Top of the pines camp is located on Miller Mesa just outside of Ridgway. It was formerly the Chipeta Girl Scout camp. When the land was no longer being used as a camp, the 175-acre parcel faced potential public access closure. In an effort to ensure the property remained undeveloped, a group of local residents formed the nonprofit organization, Top of the Pines. Over the last 10 years, the organization coordinated a cooperative agreement between the Bureau of Land Management, the Girl Scouts and Ouray County, allowing the property to remain open for community use to groups for camping and educational retreats. Currently, use of the land is limited to rustic group camping and winter Nordic skiing, as the facilities have fallen into disrepair after years of inactivity.
Top of the Pines goal is to return the land to a working group camp and retreat center, providing a much-needed public educational and rustic camping facility. Youth and adult groups alike will have a serene and peaceful natural surrounding for their rustic camping, retreat and gathering needs, including summer youth camps, weddings and corporate and artistic retreats.
In order to reach this fully-operational level, Top of the Pines needs to restore the existing dilapidated structures, reestablish water supplies, as well as camping and toilet facilities. The organization's goal is to make the facility an environmentally friendly, self-supporting rustic site with composting toilets and solar powered facilities. This fall and winter, the group will be working to secure grant funds for the restoration, currently slated for spring.
The Savor the San Juans fundraiser is the beginning of the fund raising campaign. Donations of goods and services are welcome for the silent auction, as are volunteers. Cash donations are appreciated as well, and are 100 percent tax deductible. For more information, visit www.topofthepines.org or call 626-4090.