April Green Tip of the Month-Cooking with excess fats, oils and greases

Green Tip of the Month

Words by Zoe Dohnal / Environment

April’s Green Team Tip of the Month will come in handy in the kitchen.

Excess fats, oils & grease (FOG) are a problem in our sewage collection and treatment system. The proper disposal of FOG is very important.

Improper disposal of FOG can create a hazard for wastewater operators and increase the risk of a sewer backup in both your home and overflow at the wasterwater plant.

Please take the time to follow these simple rules:

  • Dry wipe pots, pans and dishware with a paper towel prior to dishwashing
  • Do not put food waste down the drain
  • Recycle cooking oil or pour it onto a paper towel or newspaper
  • Make sure everyone in your home knows how to dispose of FOG properly

Source: Town of Telluride. 


Living with coyotes


Words by Kathrine Warren / Communications, Environment

The Town of Mountain Village Police Department has been receiving increased reports of coyote sightings throughout Mountain Village and would like to remind residents and visitors of several helpful tips for keeping local coyotes afraid of humans.

Coyote breeding occurs between January and March and pups are born from April to mid-May. People should never approach pups and should be aware that female coyotes are extremely protective of their young.  If you see pups unattended, their parents are not very far away and could become aggressive if they perceive a threat to their young.

Coyotes are inherently afraid of humans, but they can lose their fear. If you encounter a coyote on a trail or ski run and the coyote lingers or begins to approach, “hazing” is appropriate to scare them away. This helps keep the coyote afraid of humans. If they lose their fear, they become more aggressive to pets and begin hunting them. That can include any of the following tactics:

  • Be as loud and big as possible and do not run or turn your back.
  • Wave your arms, clap your hands and shout in an authoritative way.
  • Make noise by banging post or pans.
  • Throw small stones, sticks or tennis balls at them, but remember the intent is to scare them off, not injure them.

Do not allow your pets to roam, especially at night and do not allow dogs to run with coyotes. Don’t leave pet food outside and keep your garbage in a storage facility or tightly sealed container. Keep garbage cans and recycling bins clean with hot water and bleach to reduce residual odors that can attract animals.


For more information about living with coyotes, visit the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website.

Introducing the Green Team Tip of the Month

Words by Zoe Dohnal / Environment

Each month, the Green Team Committee, a team of seven volunteers – including council members, residents, Telluride Ski & Golf and TMVOA staff  – along with Town of Mountain Village staff meet to discuss strategies for living green in Mountain Village.

The Green Team Committee encourages the community to appreciate and preserve the natural world and to facilitate conservation efforts, share knowledge and resources and advises the Mountain Village Town Council on matters related to environmental quality.

Introducing the Green Team’s new Green Living Tips. Each month, the Green Team will share ideas and tips with residents for ways to improve their impact on the environment.

March 2019 Tip of the Month:

Don’t rinse dishes before loading, and you’ll save 55,000 gallons of water over the life of the appliance. That’s equal to a lifetime supply of drinking water for a family of four.


If you have a newer dishwasher, it has a sensor that checks how dirty the water is to determine how much water and how long a cycle is needed to get the dishes clean. Then think about the 1.7 to 6 gallons of water you use every minute you run your kitchen faucet at full blast trying to knock off that food waste. You’re also paying for the energy used to heat the water. So even if you don’t have a newer dishwasher, rinsing with cold water will still save you money and energy.

Stay tuned for monthly tips from our Green Team for ways to improve your environmental impact.

Sources: Lowe’s & Consumer Reports.

The San Miguel County Holiday Tree Disposal

Holiday Tree Disposal

Words by Bill Kight / Community, Environment, Public Works

The San Miguel County holiday tree disposal site is moving this year to Ilium Valley—Vance Drive Industrial Area. Follow the marked signs.

Please remove all lights and decorations from your trees. This site is for tree disposal only, please no other dumping of debris.

Trees will be chipped on January 31. For more information, call (970) 728-3844.

