A press release sent via email to The Watch by GHDC principal owner Ron Curry last week, offered a photo of a “level-headed” guard who had been posted on their claims last week. The release stated that more guards will be on hand to keep people off of their property throughout the summer.
“We posted three guards on the GHDC property on Wednesday the 13th,” Curry stated in his email. “There was still enough snow in the avalanche paths that very few hikers came up that far. The day passed without incident as no one ventured past the sign. Our guards, all level-headed, will be back intermittently with their cameras and other equipment.”
Curry didn’t return a phone call later in the week, and GHDC partner Tom Chapman wouldn’t discuss the details – whether the guards are armed with firearms, or if they are even trained security personnel hired from a security organization, as these details, Chapman said, are on a need-to-know basis.
“As in any security situation, the security company won’t tell you what they have,” Chapman said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “The photo pretty much speaks for itself. I can’t answer any questions on the security. The fact that you have got to close trails and have guards on trails is because nobody follows the rules in Telluride.
In other words, there is no such thing as private property in Telluride.” Chapman went on to say that the guards will be in place to keep anyone and everyone “including the Forest Service” from crossing onto our property on trails, including the popular Wasatch Trail. In previous interviews, Chapman has said permission would likely be granted to those who asked permission to cross onto GHDC’s private land. That has changed.
“That was in the past,” Chapman said. “That was before we found out we were going to be denied access to our property.”
Chapman’s only access to the company’s mining claims in the Upper Bear Creek Basin, besides hiking, is the Gold Hill Road, which begins in the Town of Telluride and switchbacks southward until it intersects with the ski area’s See Forever Run. It continues south to the Gold Hill Ridge and enters into the Bear Creek Basin where it ends on GHDC’s Little Bessie Lode.
The GHDC purchased three mining claims in March of 2010, including the Little Bessie Lode, and now claims to have the right to “cross, use, maintain, repair, and improve the Gold Hill Road” where it crosses Telski property. The complaint states that both Telski and GHDC have rights to the use of Gold Hill Road but Telski’s rights are “junior and inferior” to the rights of GHDC’s rights. Chapman said the mining claims’ previous owner is the one who built the Gold Hill Road in the 1950s.
“We have already spent probably $50,000 trying to defend our right on that,” he said, adding that the complaint is currently in mediation with Telski. If mediation doesn’t work by the end of July, Chapman said, GHDC will continue on with its complaint into the next phase of the legal process.
“We want to be able to use our road to access our property,” Chapman said. “The question is why would a landowner have to hike up there and not be able drive a pickup truck up there? That is what we are trying to sort out. We are perfectly willing to trade easements on the trails. We just want to be able to use our road.”