SAVE FREMONT COUNTY
Sponsored by the Arkansas Valley Conservation Coalition (AVCC)
There would be haul trucks, delivery trucks, mine tailings (the left over waste sands left behind after the mining is done), and as many as 90 workers using the same space as our trails and parks off Temple Canyon Road.
Hard Time bike trail at
South Canon Trails/Ecology Park
next to Temple Canon Road
Over the last 10+ years, the County, City, and other entities (e.g. Fremont Adventure Recreation [FAR]) have worked very hard and invested many funds to change the area's reputation from "mining and prisons" to a tourism and recreation center. It's working. Even in the pandemic year of 2020, sales tax revenues were high, partially due to tourism. No hotels were forced to close.
Mining activity (haul trucks, increased traffic on Temple Canyon road, noise, dust, light pollution) could significantly impact the public’s perception of the area. A statement from the Canon City 2040 plan says it well:
"a Guiding Principle of the plan is to enhance the recreation and open space system to ensure that residents and visitors can continue to enjoy the natural beauty, recreation, and relaxation that are part of everyday life in Canon City".
Click HERE to hear Canon City Mayor, Ashley Smith, talk about how the Arkansas River is central to our identity and local tourist economy.
The mining permit offers no assurances or guarantees (funds reserved) that mining activity will not turn people off to the opportunities in the area and if a mining operation problem impacts the area, there is no recovery plan or financial relief plan.
Statement from Zephyr Minerals Ltd.
Source: Will Felderhof, Executive Chairman, Zephyr Minerals Ltd. in a letter sent to the Dawson Ranch HOA Chair on July 23, 2021.
“The Canon City area is indeed blessed with beauty and recreational opportunities. This will not change with the development of a small underground mine on very limited acreage in an out of the way location.”
Mr. Felderhof is correct when he restates our blessings. BUT, how does he know that a potential disaster will not occur? Citizens and the recreational opportunities we all enjoy have no assurances.
Another example of the Grape Creek wilderness experience is described in this TRIP REPORT by Fly Fishing Guide Kaitlin Boyer.
To truly experience the beauty of fishing along Grape Creek and understand what is at risk, click HERE to read Chris Duerksen’s blog, “Exploring Grape Creek In The Hidden Recesses Of Temple Canyon (near Canon City, CO), October 2019”
The Picture Canon City 2040 Plan serves as a foundation for decision-making and helps guide the City as it works to implement the community’s vision. These statements listed below are taken from the Plan and should be taken into account when considering opening a new mine in the heart of the region.
The City should work with the Royal Gorge River Initiative Organization and Fremont County to assess the Arkansas River for areas that need additional vegetation along the corridor to restore the riparian habitat. River vegetation is in a poorer state near downtown. The City should undertake landscaping projects as the riverfront develops to further improve water quality and promote recreation near the river. Expanding the river corridor or establishing an easement for the river riparian zone/landscaping should be considered to minimize outside disturbance or encroachment.
Tourism is one of Canon City’s stronger industries with year-round events and abundant natural resources, drawing visitors to both the City and Fremont County. Canon City’s setting offers numerous opportunities for outdoor activities, including hiking, whitewater rafting, and fishing. Leveraging these local assets and positioning the City as a destination for people outside the community will increase revenue and enhance the City’s image and reputation.
Supporting recreation opportunities for both tourists and residents.
Recreation amenities play a pivotal role in both tourism and quality of life for residents. The City should continue to support high-quality recreational opportunities. The City should support local groups and organizations, such as the non-profit Fremont Adventure Recreation, which hosts outdoor recreation events throughout the year. Local events include Run Blossom, a run to celebrate the coming of the summer season during the Canon City Music and Blossom Festival.
This Arkansas River tributary begins in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and flows through Custer and Fremont counties, draining the Wet Mountain valley. The creek is the centerpiece of the 600-acre Temple Canyon Park, owned and managed by the City of Canon City. Grape Creek draws anglers in the spring and fall. Its flow is controlled by DeWeese Reservoir near Westcliff, which also holds water for irrigation for ranches and farms near Canon City.
The Grape Creek Trail connector opens vast tracts of BLM land from the Pink House area of the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area. This geologically complex area also holds relics from a historic railroad bed that could be leveraged for trail creation. The City should formalize a low-maintenance, primitive trail to best serve this area. The Grape Creek Trail will tie into the existing trail system at Ecology Park.