Wildflower Hikes with 1% for Open Space

Do more than just identify the wildflowers! Learn, discover, explore and create in 1% for Open Space’s wildflower hike offerings during the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival.

WILDFLOWERS & SCIENCE EXTRAVAGANZA! 
Choose one or both of the Wildflowers & Science Extravaganzas! Snodgrass: Saturday, July 15. Gothic / Gunsight / Kochevar: Saturday, August 12, 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Discover what scientists at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory are studying! RMBL scientists use wildflowers to understand a range of topics, including pollination dynamics, genetics, climate change, and impacts of invasive species. Join RMBL scientists and 1% for Open Space Executive Director Molly Murfee in any of these full day immersions roaming through various research sites to 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.

As topics and scientists vary for each Extravaganza, join us for one or both! At least two separate topics by two different scientists are covered in each Extravaganza. Tuition is $120 per Extravaganza with a gourmet sack lunch included. A portion of this workshop’s tuition helps support the work of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory and 1% for Open Space.

Snodgrass: Saturday, July 15, 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. 
Topic Range: pollination dynamics, watersheds, climatic data gathering, entomology
Registration: https://crestedbuttewildflowerfestival.configio.com/ShoppingCart.aspx?com=detailview&iid=748&cid=361

Gothic / Gunsight / Kochevar: Saturday, August 12, 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. 
Topic Range: pollination dynamics, invasive species, mutualism, climate change, evolution, stream ecology
Registration: https://crestedbuttewildflowerfestival.configio.com/ShoppingCart.aspx?com=detailview&iid=694&cid=374


Indulge in the acts of noticing, visual art and writing in Conversations in Wildflowers Saturday, July 8

CONVERSATIONS IN WILDFLOWERS: A CREATIVE INVESTIGATION & WALK

Indulge in the act of pausing to be fully present in nature. Engage in a conversation with the earth through all of your senses. Connect. Collaborate. Harmonize. Local artist and Certified Nature Connected Coach, Ivy Walker, is joined by writer and executive director of 1% for Open Space Molly Murfee, in a series of visual, written and sensory exercises to really sink in and deepen your unique relationship with the land. Tap into your nature-inspired creativity through reflecting, journaling, and making art with the land, rather than always moving swiftly through it. Use the natural history of wildflowers, site-specific sculpture artists (such as Andy Goldsworthy), environmental writers (such as Terry Tempest Williams), and the inherent metaphor of nature as your muses.

Saturday, July 8, 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. and tuition is $60.
Registration: https://crestedbuttewildflowerfestival.configio.com/ShoppingCart.aspx?com=detailview&iid=521&cid=365

Mountain Manners Stewardship Courses

Do you love being in the backcountry but don’t know if you’re “doing it right?” This summer, the local Mountain Manners logoeducation and stewardship effort, Mountain Manners, is offering a variety of courses based in the Leave No TraceTM tenets to give you the low-down on low-environmental impact travel through wild, fragile places. Hikers, bikers, backpackers and car campers – come get smart about bringing the right gear; trail etiquette; choosing the best lunch and camp sites; making a low impact fire; preserving flora and fauna; “toilet” practices; dealing with trash; preserving water quality and more.

Eight classes – all conducted outdoors – are offered June through August taught by instructors Molly Murfee and Gillian Rossi. To fully address a variety of needs a mixture of time commitments, activities and price points are available. All classes are complemented by reference materials and fun swag to take home. Classes tailored for specific groups (such as hunters, fisherpeople, river runners, motorized users and more) are also available upon request.

Mountain Manners was created as a response from locals about “loving our public lands to death.” Collaboratively conceived and sponsored by the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival, Mountain Manners serve as a relatable, easy to remember, fun and eye-catching educational campaign to teach recreators about outdoor etiquette. Mountain Manners also sponsors Peak Protectors, a training for local citizens to educate recreators about proper outdoor etiquette while on the trails.

Register for any Mountain Manners Stewardship Course through the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival online at www.crestedbuttewildflowerfestival.com. Go to the “Events” tab, then “Mountain Manners Stewardship Classes” on the drop-down menu. You may also register by phone at (970) 349-2571. All courses begin at the 4-way stop / Visitor Center in Crested Butte on the NE Corner of Elk Avenue and Sixth Street (Hwy 135), except for the July 9 offering which meets at the Crested Butte Community School at 818 Red Lady Avenue in Crested Butte. Be prepared to carpool except for the Mountain Manners for Mountain Bikes which will bike from the 4-way.

SUMMER 2017 COURSE OFFERINGSDown & Dirty Locals' Mountain Manners

Down & Dirty Locals’ Mountain Manners: Offered early in the season for locals to learn how to treat our “crib” right!

Saturday, June 3. 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. $35. Instructor: Molly Murfee

 

 

Mountain Manners Wildflower & Natural History Hike: These three-quarters day hikes allow plenty of time to learn local wildflowers and natural history, and see the gorgeous terrain of the area through a guided hike, while additionally acquiring Mountain Manners and Leave No TraceTM skills.

Saturday, June 17. 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. $75. Instructor: Gillian Rossi; Sunday, July 9. 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. $75. Instructor: Molly Murfee; Friday, August 11. 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. $75. Instructor: Molly Murfee

Mountain Manners for Mountain BikesMountain Manners for Mountain Bikes: Held during Crested Butte Bike Week, this class is for mountain bikers in a succinct format so you can squeeze in another ride later in the day! Bring own bike, ready to ride.

Sunday, June 25. 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. $40. Instructor: Molly Murfee

 

Mountain Manners Half Day Hike: The shorter half day hike allows you to focus exclusively on the Mountain Manners skills you came to learn, allows for an affordable entry point, and still leaves you with the rest of the day to fill as you please!

           Wednesday, July 19. 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. $40. Instructor: Gillian Rossi

           Wednesday, July 26. 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. $40. Instructor: Gillian Rossi

 Mountain Manners Car Camping & Campfire: Learn methodologies to selecting durable car camping and campfire sites; building low impact fires; cooking; dealing with dishwater and trash; “toilet practices” and other strategies to making your car camping experience the best all around. Bring adult campfire beverages and snacks if you desire for chatting around the fire afterwards. Please note this is not an overnight event.

Wednesday, August 2. 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. $50. Instructor: Gillian Rossi

 Mountain Manners is sponsored by the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival

Wildflower Fest Logo Vertical

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.