GHTM Newsletter

Posted on: November 14th, 2017


Minutes of the October 9, 2017 Town Meeting

 Next Town Meeting is Monday, December 11, 7:30 p.m. at the Community Center

 The meeting was preceded by a social gathering at 7:00 with Erik Wardle, Research Associate, CSU Water Quality Program. (

The meeting was called to order by Chair Tony Vrba. Twelve people attended: Bear Carlson, John Sand, Mark and Dina Elder, Chrissy and Member at Large Dan Maedke, Bobby and Chair Tony Vrba, Treasurer Martha Knapp, Secretary Gretchen Diefenderfer, Vice Chair Jojo Morrison, and Erik Wardle of CSU.

Erik was moved to the beginning of the agenda and gave us a great deal of information on water wells and septic systems. He advises people to test their water yearly, and to get a full suite if it’s been awhile, including heavy metals. If you test frequently, you can test for only those contaminants that have shown up unless something has changed. Boulder County Health Department no longer tests well water, but they do have a list of testing labs. He is an agronomist with CSU and works a lot with farmers on how to keep fertilizers out of water supplies. He can also direct people to information and resources – he can be contacted at 970-491-0447, He gave us lots of handouts, which I will put at the Gold Hill Store. You can find most of them at

Minutes of the August Town Meeting were approved as published.

Treasurer’s Report – Martha reports GHTM Treasurer’s Report October 9, 2017      

                                 At the previous regular Town Meeting in AUGUST our bank balance was $12,062.64.

Our current total cash assets are $13,703.75.Revenue since the August meeting includes donations to the cemetery fund and chipping grant co-pays. Expenses include web hosting and ads for the Gold Rush fundraiser.

Earmarked fund totals are as follows:                                    

General Fund1 $603.84; Cemetery $6,307.78; Community Relief $3,326.95; Forest Management2 ($552.75); Safe Link (funds for SafeSite, AirLink, NeighborLink projects) $3,785.25; Community Planning $232.68.

      1. General Fund balance does not include funds raised during the Gold Rush event as they have not been received or deposited.

      2.Forest Management negative balance reflects the Town Meeting share of the Chipping Project expenses after reimbursements.

 Gretchen asked Dina about the funds in the SafeLink account for AirLink and she thinks they will need some in the future, but that grants have mostly supported their needs.


Gold Hill School – Chrissy reports that everything is going great. It’s great to have three employees. Environmental studies are a big focus. They have 3 gallons of honey and it is available at the School – drop by. Some of the hives in Boulder didn’t do well and they will be refurbishing them. Archery and greenhouse projects are going well. They have visited several agricultural sites in the County. Jojo added that they have received an Audubon Pollinator award and there will be an article published in the CU Newspaper soon. Amy Hardy led the team to put up the Teepee in Kirby Field and it survived the wind! Last week they got a 7 ft. buffalo rug with donation.    

            The Fourmile Fire Department is coming for a presentation for October Fire Prevention Month.

            The Fall Fiesta will be Wednesday evening, November 15th at the Gold Hill Inn.

Jojo has been doing online fundraising – preselling tickets, etc. They will have new school t-shirts for sale, too, and on the school website –

            Chrissy then brought up that she thinks there is a PR issue with the Town Meeting – that so few attend – and wonders what can be done. This generated a discussion and many different opinions.   Dina replied that she has heard that some people didn’t come because the meetings can go late, although we have been ending pretty reliably around 9, and sometimes people argue. Tony reported that she has been scheduling different speakers to address issues that will be interesting to people. John said that, in his experience, people show up when there is an issue that affects them, and otherwise just rely on the newsletter. Jojo added that the bigger issue is how is the community is working. Martha said that she disagrees that there is a TM problem, and that the meeting is a vehicle for town communication. People come if they are interested, or they can read the newsletter later. Jojo interjected that she thinks Chrissy is concerned about community engagement. Gretchen added that people have their own issues and show up for them. Tony thinks we should continue to address issues like our goals for the future regarding housing, open space, etc. and what is our vision, what do we want to improve.

            Back to the school, John asked Chrissy what are the financial goals for the Fall Festival.  She said the goal in the past has been $9-15,000, and they’re shooting for 20,000 this year. This is what they run the school on. The School District pays the salaries, utilities and maintenance, about half of the computers, and some discretionary funds. We pay for library books, the other half of the computers and all the extra projects. They have been successful at getting grants – Impact on Education comes through every year, and the grants help with the garden, butterfly pavilion, hunting club, Native American studies, and fly-fishing. They are trying to build some padding for the future years. 2018 will be the 145th anniversary.

Community Planning – Dan reports that for the Gold Rush (fall bake/rummage/crafts sale), they did some things differently this year and he has more ideas for next year. They cut costs in some areas, but paid the band this year (which raised some eyebrows). They cleared $1,698 this year (and he then handed the money to Martha), so it was a very good year. The food sold out, so we probably want to increase that. Again, a big THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED.

