Latest Meeting Minutes

November 11, 2021

Reminder – Next meeting of LCOSI will be at 9:00 PM., Thursday, January 13, 2022

Reminder – Next meeting of LCOSI will be at 9:00 PM., Thursday, January 13, 2022


LCOSI Meeting


Nov. 11, 2021






Linda Balough, Pike National Trail Association

Harv Hisgen, Pike National Trail Association

Patrick Mercer, USFS

Kelly Sweeney, Friends of Twin Lakes

John Smeins, BLM

Sam Harshbarger, Aurora Water

Kyle Clifton, Central Colorado Conservancy

Sarah Mudge, LC BOCC

Michael Irwin, Lake County Public Works

Dan Daley, Leadville Lake County Fire Rescue

Gabby Voeller, SE Group

Mary Palumbo, GOL

Alan Robinson, S&RT and GARNA

Corrine Servis, AHRA

Amber McGee, Lake County Recreation

Adam Moore, Colorado State Forest Service

Laura Archuleta, FWS

Jeff Fiedler, Lake County BOCC


Facilitator:  Michael Conlin

Previous Minutes:

 No corrections or additions to the July 2021 meeting minutes were suggested and they stand as written. Introduction of participants and affiliations was initiated for the benefit of new members.


Next LCOSI Meeting:

 The next regularly scheduled LCOSI meeting will be held on Zoom on Thursday, January 13, 2022, starting at 9:00. The Zoom invitation follows:


Mike Conlin is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.


Topic: LCOSI Zoom Meeting

Time: Jan 13, 2022 09:00 AM Mountain Time (US and Canada)


Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 745 303 2496


Find your local number:



Sarah  Mudge has been appointed as the Liaison between LCOSI and the Lake County Community Fund, replacing Adam Beh from the Central Colorado Conservancy.

Sarah has met with the LCCF and CCC to begin the transfer of information. CCC continues in the role of administrator of the 1% for the Outdoors Program. No financial report was available at the time of the meeting.

Sarah indicated that the Crossroads Trail has completed the permitting process, for which LCOSI was the Applicant, and the trail is now a Lake County project.

 Mike Conlin is contracted directly with the County for coordination of 2021 Phase I Trial construction management.


Community Wildfire Protection Plan

Sarah Mudge provided an update on progress toward revision of the Lake County Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

 The Lake County Forest Health Council presented a “Map Walk” as part of their Community Outreach, where members of the community could view mapping of wildfire potential and vulnerabilities, risks, community values, and susceptible infrastructure in conjunction with the recently completed community survey.

 The Lake County Forest Health Council will meet on November 17th to discuss the input received at the Map Walk and subsequent on-line responses. The information will be used to determine levels of treatment that will be recommended for incorporation into the Wildfire Protection Plan.

 Discussions of developing a County chipping program to dispose of slash from private timber removal in the creation of defensible space have also been initiated and the County is looking into the purchase of a “Air Burner” for slash disposal.

 Sarah also referenced a meeting with the USFS to discuss dispersed camping and the inherent risks of wildfire from increased recreational use of the forest in uncontrolled camping settings.

 Pat Mercer, USFS, and Dan Daley, Leadville Lake County Fire Rescue reinforced Sarah’s comments on the importance of involving a robustly educated public.


Lake County Recreation and Open Space Plan

 Gabby Voeller, SE Consulting, provided an update on the progress of the Lake County Recreation and Open Space Master Plan.

 SE has been contracted by Lake County to facilitate a master planning effort for parks, recreation, and open space in the community to include foundational research, needs assessment, and public outreach. A public open house was conducted the previous evening to introduce the community to the project and collect local input.

 Twenty stations were set up to provide mapping and information to allow participants to vote on their priorities and write in comments on their thoughts and concerns. Hot topics included recreation tourism impacts, dispersed camping, and OHV use.

