ABOUT US

ABOUT US

 

Concerned homeowners of Park County, Colorado have launched Save South Park, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, to oppose the August 17, 2017 decision by the Park County Colorado Commissioners to rezone residential property which now permits hard rock mining at the Fairplay AU Pit north of Fairplay (Resolution 2017-45.)

The images are from 1964 and 2017.

Which represents YOUR vision for the future?

The Save South Park project is raising funds for legal assistance to appeal the County Commissioners' resolution under Colorado Rule of Civil Procedure 106(a)(4), which provides that decisions rendered by government bodies are reviewable by district courts.

Get involved!

Email us to find out how YOU can get involved. We have regular meetings to protect the property rights of all South Park county residents.

We have found a qualified attorney who is willing to handle our appeal. With tax-deductible donations from people like you, we are ready to proceed. Thank you for your support and stay tuned for more details and future activities.

Help spread the word!

ISSUES & CONCERNS

  • Increased mining activities adjacent to residential homes and property.

 

  • Mining is the new reality. 

    • The Discovery Channel "Gold Rush" Reality TV show has moved into our community and leased three placer mines which have previously been small sand and gravel operations. 

    • With the funding of the Discovery Channel and Volvo sponsorship, they have created one continuous strip mine in a valley surrounded by homes.  They have ripped out TONS of trees and caused serious environmental destruction at the entrance to our community.

 

  • Concerns to the community include:

    • Potential damage to the Middle Fork of the South Platte River; ground water contamination; NOISE; hours of operation; property values; and our right to peaceful enjoyment of our homes.

    • REZONING.  Our County Commissioners recently rezoned 28 acres of residentially zoned property to mining.  It expanded the operations of one placer mine from 8 acres to 41.4 acres.  The property is surrounded by homes!

 

  • BLM

    • With the increase of gold prices and exposure such as the TV show, mining is looking at any and every possible piece of land.

    • Due to the Law of 1872 regarding gold mining, the BLM cannot deny a lease permit to mine, as long as they complete an EA study.

    • What was once open space next to someone’s property is quickly turning into potential mining operations. 

 

  • 1041 Regulations

    • It has become apparent that there are certain mining effects that are not regulated by the CO DRMS (Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety).

    • We have been asking our County Commissioners to implement 1041 regulations to control noise, environmental concerns, hours of operation, reclamation, and other community ramifications.   

 

  • SOUTH PARK NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA

    • South Park is a Natural Heritage Area that is being ravaged unmercifully.

 

ACTIONS:

  • SAVE SOUTH PARK organized to file a 106 complaint against the BOCC and High Speed Aggregate since we believe the final rezoning decision violated CO Sunshine Laws and the Open Meetings Act. 

 

  • With growth throughout the state, how does mining co-exist with residential homes and a change in public preference toward recreation, nature and tourism.This happened to us.  Can it happen in your backyard?

GOALS

SHORT TERM GOALS

  • Seek funding for legal action to reverse the recent decision by the Park County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) to rezone a large tract of land in a residential area from residential to mining.  We want to send a clear message that the commissioners' decision to rezone was carried out without appropriate documentation and does not reflect the will of most residents.

  • Work with the BOCC to establish requirements for mining operators that are compatible with current land use and supported by residents through implementing House Bill 1041 regulations, which give local governments additional authority for planning decisions related to areas or activities of statewide concern. This bill allows communities to identify, designate, and regulate those activities and areas through a local permitting process.

  • Work with the BOCC to develop special regulations for reality TV production crews filming in our county.

  • Work with the BOCC to evaluate and mitigate the current risks to our community from mining including toxic releases, noise, dust, burning, roads and other industrial mining issues.

  • Work with the BOCC to improve communications and working relationships between county residents and mining operations to ensure impacts from mining and other industries on nearby residential neighborhoods and ecosystems are adequately considered and mitigated.

LONG TERM GOALS
 

  • Work with the county to develop a public website showing all active and proposed mining operations and claims in the county. This would include location, ownership and operating parameters. 

  • Create community awareness about property ownership where surface rights are severed from mineral rights and assist property owners to reattach mineral right to surface rights.

  • Work with appropriate organizations to encourage landowners to place mine-free conversation easements on their properties. 

  • Work with the county to help further the following goals from the County Master Strategic Plan:

    • Minimize impacts on groundwater supply & quality.

    • Restore streams and riparian corridors to improve habitat, water quality. 

    • Enrich outdoor recreation opportunities.

    • Complete a countywide study and inventory of water quality impaired streams affected by mining.

    • Remediate non-point pollution sources on priority water quality impaired drainages.

  • Work with US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to submit public comment on all proposed mining operations in the county. 

  • Have a Save South Park member sit on county boards.

LETTER

To Whom It May Concern,

We, the Concerned Homeowners of Park County, are not against mining. One cannot be a member of society today without understanding the need for mining to supply the items prevalent in our modern lifestyle. We support responsible mining. We trust and hope that mining is done responsibly everywhere to supply the needed materials for the goods that we purchase and use. We cannot speak to mines we have not seen, but we can to the operations here in our county. The large and expanding operations here in South Park are not consistent with responsible mining. 

People say that mining is part of our heritage and therefore these new operations are simply an extension of our past. There are two errors with that argument. First, people, communities, and towns grow and change. Just because something is part of the past does not mean it belongs in the present or future. Human history is littered with many meaningful examples of shifting and progressing values and priorities. This is further illustrated with our knowledge of this community. In our combined decades here, we have not encountered a single person who moved here to mine and know only a few who are involved in the industry. Mining, while still here and a small piece of the community, is no longer an integral part of South Park.

Secondly, our mining history involved burros and pick axes. Mining with machinery that can flatten an acre in less than a day right next to a home is not part of the heritage of Park County. Technology has progressed the industry to where it is no longer compatible with residential areas of our county. This was not an issue in the past, with remote mountain mining operations and few full-time, long-term residents. 

The County Commissioners recently rezoned a parcel of land from "residential" to "mining". The miners then petitioned for a hard rock mining permit. We have three concerns with this decision. First, the precedent set with the change in zoning is troubling. With over 2000 mining claims in this county, we are all at risk to lose all that we have worked for with our land, home values, to say nothing of the lifestyle and ecology that brought many of us here to live and work in the mountains. Second, the Commissioners went against the recommendations of the County Planning Department, the Planning Commission, and the wishes of the community by granting this rezoning, and made this decision under unclear priorities. Lastly, hard rock mining is different from placer mining. The changed permit and rezone allows the miners to utilize extensive blasting and different chemicals, changing the nature of their operation to more aggressive and invasive methods, which could lead to additional unforeseen complications. 

This escalation in mining in our residential areas increases long and short term risks to the community. Some of the risks include surface water pollution, groundwater pollution, air pollution from dust and machinery, noise pollution, scarred landscape, disrupted wildlife patterns, decreased property values, decreased tourism, and reduced recreational opportunities, all of which make for significant negative changes in the quality of life for the residents of Park County. The miners will collect their gold, enjoy their television glory, and move on, leaving us to pick up the pieces of our community. 

 

If you have read this far, thank you, and please consider a Donation or Get Involved - we welcome your contribution of money and/or time. Let's fight for our county, our way of life and the futures of our children.

~ September 7, 2017

SAVE SOUTH PARK

Alma      Bailey      Como      Fairplay      Grant      Guffey      Hartsel      Jefferson      Lake George      Shawnee      Tarryall

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