The Telluride Town Council on Tuesday was told that several issues have come up in terms the uses for the gateway to Telluride, obtained through eminent domain but awaiting one more round of legal battles before the work to create a conservation easement can be completed, during this period of limbo.
“We are now in lawful possession of the Valley Floor,” said Telluride Town Attorney Kevin Geiger.
The only thing left, he said, is obtaining the actual title or deed to the land, which the town would receive only after the Colorado Supreme Court rules in its favor when the San Miguel Valley Corporation’s appeal of the condemnation is heard sometime this fall.
But in the meantime, Town Manager Frank Bell said, “What we have now is a court order for us to manage the Valley Floor.”
San Miguel County District Court Judge Charles Greenacre granted the Town of Telluride’s motion for limited access to the property on Tuesday, May 22, but he stipulated how the property must be managed.
The uses that will be permitted, according to the court order, include:
-“Pedestrian access for walking and biking
-“Bicycle access on established trails and pathways
-“Cross-country skiing accompanied by motorized grooming of the trails this winter
-“Hang and paragliding above the property and landing on the subject property
-“Watercraft access (via kayak, canoes, tubes and rafts) and passage of the same along the entire portion of the San Miguel River as it extends through the property
-“Fishing access along the entire portion of the San Miguel River as it extends through the property.”
The restrictions include no motorized access other than for the creation of cross-country ski trails; no large congregations or festival events, no parking, no camping and no dogs allowed.
In addition, Valley Floor trekkers must avoid “environmentally sensitive areas like the wetlands, the Telski mitigation site, or the mine tailing areas,” according to the court order.
Also as part of the court order, the town will be responsible for taking off the “no trespass” signs. Instead, the town is authorized to post signs indicating the allowable uses for the property.
The problem is, Bell said, even with the restrictions in place, in theory, “The Valley Floor is in danger of being loved to death.”
One example was given to council by resident woods-watcher Phil Miller, a U.S. Forest Service retiree, who said he observed new damage due to mountain bikes rolling over wetland areas. Also, there is much confusion over the rules related to dogs, given that many of the existing trails along the southern edges of the Valley Floor leading to the Boomerang Trail to Mountain Village are actually on Forest Service land.
Bell said town staff will come up with a management plan during for the next six to eight months. It will be based, Bell said, on management goals already in place for the Bear Creek Preserve.
Mayor Pro Tem Roberta Peterson said the town’s Open Space Commission will be meeting Monday, 4 p.m., at Rebekah Hall, to discuss the management plan, as well.
“We get phone calls daily of things that need to be on this list,” she said.