 Results of the Open House comments and a household survey sent to every resident of the County will be summarized to determine the interests and concerns of the community. Once research is completed recommendations will be formulated. LCOSI will be solicited for reviewing the conclusions regarding open space values and issues.

 Mike Conlin indicated that LCOSI input has been solicited, and the planning group toured the Hayden Meadows Recreation Area as part of their research to better understand the role of the Initiative in open space acquisition and planning. The offer of LCOSI assistance in preparation and review of the plan was articulated.


Crossroads Trail

 Mike Conlin provided a PowerPoint highlighting the progress on permitting and construction of the Crossroads Trail and acknowledged the contributions and volunteer efforts in completing Phase I of Trail construction in 2021.

 Elements of the trail permitting included completion and acceptance of the CDOT Special Use Permit, which incorporated environmental clearances such as haz-mat analysis, wetland delineation, stormwater management plan, visual resource assessment, cultural resource inventory, and wildlife impact review, as well as completion and acceptance of stamped engineering drawings for all design features, and a review of funding sources.

 LCOSI was the Applicant, representing Lake County as the Permittee. Project planner was Mike Conlin, project engineer was Roger Mutz.

 Permitting was also completed and accepted for Army Corps of Engineers Nationwide 13 and 42 permits for impacts to Water of the United States.

 Phase I construction was illustrated on the PowerPoint and included completion of 1,300 feet of native surface trail, installation of a culvert at the Upper River Ditch Crossing, erosion control and trail foundation construction at the inlet and outlet of the concrete box culvert under Highway 24, and installation of 50 gabion baskets forming the elevated bench of the trail segment under the U.S. Highway 24 bridge.

 The video of the PowerPoint can be accessed by copying the following link to your browser:        ?

  Passcode: ?V!.dCg9


The discussion of the trail and acknowledgement of contributors and volunteers starts at minute 39 on the timeline and ends at 1 hour and 5 minutes.


Stage and Rail Trail

 Alan Robinson, S&RT, provided an update on the progress of the Stage and Rail Trail.

 More appropriately referred to as a celebratory route following the alignments of the Old Stage Road to Leadville and Colorado Midland Railroad, the route would incorporate approximately 75 miles of trails, abandoned rail grades, and roads to connect the communities of Salida and Leadville.

 The route would pass through the Lake County Open Space, incorporating sections of the High Lonesome trail and share the Crossroads Trail separated grade crossing under U.S. Highway 24.

 Accomplishments over the past 15 years have included:

 ·         13 miles of the route between Salida and Big Bend has been formally designated and signed

·         12 miles have been designated and signed in the vicinity of Johnson Village to a point north of Buena Vista

·         The section overlaying the High Lonesome Trail through the Open Space has been completed

·         Once the Crossroads Trail is opened for use, an additional 13 miles connecting Hayden Meadows to the Mineral Belt Trail in Leadville will be designated and signed

 Alan also indicated that once the route intersects with the Mineral Belt, future plans for the construction of the Fremont Pass Trail could link it to Copper Mountain and the trail system linking Summit, Eagle, Garfield, and Pitkin Counties.

 Both the S&RT and the Fremont Pass Trails were recognized as critical to intermodal connectivity in the State’s Strategic Transportation Plan and the Governor’s 16 in 16 Initiative.

 Alan was acknowledged as one of the “local Champions” in the goal of intermodal connectivity of the trails in the Upper Arkansas River Valley.


Pike National Historic Trail

 Harv Hisgen and Linda Balough provided an update on the proposed legislative designation of the Pike National Historic Trail.

 A feasibility study for elevating the designation of the Pike Pioneer Trail to the status of National Historic Trail is currently underway under the auspices of the National Park Service.

 Harv emphasized that the focus of today’s presentation is to garner support for the legislative designation, letting our senator’s and representatives know that there is local support along the route from the community and Open Space advocates.

