Keep OURay Alpine Wild passed 3-0!!!

Greetings Keep OURay Alpine Wild Supporters,

It is with great pleasure to announce that late yesterday afternoon the BOCC voted 3 – 0 to enact the High Alpine Development Regulations. These regulations will only allow one dwelling structure to be built on patented mining claims or patented mill sites totaling 35 acres or more at or above 9,480 feet. And the maximum square footage for a dwelling structure is 700 square feet, which may be increased to a maximum of 2,500 square feet when certain criteria are met. The new regulations also include a prohibition on building non-mining structures in the tundra ecosystem.

Many Ouray citizens, over many months, played a significant role in helping get these regulations passed. A big thank you to all who helped out with this effort. Thank you to the 600+ who supported this campaign by signing the Citizen’s Letter and the Declaration of Support. Thank you to those who attended the Planning Commission and BOCC alpine meetings over the past 6 months. Thanks to the “Keep OURay Alpine Wild” leadership team for the countless hours they spent on this campaign. An especially BIG thanks to all who testified at the BOCC hearing in Ouray. It was your testimony that assured the 35 acre minimum, 700 maximum square footage and the prohibition on non-mining structures in the tundra ecosystem.

You’re invited to a celebration of the protection of Ouray County’s high alpine zone. Hope to see you there.

Celebration of the Protection of Ouray’s High Alpine Zone

WHEN: Thursday, October 27
TIME: 6:30
WHERE: Ridgway Town Hall

Thank you again for all your efforts to help pass these High Alpine Development Regulations.


Roze Evans for Keep OURay Alpine Wild

Avalanche Zen ~ Tricycle



The Battleship path running near Silverton, Colorado.

Photo credit:  Jonathan Thompson

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Some folks sit on a cushion and count their breaths as though it were a matter of life and death. Others, like 68-year-old Jerry Roberts, a retired avalanche forecaster for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, meditate wholeheartedly on the intricacies of snow.

I do not use that word “meditate” lightly. As a forecaster, Roberts’s job was to rigorously and relentlessly observe the snowpack. That involved studying everything from weather systems swirling in the Pacific to the structure of ice crystals out the back door. His special awareness was then tapped by the Colorado Department of Transportation to help determine when to shut down the mountain roads around Telluride and Durango. Winter in the San Juan Mountains begins in October and ends in June, and the range often receives 300 inches of snow in a single season. It is a notoriously dangerous place.

Currently, Roberts does part-time consulting work with Mountain Weather Masters, an outfit he cofounded. The group’s logo—a sword-wielding samurai backed by a white cloud—reflects his longtime interest in Japanese culture. Roberts’s house in Ridgway, Colorado, is cluttered equally with avalanche maps and anthologies of haiku by Issa, Buson, and Basho. I met him there on a bright winter morning, and we sat by the fireplace, drank coffee, and talked. He showed me homemade chapbooks of his own free-verse haiku, many of which braid the languages of snow science, skiing, and mountain geography with the language of Zen.

Enlightenment? Roberts wouldn’t claim to know much about such an exalted state of being. Self-deprecating and quick to laugh, he jokingly referred to our conversation as “bullshitting.” Nevertheless, I could tell from his warmth and sincerity that talking about snow and poetry was, for him, an immensely valuable pastime. After my second cup of coffee, when I rose to leave, instead of offering a handshake, he smiled and told me, “Keep on enjoying life.”

–Leath Tonino


Keep OURay Alpine Wild – Final BOCC Hearing

Dear Keep OURay Alpine Wild Supporter,

Your attendance is important! Tomorrow, Monday, October 17 at 1:30 the Ouray Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) will make their final decision for building regulations on patented mining claims in the high alpine zone. The BOCC hearing will be held in the 4H Center in Ridgway. No public comments will be heard.

We’re hopeful that the high alpine zone will finally be protected. The draft building code includes the 35 acre parcel size the Ouray community asked be the minimum. A strong show of support at this BOCC meeting is important to show the commissioners that the community supports their efforts.

You can read the proposed building regulations here: You’ll see two versions at the bottom of the list for the Section 24 revision: one that includes the 35 acre minimum and one that does not. It is our understanding that they will be voting on the version that includes the 35 acre minimum. And if we pack the room we can make sure that the 35 acre version is the one that they adopt.


WHEN: October 17, 1:30PM
WHERE: 4H Center, Ridgway, CO

Hope to see you at the BOCC meeting tomorrow.


Roze Evans for Keep OURay Alpine Wild

Joe Ramey, National Weather Service Forecaster, Joins Mountain Weather Masters



Joe Ramey, NWS meteorologist and climatologist, has joined the staff of Mountain Weather Masters (along with Jerry Roberts, Mike Friedman, Denny Hogan & Peter Lev) upon his retirement from the NWS October 1st, bringing more street cred to the program. MWM surely looks forward to Joe signing his bonus contract and joining the bullpen staff.

Rōbert was quoted: “Even if there isn’t work and we’re all in the unemployment line, we’ll have a fine Christmas office party at Desperado Estates.”


Keep OURay Alpine Wild

Dear Keep OURay Alpine Wild Supporter,

Reminder: Today, Thursday, September 22 at 5:00pm in the 4-H Center, the BOCC will make the final decision on high density residential building in the fragile alpine zone. We will, hopefully, see the outcome of all of our hard work. We are cautiously optimistic that the BOCC will vote to protect the high alpine zone and tundra ecosystem from high density residential building.

It is very important that everyone attend this deliberative phase of the hearing where the final decision will be made. Public testimony is closed but our presence will remind the County Commissioners of the passion that our community has for this issue.

Hope to see you tonight.

Roze Evans for Keep OURay Alpine WildK

Keep OURay Alpine Wild


Last week at the BOCC hearing on the high alpine building regulations, there were 100 people in attendance. Of the 46 people who spoke, 42 spoke in favor of either a 35 acre minimum parcel size(as per current zoning in the area) or advocated no building at all. Only 4 people were opposed to the proposed regulations. Thank you to everyone who testified! This was an inspiring display of democracy but, unfortunately, our work is not done.

The deliberative phase of the hearing, where decisions are actually made, has been continued until September 22, 5:00pm at the 4H Center.

The County Attorney’s legal opinion is that the regulations that we want are justifiable. However, the inevitable threat of legal action may temper the BOCCs willingness to honor the overwhelmingly expressed wishes of the community. Public testimony is closed, but, a huge show of support may help empower the BOCC to stand strong, knowing that the community has their back.

Please plan to attend the continued deliberation phase of the hearing on Thursday, September 22 at 5:00 at the 4H Center.