Mountain Village Farm to Community Program Delivers 4,500 Pounds of Locally Grown Food to Community Members

Farm to Community Program

Words by Zoe Dohnal / Community, Environment

The Town of Mountain Village’s Farm to Community Incentive Program surpassed expectations in its inaugural year by delivering over 4,500 pounds of locally grown food and produce to community participants. Developed by Michelle Haynes, planning and development services director as a “climate action plan implementation measure,” the Mountain Village Green Team Committee unanimously supported the program along with the Town Council.

38 income qualified Mountain Village residents took part in a 14-week local farm share food program with an outcome exceeding the program’s goal of providing nine weeks of low-cost, high nutrient foods all while lowering carbon emissions by delivering a regionally grown food. Furthermore, the program gave a unique opportunity for Mountain Village residents to interact with local farmers, encouraging the use of new foods and recipes, and minimizing the time and distance for food shopping.

“I am so grateful for this program,” said one program participant, Melissa Touhly. “I’m a single mom with two daughters, and they started taking fresh salads to school because they loved the produce and the story of where the food sourced.”

Heather Knox shared similar sentiments by adding, “my two girls, ages 12 & 14, and I ate many more vegetables and fruits than I would normally purchase. It was fun introducing new vegetables that I had not ever seen, and figuring out how to cook them, or following the recipes included with the weekly bounty. I also really enjoyed getting to know ‘Farmer Sam’, with the Fresh Food Hub.”

The Town has approved an expanded program for 2019 with participating farms Mountain Roots Produce based in Mancos, Colorado and the F.R.E.S.H Food Hub, a community-run food co-op based in Norwood, Colorado. F.R.E.S.H Food Hub purchases food from local farms and producers such as Indian Ridge Farm and Bakery, Buckhorn Gardens, Birdhouse Farm, Laid Back Ranch, South River Aquaponics, and many more small-scale producers on the western slope.

2019 program applications are available February 1 for Mountain Village residents living in deed-restricted housing or meet the annual household income qualifications.

Furthermore, the town hopes to reduce their carbon footprint further and support the regional economy by developing a residential Community-supported agriculture (CSA) pick-up and a Town-led employee CSA wellness program.

Planning and Development Services Director, Michelle Haynes explains, “The Town of Mountain Village offers a wellness program benefit to employees that can be used in place of the purchase of a ski pass. The town agreed that participation in a CSA meets the wellness criteria. We hope to place a request for proposal this winter to work with a local farm in exchange for providing CSA shares to employees through the town’s wellness program this next summer.”

Haynes goes on to say, “with the success of the Farm to community program and positive farm presence at the Market on the Plaza this past summer, we hope that we can reach a critical mass of CSA share participation so that shares can also be delivered to the Mountain Village for residents and take advantage of the delivery route for wholesale distribution to local restaurants.”  “Supporting the local economy and taking advantage of our local food sources is important to a resilient and healthy community.”

For program information, please contact Zoe Dohnal by email by phone (970) 728-8236 or by visiting townofmountainvillage.com/farm-to-community.

Thanks to our Partners and Participants for the Inaugural Mountain Village Community Clean-Up Day

Words by Zoe Dohnal / Community, Environment, Event

The Mountain Village Community Cleanup Day and Celebration was a great success!! 

We had 100 participants and four truckloads of trash!

Thank you for all who came out to celebrate the beauty of where we live and taking steps to keep it that way.

The Mountain Village Green Team would like to thank our Partners:

Telluride Trappings & Toggery
Telluride Sports

The Market at Mountain Village

Telluride Festival of Cars and Colors

Babies of the Bush African Wildlife Arts & Gifts

Telluride Brewing Company

Poachers Pub

Tracks Cafe & Bar

Town of Mountain Village Owners Association

Telluride Ski & Golf

Mountain Village Community Clean-Up Day and Celebration Saturday, August 25 from 12 to 4 p.m.

Community Clean-Up and Celebration

Words by Zoe Dohnal / Community, Environment, Event

Join Town of Mountain Village’s Green Team in cleaning up our trails and ski-runs in Mountain Village, Saturday, August 25 from 12 to 2 p.m. Clean up will be followed by a community-wide party in the Meadows Park, located adjacent from the Meadows parking lot on Adams Ranch Road. Music will be provided by the infamous DJ Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.