Community Spaces – no report

Historic Zoning – Bear reports that Joyce Robinson plans a small house at 360 Boulder Street (between Petrillo’s and Laughlin’s). HZ has approved it and she will proceed with the County. John Sand added that there is another historical group – Historical Preservation Advisory Board – and he has attended some interesting meetings.

Forest Management – Tony reports that the chipping grant is all finished and several people benefited.

Fire Department – Bobby reports that the recent powerful winds resulted in wires sparking some fires. In the last weeks, the campers have used 10 containers of water that the Fire Department leaves out by the camping areas out west. He added that about half the FD has been subpoenaed to appear at the trial for the fatal accident in July 2016 out west. (Addendum – the case was settled out of court so no trial was held). There will be a medical training on the 14th, volunteers are needed. We’re staging an accident out west of town.

Weed Management – no report. Tony asked if anyone is willing to head up this committee, but no one volunteered. Gretchen said that Susan Fernalld still sends along information periodically and she will send out emails.

Historic Gold Hill – John reports that they had their last board meeting of the year. It was a successful year – lots of visitors and income exceeded expenses. There will be new exhibits next year. They have scheduled another town social event – this one on the Switzerland Trail – and Michael O’Neil and others will make presentations. Norm Skarstad was welcomed as a new member of the board.

Mining – Gretchen reports that she emailed the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining, and Safety to inquire about the status of the permits for the Mill and the Cash and Who Do mines and heard back from Amy Eschberger, Environmental Protection Specialist. “The Gold Hill Mill operates under permit no. M-1994-117, and is currently in temporary cessation (meaning the mill is not active at this time). However, the operator is currently working to get the mill online, and is working with the BLM to revise their plan of operations. The Gold Hill Mill permit area is 8.4 acres, and includes a mill, a tailings impoundment, and an ore stockpile.

We actually just had an enforcement hearing for this permit yesterday based on my inspection of the site on August 1st. The Mined Land Reclamation Board found the operator to be in violation for offsite damage, related to the collapsed mine adit adjacent to Sunshine Canyon Drive, just west of the mill site. This was considered offsite damage as the subsidence occurred while the operator was attempting to rehabilitate this historic mine in order to install a water pipeline to the mill. The operator will be required to work closely with the county over the next few months to properly repair and stabilize the subsidence area. The operator will also be required to submit an application to us within 60 days of the Board Order to incorporate all aspects of the water conveyance plan (including the historic mine near Sunshine Canyon Drive) into the mine permit. The Board Order for yesterday’s hearing may not be available for another few weeks or so.

The Cash and Who Do Mines operate under permit no. M-1983-141. This site is located south and downhill from the Gold Hill Mill, and includes three areas totaling 9.83 acres. These are underground gold/silver mines, and only the surface disturbance is included in the permit area. These mines feed the Gold Hill Mill. This site is also in temporary cessation at this time, meaning no extracting, processing, or hauling off from stockpiles is occurring. The operator may however have personnel on site and conduct maintenance and/or monitoring activities.

All permit files can be accessed from our website at: via our imaged document system called Laserfiche. I’m attaching a pdf document that provides instructions on how to access and use Laserfiche. Helpful hint: whenever you enter the permit number into the search field, type it without dashes like this “M1994117”. I must warn you these are old permits and therefore, their permit files are fairly extensive. You might find it easier to sort the files by Doc Date with most recent files listed at the top. If you do this, you should find my recent inspection report for Gold Hill Mill, and related enforcement action documents.


Amy Eschberger

Environmental Protection Specialist

 P 303.866.3567 x8129 | F 303.832.8106 | C 303.945.9014

1313 Sherman Street, Room 215, Denver, CO 80203  |


SafeLink and AirLink – no report, but Tony encouraged everyone to revisit their NeighborLink Pods and make sure everyone is linked up. It’s important to connect with our neighbors and have emergency plans.

IMA (InterMountain Alliance) and NAS/MML (Nederland Area Seniors/Mountain Midlife group) – no report on the IMA. Gretchen sends out emails on the NAS/MML news and gatherings. Jojo has met with Rebrecca Lawrence about community needs. Rebecca has been appointed by the County Commissioners to conduct outreach and find out how to support our mountain communities around the issues of housing, health, education, and other community issues


Book exchange mailbox – no report

 Rancho Fazoo Update – Jojo asks, “What are we going to do?” Open Space is giving us the go ahead to clean up and create a usable space. They seem to be open to almost anything. Bear asked for how the Adopt a Trail would work. Jojo said that they are open to our ideas and it seems like we can create our own project. She thinks the best approach is a small committee, Friends of Rancho Fazoo, partnering with the GHTM, thinks they can work with the County and make reports to the TM. She thinks it’s best to separate the Cemetery from the RF project.

