Eight applications for South Park National Heritage Area funds were approved by the county commissioners May 29.

Five applications were withdrawn because events were cancelled due to COVID-19 impacts.

The National Park Service provides technical support and limited funding for projects that protect and promote the natural and cultural heritage of South Park National Heritage Area and projects that generate sustainable economies.

Projects must help implement the SPNHA’s management plan goals.

The management plan is on SPNHA’s website, www.southparkheritage.org.

County staff salaries are also partially paid by SPNHA’s annual funding.

This year’s grants total $78,311 of SPNHA funding with matching cash and in-kind of $108,423.

Two projects also met criteria to receive funding from the Park County Land and Water Trust Fund.

In the past, the two fund boards have collaborated on several projects, including four projects receiving SPNHA funding this year.

Wildlands Resource Volunteers’ restoration on Beaver Creek and Sheep Creek also received funding from LWTF. Finishing the Beaver Creek boardwalk will complete this three-year project.

Both creeks and nearby areas needed restoration and erosion control from heavy recreational use, including illegal off-road vehicle use.

The project funding this year will complete an Americans with Disabilities Act accessible 620 feet boardwalk and 280 feet access ramp through wetlands on Beaver Creek, remove illegal trails and improve an established legal trail.

The boardwalk will provide a safe way to cross Beaver Creek and its wetlands, reduce erosion and increase water quality for Fairplay’s water supply.

The work is one of the final links in a trail system from Breckenridge to Fairplay.

Total 2020 project costs are $135,552 with $22,341 from SPNHA and $59,536 from LWTF.

The remaining funding and in-kind are being provided by WRV, Mosquito Range Heritage Initiative, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and National Forest Foundation.

The second project to also receive LWTF funding is Mosquito Range Heritage Initiative’s project to monitor and research rare alpine plant communities, remove noxious weeds in the area, trail  restoration and illegal trail removal.

This year’s MRHI’s work total costs are $40,107 with SPNHA providing $20,700.

LWTF provided $8,000 towards post and cable to block ORV use in specific areas of Beaver Creek and Four Mile Creek watersheds. The goal is to keep motorized vehicles out of specific areas.  Social, non-legal trails were created by users, these truly have caused significant damage with erosion, sediment flows and deep gullies.

Patagonia provided $2,500. The remaining $3,500 has been requested from The Summit Foundation and Wells Fargo.

In-kind volunteer labor for MRHI’s project is valued at $7,400.

Two SPNHA projects received LWTF funds for related projects. Mountain Area Land Trust trail-building project and North London Mill, Inc. workshops.

MALT’s Sacramento Creek Ranch trail building project will add almost a mile to existing interpretive nature trails on the property.

The ranch will be open to the public. MALT will continue educational access for school groups and access to the trails.

MALT purchased the property, known as Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center, last year and renamed it.

The 71-acre ranch is located near County Road 14 on Busch Run, northwest of Fairplay. Sacramento Creek runs through the property.

The trail building costs are $36,800. SPNHA contributed $11,000 with $5,500 matching cash provided by The Summit Foundation and MALT. Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado is providing an in-kind match of $17,800 in construction labor.

Earlier this year, the LWTF approved partial funding of a conservation easement on the Sacramento Creek Ranch.

The second project with previous LWTF collaboration is on the London Mill property near CR 12 and Mosquito Pass.

North London Mill, Inc. is restoring the historic property to use for educating the public on its significance to the mining industry.

LWTF approved funding earlier this year to construct a bridge over Mosquito Creek on the property.

SPNHA is funding four mining history and archeology workshops on London Mill property this summer.  SPNHA’s cost is $8,871.

This is the third year SPNHA has funded workshops at the London Mill.

Dr. Kate McCoy of NoLo, Inc. is donating 20 hours valued at $1,700 to conduct and organize the workshop days.

Artifacts that were discovered last year will be interpreted during the workshops.

Cultural resource projects

Park County Creative Alliance is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization representing the creative industries and artists in Park County.

This year’s SPNHA request includes three creative art activities that were put on hold due to the coronavirus. The request is for $3,000 with $14,000 matching funds and in-kind.

Last year South Park National Heritage Area funded an Art Adventuring Map. It locates galleries, studios and restaurants that support and promote art in Park County.

It also lists inspiration points, including various overlooks and heritage sites.

Ann Lukacs, part founder and board member of PCCA, told The Flume the activities will be rescheduled for later this summer.

The map’s introduction reception and distribution to Park County businesses and places in  neighboring counties was scheduled for May 15.