Volunteers are asked to arrive by 11:30 a.m. for registration and groups will be assigned an area of clean-up by a Green Team member at Meadows’s Park. Trash bags are provided, and participants are encouraged to bring gloves, wear long pants, comfortable shoes, and park at the Meadows parking lot (carpooling is encouraged!) Fabulous prizes will be awarded for various trash discoveries. Thanks to thoughtful donations from Telluride Ski Resort, Telluride Sports, the Telluride Trappings & Toggery, Poachers Pub, Tracks Cafe & Bar, Starbucks, Town of Mountain Village Owner’s Association (TMVOA), and others, prizes include a GoPro Hero4, Osprey Exos backpack, Grand Trunk Parachute Hammock, August Ink Sweatshirt and more!

Lunch will be provided for those who attend, and we ask participants to bring reusable plates and cups.

The inaugural event is intended to spread awareness of picking up trash when found, celebrating the beauty of where we live, and taking steps to keep our mountains clean and trash free!

All are welcome to join and take part in the Community Clean-Up Event. For more information on the event, please visit Town of Mountain Village’s Green Team.

Mountain Village Water Restrictions in Effect May 1, 2018

Water Conservation

Words by Bill Kight / Community, Environment, Public Works

Beginning May 1, 2018, Town of Mountain Village will implement a Summer Water Conservation Resident Program in anticipation of a dry season restricting outside irrigation. Conservation program efforts will be in effect for the Town of Mountain Village, Ski Ranches, Elk Run and Skyfield.

Based on recent reports from the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service and National Water and Climate Center (USDA/NRCS)Snow and Precipitation Update Report (Snotel), and Bikis Water Consultants Division of SGM, the Town is being proactive in initiating this year’s restrictions in May in an attempt to conserve water from the start of irrigation season rather than waiting until June when we could potentially be in a more sensitive drought situation.

Water Conservation program Schedule:

Effective May 1, 2018: 

  • All properties north of Mountain Village Boulevard and Elk Run may water their landscaping on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays ONLY. Irrigation clocks must be set to run at a level of 70-75% of regular water consumption for the three days a week you are allowed to water. Irrigating hours will be either before 10 a.m. or after 5 p.m.
  • All properties south of Mountain Village Boulevard, plus the Ski Ranches and Skyfield, may water their landscaping on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays ONLY. Irrigation clocks must be set to run at a level of 70-75% of regular water consumption for the three days a week you are allowed to water. Irrigating hours will be either before 10 a.m. or after 5 p.m.
  • All exterior water features must be turned off during this conservation effort.
  • Due to potential water contamination “cross-connection” occurrences, NO trucked in water will be allowed to be hooked up to existing irrigation systems.

Effective June 1, 2018: 

  • All properties north of Mountain Village Blvd and Elk Run residents may water their landscaping on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays ONLY. Irrigation clocks must be set to run at a level of 70-75% of regular water consumption for the three days a week you are allowed to water. Irrigating hours will be either before 8 a.m. or after 7 p.m.
  • All properties south of Mountain Village Blvd, plus the Ski Ranches and Skyfield, may water their landscaping on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays ONLY. Irrigation clocks must be set to run at a level of 70-75% of regular water consumption for the three days a week you are allowed to water. Irrigating hours will be either before 8 a.m. or after 7 p.m.
  • All exterior water features must be turned off during this conservation effort.
  • Due to potential water contamination “cross-connection” occurrences, NO trucked in water will be allowed to be hooked up to existing irrigation systems.

New Landscaping:

Effective May 1, 2018, because of the need for new landscaping to receive additional watering to become established, landscaping installed before spring of 2017 and future landscaping projects may apply for additional irrigation permissions by permit. All permit applications which include landscaping additions or changes shall be reviewed on a case by case basis by contacting Mountain Village Senior Planner Dave Bangert by email or (970) 369-8203.

Please be aware that if the San Miguel River goes under administration (on call), further water restrictions may be necessary as the Town follows its augmentation requirements. If the weather conditions do not cooperate, this could result in a ban on all outside watering from the Town’s water system. On the other hand, if the region does see a significant increase in moisture the Town may retract its water conservation efforts.