            Martha reports that she has talked to Bob Walter about the Cemetery and he wants to give the County the $1,000 as the simplest way to get the deed to the piece of the Cemetery on Open Space land, since we have the money in the Cemetery Committee Fund, without having to try to figure out how many hours we’ve put in on it.

            Someone asked about the defined area for Rancho Fazoo and it is the old home site.   Bear made a motion that the Town Meeting form a standing committee, Friends of Rancho Fazoo with Jojo as the designated Chair, to work with the county, move forward to adopt Rancho Fazoo, and report to the GHTM.   John seconded the motion. This generated much discussion about the autonomy of the committee as Jojo was concerned that every decision would need to come to the Town Meeting.   It was pointed out that TM committees have a lot of autonomy, like the Cemetery Committee and Airlink, and since the Rancho Fazoo committee has been formed for the benefit of the community, it should all work out.

We still need to know what our liability will be. Rancho Fazoo is County Open Space land and part of the adoption agreement that Jojo will be moving forward on involves signing a liability waiver for any of the proposed work we do. The TM does have liability insurance and we need to know if we will be liable, and if so whether our present liability coverage is sufficient.

The motion was unanimously approved.

It was also the sense of the meeting to back Bob Walter’s suggestion and support Jojo relaying the information to Open Space that we will write a check to them for $1,000 for the piece of the Cemetery on their land in exchange for the title.

Road Conditions –Regarding the collapse up Horsfal, Mike Thomas from the County as well as the Mined Land Reclamation Board (cited above) have indicated it is all being remedied.

Town Noise – Joanne Cole emailed her opinions that there is really not a problem with noise from music at the Inn and asked that they be included in the newsletter:

            My name is Joanne Cole and I have lived in Gold Hill since 1998. I live on Hill St above the Inn and the music and voices rise directly to my front door and inside my windows. I also travel back from town on Friday nights and traverse the many cars lining Main St.

I welcome the activity of the Gold Hill Inn as it nurtures our community and is the center of what makes living in Gold Hill great. I too echo the sentiments voiced at last months meeting of how important the Inn and the Finn family have been to Gold Hill for over HALF a century. I hold the Finn family very dear to my heart and respect them immensely.

I would like to point out that when I first moved to Gold Hill, the Inn hosted live music on BOTH Friday and Saturday nights. Now, it is only one night a week.

I FIRMLY believe that the music and activity has NOT become greater over the years, but exactly the OPPOSITE- contained and managed properly and with concern for the residents of Gold Hill.

If there is a problem with noise and activity AFTER the Inn has closed, I suggest those agitated by the noise speak to whoever is making the noise and ask them to keep it quiet or to move it away from Main St. I would also ask those “un-named” folks who have issue with noise to take these simple remedies:

Remember you were once young

Close your windows and go to bed early

Have a drink, smoke a joint or take a sleeping pill if you have trouble sleeping

Live and let live!!

Respectfully submitted, Joanne Cole

October 2017


 Paving Sunshine –Tony reports that she had a Sunshine person and a Gold Hill person bring this to her attention – then she went about gathering info from the county.  From what she has heard from several GH folks there are a wide variety of ideas on what should happen.  Jojo said that we need to “consider the best technology” – if dirt works best, leave it dirt, or if not we should look at that. Tony, from her research, is not sure there is any data that clearly supports either side. Labor costs are continuously increasing and will make an impact on any future plans/decisions for the road.   Here is the information she gathered:

            PAVING NOTES regarding the paving of 1.6 miles along Sunshine Canyon

Our most recent counts from 2015 for Sunshine Canyon are: 

            Just east of Poorman: 1100 annual average daily traffic

            End of Pavement: 620 annual average daily traffic

The past 5 years, between $40,000 and $60,000 spent annually on gravel-road maintenance activities (grading, dust control, spot resurfacing) on this section of Sunshine, with an additional $180,000 spent on gravel resurfacing in 2012 (gravel resurfacing occurs as required, generally every 8 to 12 years) – new technique this year – do not have these costs

Cost of maintaining the gravel road is often similar to or less than the cost of paving when calculated over the life of the pavement

Funding for such paving is not currently available

Targeted groups: Local commuters, those who drive trucks, deliveries, school buses, emergency vehicles, road maintenance vehicles.

1.6 miles only through the switchbacks or Shelf Road Only – or everything through GH?

 In support:

Continual maintenance (and costs) required for dust, mud and washboards

Dust affects air, trees, humans and animals

Traffic from mountain communities

In emergency situations, SCD is the main thoroughfare between Boulder and mountain communities. (ie. 2013 Flood)

The unpaved portion of Sunshine Canyon Drive is not a housing development; it is part of a highly-traveled county road.

In opposition:

Concern over slippery, icy conditions on switchbacks

Concern that the paving will extend into Gold Hill

Increased traffic


Shared values – mountain community interests & issues

Support for preservation of Gold Hill as a historic landmark

Is there support for a survey? 

No action was taken.

Respectfully submitted, Gretchen Diefenderfer, Secretary