Lukacs said she was hoping distancing restrictions will be lifted by mid-July so a reception could be scheduled. She said a slow release now includes putting copies in open businesses.

Family Explorer Day at Wilkerson Pass Visitor’s Center will focus on Zebulon Pike’s exploration of southern Park County during 1806-07. Creative activities will include life during the mountain man era.

It will be scheduled either around Labor Day or during the PCCA’s celebration of fall colors.

The last event, Kids’ Cowboy Day at Buffalo Peaks Ranch and the Rocky Mountain Land Library, will be adapted to coronavirus safety restrictions. It may be postponed as well.

Both events will utilize musicians, artists, storytellers and photographers to tell the story of ranching and the Old West and encourage artistic expression by the children attending.

More information can be found at the Alliance’s website www.parkcreates.org.

Lake George community Association requested $1,600 to print and publish a book on Lake George’s cemetery.

Five years of research on individuals buried in the cemetery was not counted as in-kind.

A $1,729 in-kind includes completing the last entries, editing and proof-reading, finding a publisher and receiving a DUNN number.

The book will be a glossy 8.5” by 11” hard back with a digital color and laminated cover. The 115-page book devotes one page to each person and grave in the cemetery.

Two outdoor education projects received SPHNA funding, one by MRHI and one by Coalition for the Upper South Platte.

MRHI’s environmental education program has three components. The first component focuses on age appropriate,  outdoor, hands-on environmental education. Activities and curriculum are planned for three age groups.

The second component is engaging schools, families, adults and students in citizen science and data collection for scientific research.

The third focuses on adult natural, cultural and recreation education through hands-on programs that build engagement.

SPNHA contributed $7,800 to activities under each goal. Matching cash of $4,200 was noted, but not who provided the cash. In-kind volunteers contribute $5,086.

CUSPs requested $3,000 to continue the High Creek Fen environmental education and water quality program.

CUSP’s matching funds of 225 and in-kind work totaling $3,500 will complete funding.

The work is a week-long program developed for seventh graders that ends with a field trip and annual water monitoring at the fen.

CUSP’s second project will complete a trail plan and obtain permits for the Corral Cove Backcountry Trail at Eleven Mile State Park.  Currently a wetland is being impacted by visitors walking everywhere without a trail in order to stay dry.

Health order and variance

The commissioners approved sending the state a variance request to opening certain businesses and activities.

Commissioner Ray Douglas emphasized several times that the documents were a request and all residents needed to follow the state health order until the variance is approved by the state.

The request asks that the county be allowed three variances from the state health order: 1) “to implement its own reopening plan for short term vacation-style rentals.” 2) “expand necessary activities to include guided and non-guided fishing, hunting, boating, camping, horse-back riding, zip-lining and rope course work.” 3) “expand critical services to include houses of worship and community centers with a maximum of 10 persons per room.”

The variance request states that wearing face coverings, no more than 50 percent occupancy in restaurants and social distancing of at least six feet are still part of the county’s variance plan.

Commissioner Mike Brazell stated he was concerned that a percentage of people would ignore the orders and do as they please.  That would mean the county would have to rescind any variance the state allowed.

County Attorney Erin Smith said if the county didn’t comply with the state order or a county variance, if approved, the state would withhold emergency services funding.

The request also clearly outlines extraordinary sanitation procedures, signs communicating requirements for distancing and that masks are required indoors and anywhere that there cannot be six feet between people or groups.

Groups can’t contain more than eight persons. All groups must maintain six feet between groups.

It states the county has had only 23 residents that were confirmed COVID-19 cases and one-half of the cases were work related by residents working in other counties.

Commissioner Elsner said none of the cases were from community spread, but from family members contracting it from the first person who contracted it.

Of the 23 confirmed cases, four were hospitalized. As of May 28, 20 people had recovered and no deaths had occurred.

The request also states what circumstances would lead to the variances being rescinded, and the state orders would again be the law in the county.

Circumstances include six new cases in one week, an outbreak originating at any public accommodation business, more than 20 active cases or the nearest hospitals not having capacity to care for Park County residents.

A resolution amending the county health order was approved to allow short term rentals if the variance is approved.

The variance request and resolution are posted on the county website at www.parkco.us.

Vouchers

Vouchers were approved for $118,778 with almost $109,000 for a debt payment.

ACH payments totaled  $227,887 with a health insurance payment of almost $184,000.

For the first time, revenue was also listed on the payment approval register. Total received was $3,307,143.

The largest three revenue recipients were the general fund of $2,401,256. Public works fund received $484,558 and human services received $196,653.

The register doesn’t say, but The Flume assumes the ACH and revenue are for the month of May.

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