For questions regarding the Town of Mountain Village Water Conservation Program, please contact Public Works Director, Finn Kjome at  (970) 369-8206.

Bennet Introduces Protections for San Juan Mountains

Bill to Protect San Juan Mountains Blog

Words by Special Contributor / Community, Environment

Article from The Durango Herald: U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet introduced a bill Thursday that would designate nearly 61,000 acres of the San Juan Mountains as wilderness, extending the strictest federal conservation protections to some of the range’s most prominent peaks.

“Not only are these iconic landscapes vital to outdoor recreation and local economies, but they also stand as a symbol of our public lands legacy in Colorado – a legacy we must pass onto our kids and grand-kids,” Bennet, a Democrat, said in a news release.

The San Juan Wilderness Act expands or designates 11 areas within and surrounding the San Juan National Forest as wilderness or special management areas. Also included is a 6,500-acre mineral withdrawal at Naturita Canyon, a designation that would prevent future mining in the area.

Protections under Bennet’s bill designate some of the most prominent peaks in the area as wilderness areas, including two Fourteeners – Mount Sneffels and Wilson Peak.

Kelsey Mix, communication director for U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, said, while vetting the latest version of the bill, Tipton’s office “determined there is still not broad consensus.”

“The Colorado River District has raised concerns with the private property and water rights within at least one of the proposed expansions. Additionally, the Colorado Snowmobile Association has significant concerns,” Mix said in an email.

The expansion of the wilderness areas worries some outdoor recreational groups, such as the Colorado Snowmobile Association. Expansion of the wilderness would close many trails they ride on as well as access points to cross to other trails.

Scott Jones, president of the Colorado Snowmobile Association, said, “The problem is the way some of these boundaries are laid out. It would cut access to other areas.”


Bennet worked closely with the San Miguel, San Juan and Ouray county commissioners in formulating the legislation, the release said. Bennet has been pushing this legislation since he came to the Senate in 2009 and closely consulted local leadership.

“San Juan County has strongly supported the San Juan Wilderness Act for over a decade after we worked in our community with all local stakeholders to help craft a bill that has widespread support and represents a balanced approach to protecting the public lands that help drive our recreation economy,” said San Juan County Commissioner Pete McKay.

A version of the bill was introduced in 2013 by then-Colorado Sen. Mark Udall. The bill passed with bipartisan support out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that year, but the Senate never brought it to the floor for a vote.

A wilderness designation is the federal government highest level of protection for public lands. According to the Wilderness Society, about one-third of the public lands receive permanent protections as wilderness, parks, refuges or other designations. There are 109 million acres of designated wilderness area in the United States.

Bennet’s legislation received support of various environmental groups, including the Wilderness Society.

“The San Juan Wilderness Act works to strike a balance between conservation, recreation, and smarter energy development in the future,” said Jeff Widen, senior regional conservation representative at the Wilderness Society, in a statement.

Telluride Ski Resort, a premier destination in the San Juan National Forest, also cheered the introduction of the legislation.

“The spectacularly rugged and pristine San Juan Mountains are an American treasure that are worthy of preservation,” Telluride CEO Bill Jensen said in a statement. “A public lands designation in the San Juan Wilderness bill will protect the environment while ensuring recreational access that is core to the regional economy.”

If passed through both chambers of Congress and signed by the president, the San Juan wilderness designation will prohibit additional roads and commercial enterprises from developing the area, according the National Park Service. However, the Wilderness Act allows people to fight fires, control insect infestation and provide for human safety, but respects private property rights.

Staff members for Republican Sen. Cory Gardner didn’t immediately respond to inquiries about the legislation.

Andrew Eversden is an intern for The Durango Herald and a student at American University in Washington, D.C.An earlier version of this story erred in saying a version of the San Juan Wilderness Act passed unanimously out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee in 2013. It passed with bipartisan support, but not unanimously.

Thank you to the Durango Herald for the article with photograph of The Ice Lakes area in the San Juan Mountains to be included in nearly 61,000 acres of the San Juan Mountains that would gain special federal conservation protections under the 2018 San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act. Photo credit: Jason Hatfield.

