Since that time, five years ago, much has been in the works to help improve and maintain the Valley Floor, to be a continuing resource of scenic beauty, environmental study, and recreation. The Town of Telluride’s Open Space Commission has been busy on many Valley Floor fronts, with the help of Lance McDonald, Telluride town staff, and Gary Hickcox of San Miguel Conservation Foundation, and Valley Floor Preservation Partners.
Major completed documents to date for the Valley Floor include an environmental report, a management plan, a conceptual trails plan, and a conceptual river restoration plan.
Also, smaller projects have made a significant impact. The Vezina Shed, the gray wood-sided shed seen from the spur about half way into town, was structurally stabilized with financial assistance from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This shed is one of two remaining structures from the property’s historic ranching period and in the future will become an interpretive site for understanding this history. Also completed was the removal of large man-made debris piles from the property. And to help with trail use, the single track that runs across the Prospect Creek drainage was re-routed last summer to avoid sensitive habitat areas and improve usability.
Some of the on-going projects include local educational programs to study the ecosystems, Telluride Nordic Center’s installation and maintenance of x-country ski trails each winter, weed control (plus annual weed pulls and clean up days), removal of barbed wire (replacing with smooth wire where needed), as well as irrigation implementation and maintenance.
This spring a monitoring plan is being developed to document and understand short and long range changes, and guide our future efforts to be mindful stewards of the ecosystem as well as help educate our community with real science. A signage plan is also in the works to create helpful, yet minimal signage for the property.
While we continue in our role as the human stewards of the property, nature continues to be the hardest, most effective worker out there, slowly but methodically restoring the landscape. We may not always agree with what needs to be done on the Valley Floor, but the most important thing is that we can make these decisions as a community because the Valley Floor is ours, forever.
We encourage you to celebrate Valley Floor Day by either enjoying the trails or simply knowing that we came together as a community to preserve something very special.