and the Town of Crested Butte with  funds gathered in its 3% Real Estate Transfer Tax, half of which is designated for the preservation of open space outside the town limits.  And finally, 1% for Open Space granted money from customer donations collected by the over 70 participating businesses.  In this way, patrons of any 1% for Open Space business can feel proud to have individually contributed to the preservation, and hence restoration, of this land.

From conservation to restoration, the Gunsight Bridge parcel is one of those shining examples of a variety of organizations, volunteers, donors and community members demonstrating when we receive so much, it is also important to give back.

“The restoration project of Gunsight Bridge meets every conservation value of the Crested Butte Land Trust,” concludes Executive Director Ann Johnston, “It supports historic grazing practices, protects wildlife habitat and provides free recreation for hundreds of people. It really is a fantastic project.”

Lupine Trail Ready!

Lupine Trail worker line

Through the weekend of June 4th and 5th over 150 volunteers joined to created the new Lupine Trail on the recently purchased Kochevar Parcel. Customer contributions from participating 1% for Open Space businesses granted $110,000 to preserve this land last summer.

The weekend went fast and hundreds of Trail Fairy coupons were given out to help educate and drive customers to 1% for Open Space businesses. The more we support 1% businesses, the more money we have to protect our lands, lifestyle and viewscapes.

The trail is rideable, but some “buffing” is required. Mark your calendars for Wednesday, June 15 at 4 p.m. to fine tune the trail and earn more Trail Fairy coupons! Watch the website for meeting spots.