Mountain Village Environmental Initiatives Lead The Way To The New Normal

New Normal

Words by Bill Kight / Environment

Mountain Village may cover just over 3 square miles but the small community has big ambitions to help fight climate change, starting at home. Over Memorial Day Weekend, the town will shine a spotlight on its Green Gondola Project, and launch four programs to reward local residents for conserving natural resources and protecting the environment.

These cutting-edge initiatives are part of a grassroots, community-wide movement to work toward The New Normal — the Telluride region’s audacious goal of achieving carbon neutrality.

The New Normal movement sprung from Mountainfilm, the annual film festival premiering Memorial Day weekend that has shared the powerful stories of grassroots movements for nearly four decades. As it pinpoints climate change as the defining issue of our time, the festival has identified specific ways the Telluride community can take simple, impactful steps to preserve the planet for future generations. Festival Director David Holbrooke says Mountainfilm can help propel action against climate change by leveraging the power of story to fuel innovation and community building.

“Can we do this? Can Telluride really go carbon neutral?” Holbrooke asks. “We don’t know, but given what is clearly happening to our planet, we have to try.”

The Mountain Village Resident Incentive Programs are one way the community is rising to the challenge, working to establish The New Normal. The town is investing more than $120,000 in four programs that educate and reward local residents and businesses for taking a range of environmentally friendly actions. The programs include:

  • SOLAR ENERGY: Mountain Village homes and businesses are awarded a rebate of $0.40 per watt for power generated by solar energy.
  • ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Mountain Village offers free controllers for heat trace systems, promising to save 30-50 percent of electricity costs per winter.
  • WATER CONSERVATION: Mountain Village is paying for the entire cost of efficient irrigation systems for lawns and gardens.
  • HEALTHY FORESTS: Mountain Village is reimbursing property owners up to $5,000 for creating defensible space that reduce wildfire risks.

“These incentive programs are a great way to engage local residents in meaningful actions to address climate change and improve the environment in our own community,” says Bill Kight, director of marketing & business development at Town of Mountain Village.

Kight notes that Mountain Village has a long history of environmental responsibility, from protecting area wetlands to working toward becoming Zero Waste. Mountain Village’s mandatory recycling programs, efforts to protect native plants from noxious weeds, green power initiatives, and electric vehicle charging stations contribute further to its status as a leader in the fight to protect the planet.

The gondola, of course, may be one of the most impactful and inspirational of Mountain Village’s commitments to green living and reducing the town’s carbon footprint. It’s certainly the most unique — the only form of free transportation like it in North America! Providing more than 2.6 million passenger rides annually, the gondola offers an efficient mode of transportation that reduces carbon emissions, resulting in cleaner air and a community that’s less reliant on cars.

The Green Gondola Project, launched a several years ago, has worked to offset the large amount of electricity needed to power the gondola with alternative energy sources by raising money from gondola riders. Key achievements of the Green Gondola Project to date:

  • Funds collected through the Project have been used to install LED lighting and on-site solar panels, and buy wind power to provide the electricity used to operate the gondola.
  • Since 2007, the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association has offset 100 percent of the gondola’s remaining traditional electricity needs with renewable energy Green Blocks purchased from its electricity provider, San Miguel Power Association. These Green Blocks support energy efficiency and renewable energy programs throughout the region. 200,000 Green Blocks of renewable energy have been purchased, offsetting 20 million kilowatt hours of dirty electricity.
  • The gondola’s solar panels now generate 240,000 kilowatt hours of solar energy and prevent 463,200 pounds of carbon dioxide from polluting the environment annually.

“The renewable energy the gondola produces from solar panels is still a small fraction of the total it uses,” notes Kight, “but the goal is to reach 20 percent.”

In the face of daunting challenges presented by a warming planet, it’s important to celebrate the community-led initiatives that are making a difference on a small scale.

“The results of Mountain Village’s many green initiatives are powerful,” says Mountain Village mayor Dan Jansen. “They have cemented the town’s role as part of the vanguard actively working to fight climate change, and they help lay the groundwork for the Telluride region’s movement to establish The New Normal.”

To learn more about our incentive programs visit townofmountainvillage.com/green-living and for more information on the Green Gondola Project or to donate online, visit townofmountainvillage.com/green-gondola-project.

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