Conservation Committee


April 4, 2007

THOSE PRESENT: Deirdre Butler, Mary Skumanich, Kirk Cunningham, Wayne Schnell, and Linda Batlin

1. OPEN SPACE ISSUES- Wayne Schnell

* Meeting with George Karakehian. Wayne visited George at his downtown store. George is on the governing board for the Chautauqua Association, and Wayne wanted to quiz him about the proposal to build a hotel on Open Space. George’s main message was “Thanks to Steve Pomerance for wasting hundreds of hours of our time,” in responding to his (and others’) concerns about the hotel proposal. He stated that there was never anything resembling a serious intention to build on Open Space, but also that there were also no good ideas for keeping up the necessary funding of the Association and its proprties. Many cottages and buildings need expensive repair. In some cases, like the roofing on the Chautauqua Auditorium, the historic preservation designation gets in the way of using more fire-proof materials. However, despite some initial animosity, George told Wayne that he would keep him appraised on fund-raising developments at Chautauqua.

* Daily Camera article about use conflicts at Valmont City Park. Kirk pointed out that someone in the Boulder County Nature Association had prepared a study of that property to identify any opportunities to protect wildlife habitat along with providing recreation. Kirk said that he would try to find that study and send it to Wayne, who would in turn visit the park and come up wit some suggestions for the Indian Peaks Group about how to deal with requests for highly developed recreation facilities there.

* Open Space Off-Trail Permits in Habitat Conservation Areas have been the topic of several irate letters in the Daily Camera recently. How well do those letters reflect public opinion? Wayne said that he would go to the Open Space headquarters and see what other input has been.

2. WILDLIFE ISSUES - Deirdre Butler.

* Deidre also had some opinions about the Valmont Park conflicts. She said that the Park also is valuable for habitat in some parts, particularly in the part of the Park north of Valmont Rd. On the south side of Valmont Rd., there are conflicts with prairie dogs which are encroaching from adjacent Open Space. Most of these conflicts are due to the fact that the City build a barrier to keep them out, but then failed to maintain it. We need to have more citizen monitoring of the fence line for prairie dog incursions in time to have them relocated without being killed, but the City does not seem to be responsive to encouraging such monitoring. She said that “passive relocation” seems to work fairly well.
* Another prairie dog conflict area is the Foothills Community Park, also due to building a fence and not maintaining it or relocating prairie dogs that dig beyond it.
* City staffer Mark Gershman is seeking input on a draft Grassland Management Plan, which has prairie dog issues as one of its focuses. Kirk has a copy of that document which he can email to anyone wishing it.

3. ECLIPSE SNOW PARK - Kirk Cunningham.

The proposed Snow Park is in Clear Creek County, but is of interest to the IPG because it may adversely affect the James Peak Wilderness, which was promoted chiefly by IPG volunteers. The Snow Park is a project of Michael Coors, one of the younger Coors heirs. Although it is modest by ski area standards, it would bring a level of development and traffic into a fairly rural area (around St. Mary’s Glacier) that might have impacts. The Sierra Club is still debating what position to take with respect to this proposal. Kirk and IPG Wilderness Chair Bill Ikler plan to take a tour of the area sometime in April.

4. ADJOURNMENT - about 8:15 pm.

Kirk Cunningham
IPG Conservation Chair