Committed to Non-Toxic
May 20, 2009 | 1264 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The Town of Ridgway is proud of our parks and of the fact that we are one of most progressive towns on the Western Slope with regard to the safe use of non-toxic herbicides. We love that so many people from all parts of Colorado, from other parts of the U.S., indeed from around the world, come and enjoy Ridgway, and particularly our downtown Hartwell Park. We have a number of great events scheduled for this summer, and again welcome everyone to come and enjoy what Ridgway has to offer.

Ridgway adopted a policy in 2003, by Resolution 03-06, to ban any use of toxic herbicides or pesticides on Town property, and we have adhered to that policy zealously. Our staff has completely embraced the importance and the benefits of the Town's policy. For weed control, the Town uses an EPA-registered product known as Green Guardian. Similarly, the fertilizers that we use are organic, and the biological larvacide that we apply for mosquito control is likewise non-toxic.

We know that some private property owners in Ridgway, both residential and commercial, continue to use toxic herbicides, legally, on their own property. We pledge to work with these landowners to help educate them on the safe and effective alternatives that the Town uses. That said, the Town has never strayed from its policy, and has no knowledge of any application of toxic substances, that we have been able to verify, within its multiple parks and open spaces. If we were aware of any such activity, it goes without saying that we would be highly concerned, and would take all necessary actions.

The Town of Ridgway has a solid record of being a good steward of our natural resources, and we are proud of our parks and open spaces, and of the chemical-free environment that they provide for all users.

We hope to see you often this summer in Ridgway.

Pat Willits, Mayor Mining Claim Owner Speaks Out


As owners of patented mining claims in the Alpine Zone of the Ouray County Zoning Regulations, we are very concerned about the planned rezoning of all patented claims in the Alpine Zone. The board of commissioners placed a six-month moratorium on any building on patented mining claims per resolution 2009-003. The county’s concerns were primarily delivery of county services and visual impact.

The Alpine Zone was created in the 1970s and encompassed all lands that were above an elevation level of 7,800 feet. The regulations applied to any activity regardless of the underlying classification of the land; these have worked well for over 30 years. By targeting the patented claims they are creating a discriminatory set of regulations that apply only to owners of patented mining claims in this zone.

Many of our citizens have been brainwashed that the patented mining claims were by the 1872 law obtained for $2.50 per acre. Facts are that the claim was staked out in a rectangle 300 feet by 1,500 feet, and 4X4 posts four feet above the ground were installed on the four corners and the point of discovery. The claim could be up to 10.33 acres in size.

An unpatented claim was filed on at the courthouse in the county clerk’s office. The claim holder then had to complete at least $500 of work on the claim before they could petition the U.S. Mineral Surveyor to survey and file a mineral survey plat showing the metes and bounds description of the claim and the acreage and the verification that the $500 work commitment had been done. The claimant could then apply to the U.S. Land office for patent.

All private lands in the U.S. were acquired from the government through various legislative acts. The Homestead Act was the one responsible for the majority of agricultural land, town sites, railroad land, and timber lands to name a few. We invite you to look up these acts and you will see that the requirements for patent on mining claims was far more per acre than the other ways to obtain governmental lands.

Our reasons for showcasing the patented mining claims was to inform the public that these were obtained just as legally as all other private land in the county, there are many more rural homes built on land that was patented for agricultural uses than are located on patented mining claims in Ouray County. There is a U.S. Government marker that lists a 7,811-foot elevation that is located on the north side of the Ouray County Courthouse front steps that indicates that over half of the city is in the Alpine Zone.

If it is such a problem for Ouray County to provide services to taxpaying owners of patented mining claims in the Alpine Zone, then it stands to reason that any private land above 7,800-foot elevation should be included in any restrictions that are placed in the land use code.

Mining claims in Ouray County are blanket assessed at $1,000 per acre actual value regardless of its location, access or terrain limited uses and they can vary for up to 14,000 feet in elevation.

These are all paying very substantial taxes at 29 percent assessed value to support all taxing districts in the county. Our uses by right under the code on our property should allow us to be treated the same as any other tax paying citizen in the Alpine Zone.

The County spends a lot of taxpayer funds each year on traffic accidents on state and federal highways, back country rescues and other matters that require the services of the sheriff’s officers, Emergency Medical Services and in some cases, the very expensive use of helicopters.

If Ouray County can supply these services to the motoring public and visitors without reimbursement in most cases, we believe the taxpaying owners of patented mining claims should have the same services.

Dave Calhoon Weehawken Gives Thanks


On behalf of Weehawken Creative Arts staff and board, I would like to thank the local restaurant and catering community as well as the great people of our community for supporting Weehawken’s “Outlaws’ Night Out” at the Outlaw Restaurant on May 4.

The event was totally put together and coordinated by the amazing people at The Outlaw: Chris Bonatti, Paul and Alison Choate and Nancy Colaw, all in an effort to help Weehawken raise money to support our summer children’s arts programs and lower the cost of the programs for all who participate. Mission accomplished! 

We were so very pleased to know that so many businesses and individuals came together in the spirit of teamwork to make it all happen. With that, I would like to thank our food donors for their generosity and talent. Thanks to: The Outlaw Restaurant, Trisha’s Catering, The True Grit Café, The Buen Tiempo, The Coachlight Restaurant, Mouse’s Chocolates, Western Slope Accounting, The Artisan Bakery, the Weehawken Board, and Sara Sharpe Catering. Each of these businesses and individuals contributed to the effort and their contributions made it possible to raise money for the cause.

In addition to the restaurants and businesses who donated food and talent to the event, we were so pleased that so many great individuals and families came out to support the cause by participating as a patron at the event! It was a lively and fun crowd of people who not only enjoyed the delicious food, but clearly also enjoyed each other’s company and the spirit of fundraising behind the event. We are so grateful that we have such an amazing and supportive community that understands and stands behind our causes and efforts.

The evening raised almost $1,400 for Weehawken’s Children’s Summer Arts Programs. These programs include weekly arts classes in Ridgway all summer long on Tuesdays, several dance camps, “Stars and Stripes” theatre and dance camp, a professional children’s theatre experience (Missoula Children’s Theatre), Friday gardening classes in July, kids knitting, theatre workshops and much more!   

The Outlaws’ Night Out certainly warmed our hearts and reiterated what makes living here so great: there’s no place on earth with a greater sense of community, a larger spirit of participation or a better understanding of the value of investing in our children and the arts!

Once again, thank you for an unforgettable fundraising experience. We can’t wait to see everyone this summer!


Ashley King, Executive Director, Weehawken Creative Arts
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