The Town of Ophir is asking for your support in the preservation of 1,200 acres of privately held mining claims in the Ophir Valley. The project, spearheaded by the Trust for Public Lands and the Pauls Family, is asking the U.S. Congress in FY 2009 to appropriate $2.5 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund toward this project.
These mining claims, which are on the hillsides surrounding the Town of Ophir, are currently owned by the Pauls family, and are under an option for purchase with the Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit land conservation organization. If the full amount is appropriated, the third phase would see the purchase of a substantial portion of the 1,200 acres and transfer ownership from private to public hands.
To date the project has been highly successful. In FY 2007 it was allocated $835,000 and in FY 2008, $970,000. On a recent visit this spring to Washington, D.C., Town of Ophir staff Eric Heil met with the Trust for Public Land’s federal affairs staff and staff for Colorado Senators Ken Salazar's and Wayne Allard and Congressman John Salazar to ask for their support in this FY 2009 budget request.
The Town of Ophir is asking for your show of support during the budget hearing process for the request of $2.5 million in federal funding to support the Trust for Public Land’s Phase III of the Ophir Valley Project.
We are enthusiastic about the Ophir Valley Project and need your letters of support now! Please send your letters to Representative John Salazar and Senators Ken Salazar and Wayne Allard. If you can, please copy Ophir at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In your letters of support, be sure to include some or all of the following points or simply state why open space in Ophir is important to you!
* Preservation of the Pauls claims is the culmination of a 15-year open space preservation effort by the Town of Ophir. By working cooperatively with landowners and our local land trust, the San Miguel Conservation Foundation and with broad regional support of both local government and the Forest Service, Ophir has purchased nearly all of the patented mining claims surrounding the townsite.
* This project has a significant regional benefit as part of the GOCO Legacy Grant project for the San Juan Skyway, one of only 21 designated national scenic byways. All funds appropriated for the Ophir project will be used as a match for a $5 million San Juan Skyway grant from GOCO, and over $10 million in other partnerships.
* The Ophir Project is a continuation of the Red Mountain Project, in which TPL facilitated the preservation of over 9,000 acres of high country mining claims in the geographic triangle formed by the towns of Ouray, Silverton and Telluride. The Red Mountain project, which was completed in 2006, has been strongly supported by Colorado’s Senator Wayne Allard since its inception in 2000.
* With land values steadily increasing, it will save money in the long run to purchase more property earlier rather than waiting for future funding cycles. Moreover, appropriation of the full request of $2.5 million will reassure the landowner of the viability of the project.
* Elimination of private inholdings within the National Forest improves efficiency and cost effectiveness of federal management, insures continued public access to public lands, ensures the natural scenic beauty that is important to the regional economy for future generations, and preserves vital habitat for rare and endangered species, including lynx and the Uncompahgre fritillary butterfly.
* Please include any personal or organizational experience of why the Ophir Valley is important to you or your organization.
Please address your letters of support to the following Members of Congress:
The Honorable Wayne Allard
Washington, D.C. 20510
To send a letter by email, go to the following website, click on contact and copy and paste your letter: http://allard.senate.gov.
The Honorable Ken Salazar
Washington, D.C. 20510
To send a letter by email go to: http://salazar.senate.gov.
The Honorable John Salazar
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20510
To send a letter by email, go to: www.house.gov/salazar.
Many thanks for all your support,
– Elizabeth Covington, Ophir Open Space Staff, 970/728.6822, email@example.com
Who Are You?
Who are you who blithely race up and down steep, curved, dirt roads without thought for what life may be around the next corner?
Who are you that blithely take that life with your powerful engine and speed on, leaving the testament of your inconsideration alongside the road?
Who are you that think you are the only thing that matters or exists on these simple, country roads?
You, are all about, YOU. All else that exists in the environment is of no consequence.
For almost 20 years I have watched you as you endanger others, be they human or animal. I’ve been forced into a ditch several times myself, because of you. Lucky me, it was only a ditch.
For almost 20 years I have watched you speed down the road in front of our house, knowing someday, there would be a terrible tragedy, merely because you didn’t care enough to think of others. Never mind the wildlife, the pets, the horses, the children… only you and your urgent need to go fast, is all that is important.
My husband and I “took care of” the victim of your inconsideration this evening… a small fawn, still with spots, twin of another we know to live in these woods. We hope not to do such a task again.
You don’t care enough to read this so why do I bother? Because, quite possibly, others will THINK about the way they drive on these small country roads and whom they may hurt or kill. YOU, the killer of the fawn, are not the only one who drives too fast… there are many, many like you. THINK, RESPECT and behave responsibly…. That’s what we ask. YOU, all of you on the mesa and elsewhere, are NOT alone in this world…. or on this road.
This morning, coming down our road, I actually pulled over to let two vehicles pass at speeds out of reason for the road. I won’t pull over again.
– Deb Stevens, Hastings Mesa