Friends, Forest Service Reach Agreement
Twin Lakes Friends Secure Heritage, Tourism
Community activism scored a solid win this week, with common sense taking a victory lap in the final heat as good news was reported from the quaint village of Twin Lakes in southern Lake County.
In partnership with the Pike-San Isabel National Forest, Leadville Ranger District the U.S. Forest Service (USFS ) and the Friends of Twin Lakes (FOTL) have entered into a five-year cost-share agreement to cooperate on restoration, rehabilitation, maintenance, and preservation of Heritage Center properties in Twin Lakes Village and the historic Interlaken complex on the lower lake. The agreement allows FOTL to make contributions to the operation, maintenance and repair of the Forest Service properties, and it provides for on-going coordination for planning, preservation and management of those properties.
These USFS properties are an important and growing tourism and recreation attraction for Twin Lakes and Lake County. Colleen Schweigert who coordinates the Visitor Center Volunteers for FoTL reports welcoming 8,378 visitors to the Visitor Center building during the summer and early fall of 2018, an increase of 18% over the previous year. Total FoTL volunteer hours in 2018 for work at the Heritage Center, area trails adopted by FOTL and in the Visitor Center were 1,102.50.
FOTL, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, and the USFS have agreed to a list of priority projects to be completed by FOTL with USFS technical guidance. The carefully crafted agreement was put together with former Acting Leadville Forest Service Ranger Max Forgensi, Forest Service Archeologist Catherine (Cat) Kamke, FOTL Board members Kurt Schweigert, Judy Leaming, Joan Weber and Kelly Sweeney and FOTL past president John Kester. Approval was delayed by the government shut down. However, once it ended, Ranger Forgensi worked hard to keep the agreement at the forefront for Forest Service approval.
Readers may remember the LT story from last September when this group of civic-minded volunteers and residents of southern Lake County expressed their firm opinions, presenting a series of broken promises and communications to representatives of the federal agency during the FOTL regular meeting.
In response to FOTL thanking Ranger Forgensi for his efforts, he replied, “The Friends of Twin Lakes make a resounding difference for our communities, our visitors and the Leadville Ranger District. Your contribution to the Forest Service mission is commended, thank you and for everything your members and volunteers do.”
The following are some of the key projects covered by the Agreement to be done by FOTL with Forest Service involvement:
- Prepare draft registration for update of 1974 listing of the Twin Lakes Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. This update will include prior sites documented and new properties now eligible in the Village of Twin Lakes.
- FOTL will continue to staff the Red Rooster Visitor Center throughout the summer and maintain the building.
- Conduct hazard materials investigation of Clarion Hotel Building. This will serve as a springboard for a plan to stabilize and rehabilitate the building as either an additional interior interpretive display area or one that is viewed through plexiglass from outside.
- FOTL will maintain the grounds of the Heritage Center. Including replacing and repairing additional structures in the area.
- Develop a Master Development Site Plan for expanded historical and geological interpretation including adding artifacts/machinery and signage regarding the mining history.
- Identify efforts immediately necessary for interim stabilization, maintenance or security of Interlake Resort buildings.
- Develop a stabilization and management plan for the resort complex.
If you are interested in volunteering to assist on these projects, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to donate funds to assist in the completion of these projects, please put Heritage Park/Interlaken in the memo line of a check made out to Friends of Twin Lakes and mail it to Friends of Twin Lakes, 231 Lang St., Twin Lakes, CO 81251 (FOTL will provide you with a donation receipt to be used for tax purposes).
CDOT Responsible for (Partial) Highway Clean-Up
In other Twin Lakes news, Leadville Today (LT) does have a follow-up regarding the March 9 avalanche that happened near Monitor Rock on Highway 82.
Following up on concerns that the leftover debris field from the slide could further complicate things in the area, LT reached out to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to determine what their obligation was beyond clearing the snow (and debris) from the initial incident off of the highway.
Tracy Trulove, the Communications Manager for CDOT’s Region 3 which includes Lake County provided the following answer:
“CDOT’s right of way is from centerline of the highway 50 feet. Our responsibility will be to clear the debris within our ROW (so from the shoulder of the highway that’s about 35 feet of ROW to clear). Any other debris would be the responsibility of the Forest Service.”
Mountain temperatures are warming and alpine snows are melting, slowly carrying the debris downhill towards the caverness western portal of Lake Creek. And Independence Pass is only six weeks away from its traditional opening on Memorial Day weekend. During LT’s latest visit to the area on April 12, there were also some initial hints of news that CDOT is considering pushing back the opening of Independence Pass to June, although nothing has been officially released. Stay tuned!
Avalanche Aftermath Video on April 12, 2019 – One Month Later