Preserving the Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Alpine Triangle Region
This project aims to preserve the natural and cultural heritage of the Alpine Triangle region contained within the Lake Fork of the Gunnison watershed. This region is one of Colorado's most important multi-use, public land destinations and is an important target for protection due to its economic, historic, environmental, and biological significance. The region contains numerous private mining claims dispersed throughout, many of which have draining adits and tailings piles that contribute significant quantities of heavy metals to local streams. In addition, increasing home building on the properties is threatening the viewscape and biological habitat. The main activities of the project are 1) to identify and prioritize the mine properties based on the degree of environmental contamination, historical significance, conservation value, and impact to the view shed; 2) select sites for follow-up environmental assessment and remediation design; 3) identify conservation tools to transfer ownership or development rights of these sites to the public domain; and 4) facilitate the formation of a local stakeholder group to determine proper conservation designations on surrounding public BLM land. The primary outcomes of these activities will lead to effective strategies to clean up abandoned mines in the region, restore significant historic sites, protect important habitat and viewscape, and leverage funding for follow-up assessment, design, and conservation actions.