 The trail would incorporate approximately 3,700 miles of Zebulon Pike’s expedition route to explore the Louisiana Purchase, which brought him through the heart of the Lake County Open Space around Christmas of 1806 in search of the headwaters of the Arkansas River.

 The pedestrian element of the trail would utilize the Crossroads Trail as a common crossing point over the Arkansas River, UPRR tracks, and under U.S. Highway 24, and act as a trailhead along the route.

 Linda Balough added that the collaboration and community support illustrated by the construction of the Crossroads Trail is significant and critical in demonstrating the availability of access points and services along the trail alignment and the connectivity to local and regional trails.

 In response to Harv’s request for a letter of support for the National Historic Trail designation, Mike requested authorization from the LCOSI partnership to provide said indication of support, which was granted.

 Alan Robinson, representing GARNA and the Stage and Rail Trail, indicated that he would request authorization to prepare a similar letter of support.

 Jeff Fiedler, Lake County BOCC, requested a copy of the original Lake County resolution supporting the trail designation and any subsequent information that could help craft a revised resolution of support. Mike Conlin also requested a template of a letter of support to ensure the specifics of the request and contacts were accurate.


Dispersed Camping

 Patrick Mercer addressed the significant increase in dispersed camping on the National Forest in Lake County.

 It was noted that issues related to sanitation, garbage, and potentials for wildfire ignition in dispersed camping sites proximal to vehicular access have increased significantly since the beginning of the Covid 19 pandemic. During peak periods, nearly any place where a vehicle can get off the road around the Mount Elbert Forebay, below the Turquoise Lake Dam, or in the Halfmoon drainage is seeing high densities of dispersed camping.

 Pat indicated that the current effort relates to vehicle based dispersed camping as opposed to developed camping at established campgrounds or walk-in or hiking accessible dispersed camping.

 In developing a process to address the problem locally under NEPA, the Forest follows a fairly set protocol for design, analysis, decision making, and implementation. The project is currently in the design phase of gathering data and informally scoping local input and increasing awareness.

 The district is currently preparing an ARC GIS Story Map and narrative to provide a spatial visualization of the purpose and need for the project. Pat provided a PowerPoint of the draft of the tool.

 Takeaways from the presentation follow:




·         Fuels and increased fire ignition sources

·         Provide Sustainable use

·         Quantification of use

·         Balanced to public demand and desires

·         Congruity of regulations

·         Irresponsible camping

·         Changing camper demographics – more new inexperienced campers


National Trends:

·         Huge uptick in visitation to USFS lands

·         Decline in space to accommodate use



·         Explosion of camp site creation

·         Increase in camper created access routes/roads

·         Use anticipated to increase over time

·         Destruction/denuding of vegetation

·         Wildlife and migration corridor disruption

·         Decline in water resources

·         Trash cleanup and manpower requirements

·         Human waste and sanitation

·         Un-managed campfires and wildfire risk

·         Limited manpower to educate and enforce


Where to from Here?

 New Sustainable Management options/protocols:


·         Designated dispersed camping

·         New developed campsites

·         Traditional dispersed camping opportunities

·         No camping Areas




·         Establish designated dispersed camp sites

·         Reservation system for designated sites

·         New higher density developed camping areas in high use areas

·         Manage walking in gear from vehicle access points

·         Maintain sustainable dispersed sites

·         Understand traditional local vs. visitor use

·         Prohibit camping in environmentally sensitive areas

·         Limit competition with pay sites (e.g., Turquoise Lake)


Public Input:


·         Mapping of high use areas for public review

·         Request local knowledge/feedback

·         Public access to information – USFS website

·         On-line input solicitation

·         Traditional Process – Purpose & Need, press releases, digital media

·         FS Analysis

·         Flexible framework -respond to Challenges over time



 Kelly Sweeney – Twin Lakes use and issues

Alan Robinson - 4-mile and volunteers – data collection


Environmental Learning Center (ELC)

 Background Discussion:


·         2001: Master Planning of the Hayden Meadows Recreation Area included planning for construction of an Environmental Learning Center at Hayden Meadows

·         2019: Visioning process identified the ELC as an action plan for the next 10-year planning horizon

·         2020 prioritization of action plans identified study and analysis of the ELC as one of the top three priorities

·         2020: University of Colorado, Denver (UCD), School of Architecture and Planning engaged to provide planning guidelines

·         2021: LCOSI design team was established to provide local guidance and direction for siting the project, establishing the architectural theme, establishing and balancing capacities, and guiding design parameters

·         The Design Team includes:

Mary Palumbo – GOL

Adam Beh – CCC

Kyle Clifton CCC

Tom Waters – AHRA

Corrine Servis – AHRA

Diana Kelts – Climax

Dominique Naccarato - GARNA

Anne Schneider – Lake Co. Bldg. Dept

Rachel Woolworth – Leadville Herald

Jeff Fiedler – Lake Co. BOCC


·         The work of the Design Team was then submitted to UCD graduate students, and we met with them to solicit participation in preparing architectural drawings and site plans.

·         Two graduate students committed to work collaboratively with the Design Team to provide building plans and a site plan

·         Their work will be used to help establish the cost to permit and construct the project and determine the feasibility of moving the project into the construction phase.

·         Student collaboration will start with a meeting tomorrow.

·         The site has been flown and a digital Terrain Model has been constructed

·         Aurora has offered to provide the road base for the access road and parking area, starting the process of banking in-kind grant matching funds



 ARWC is submitting a grant application to the NRDA for Comprehensive Watershed Restoration, that would include 6 areas of soil amendments on Hayden Flats to neutralize acidity and restore the organics necessary to support re-vegetation in areas of historic fluvial tailings deposition and irrigated meadow contamination.

 Data collected by CPW and the Arkansas River Restoration Team, covering the 5 fluvial tailing sites, was provided to Jason Willis from TU for inclusion in the grant.

 A sixth site, located within the Hayden Meadows Recreation Area has been proposed for inclusion in the remediation. The site was viewed during the July LCOSI site walk and is located between the reservoir and the UPRR tracks on the west side of the reservoir.

 Soil sampling will be initiated to better understand the impacts of contaminated irrigation water application to the 6th site, and to determine the most effective technique for remediation.


LCCF Board Update

 Mike Conlin provided an annual update to the Board of the Lake County Community Fund on October 5th, as stipulated in the LCCF agreement to act as LCOSI’s fiscal sponsor.


Youth Outreach

 Prior to the onset of Covid, LCOSI was working with the local High School, through Colin McFee’s woodworking and fly-fishing program, to construct bird boxes for cavity dwelling avian species, and repositories for collecting used fishing line.

 Discarded fishing line has been the culprit in a number of raptor deaths in the Upper Arkansas River valley, as the birds became entangled in the lines, either directly causing their death, or further entangling them in trees, nests, or structures leading to their death through starvation and dehydration.

 The intent at the time was to install them in the spring, but Covid limited the ability to meet as a group to set them up.

 We will be working with the students on November 23rd to do the installations.


 Next Meeting

 The focus of the January 13, 2022 meeting will be to review the status of previously prioritized projects to determine the level of completeness, identify new projects, and to begin the process of assigning priorities to completion of ongoing projects and initiation of new action plans.

The invitation to the Zoom Meeting is:


The meeting will start at 9:00 AM and will cover updates of ongoing projects. Please forward any items you would like to see on the agenda at your earliest convenience.

 Hope that you can join us in establishing an Action Plan for the coming year.


 Michael Conlin

LCOSI Facilitator




Attached please find communication from Lake County Commissioner Sarah Mudge requesting participation in the Lake County Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan. Please complete the survey and share it with constituents.




 LCOSI Meeting Reminder

 2022 Meeting Dates (Tentative):

January 13th

March 10th

May 12th

July 14th

September 8th

November 10th

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