The Douglas County Commissioners will be holding a series of town hall meetings to discuss buying water from the northern San Luis Valley. We do not yet have the date of the next town hall but it is estimated to be in early February. The proposal to export water from the confined aquifer in the San Luis Valley is a scheme that puts Valley View Hot Springs water at risk.
The San Luis Valley is a high desert. With an average annual precipitation of just over 7 inches, water is scarce and precious. There is not enough water to export to burgeoning front range subdivisions, developments, and towns. The ecosystem is fragile. The hot springs water that supplies the natural soaking pools comes from fractures along the geologic fault zone that is adjacent to the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The Sand Dunes National Park is a large area that depends on the scarce water that is here. Farms and ranches use the little water available with a keen awareness of how precious each drop is. The San Luis Valley economy, about $550,000,000 per year, is largely dependent on agriculture.
We need your help. Please write or email the Douglas County Commissioners and express your concern at a plan that has the potential to devastate the entire valley and Valley View Hot Springs.
Contact County Commissioners
Mail a letter to:
Douglas County Commissioner’s Office
100 3rd Street
Castle Rock, CO 80104
Call the central phone line to reach the Commissioners listed below: (303) 660-7401
Contact the News Media
You can submit a letter to the editor or guest opinion editorial to the Douglas County and Denver newspapers.
OP/ED: Submit 700 – 800 words to Dan Njegomir at or (720) 220-5891, or online at https://denvergazette.com/opinion/submit
Letter to Editor: Submit 250 words to Dan Njegomir at or (720) 220-5891, or online at https://denvergazette.com/opinion/submit
OP/ED: Submit 650 – 700 words to Lee Ann Colacioppo at or (303) 954-1754
Letter to Editor: Submit 250 words to or (303) 954-1331, or online at https://www.denverpost.com/submit-letter
Following are some key messages you may consider including in your emails and letters.
Here is a link to the Douglas County Commissioners Town Hall Comment Form for ARPA https://www.douglas.co.us/arpa/american-rescue-plan-act-comment-form/
Sample Letter (Your letter has a better chance of making an impact if you personalize it.)
Dear Douglas County Commissioners,
Regarding: RWR Proposal
In the interest of protecting the environmental balance in the San Luis Valley, I urge you to reject the proposal from RWR. I realize that water is scarce. That is true throughout the entire southwest United States. The already meager amount of water is declining ever more due to long term drought. The forecast for the future is for less and less precipitation in all western river basins. The RWR plan to redistribute a scarce water supply to Douglas County from the Rio Grande Basin is short sighted and a threat to natural resources, the agricultural economy of the San Luis Valley, and the people who depend on the water that RWR is trying to sell you.
The San Luis Valley is a high desert. The reserves of water are being depleted by drought and overuse already. The ecosystem is delicately balanced and the nearly twenty year drought has stressed the agricultural economy, the aquifers, and vast natural resources such as The Sand Dunes National Park, the Rio Grande National Forest, and the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness.
The RWR proposal is flawed. The water reserves in the aquifers are inaccurately defined, the negative impacts on the San Luis Valley ignored, and the costs grossly underestimated - both in dollars and environmental degradation.
Please do the environmentally sound thing and dismiss this proposal. This is not a well considered solution for Douglas County nor is it at all beneficial to the high desert of the San Luis Valley.
More information: The Orient Land Trust Facebook page has a compilation of articles and news stories with information about the proposal and the opposition to the plan. It is a convenient place to access information.
May this year begin and end in health and well being for all.
We continue to encourage everyone who comes to be considerate and not arrive with any signs of illness. Our staff and guests have maintained a great track record for the past 2 years, may that continue. Our limited capacity allows for healthy distancing and a relaxed stay.
While we were closed in December our sauna was completely repaneled with fresh cedar and opened for use on December 31st. There are mixed opinions if this was a wise decision. Everyone can decide for themselves whether to use it or not depending on your comfort level. Guests may now come into the Welcome Center to register and check-in, masks are required in all indoor shared spaces except the sauna. There is no food or drinks available for sale. Everyone should come well supplied. Bring unbreakable water bottles to fill at any drinking fountain or sink faucet on the property.
You still need to bring bedding for all guests in your party. We are providing basic cooking and eating utensils, pots, pans and dishes. These are found in a plastic bin in each accommodation and should be clean, dried and returned to the bin before you leave.
Campers have access to the open air pavilion for cooking, bring all your own cooking necessities, none are provided. The Oak House is only to be used by guests staying there. Come prepared for cold weather camping. No open wood or charcoal fires are permitted; your own propane fire rings or cook stoves are an option.
Our gate opens at 11 am and all guests are welcome to come in and enjoy the pools and sauna knowing that vehicle sites are vacated at noon and indoor accommodations may not be available until 4 pm. Day visitors must check-in by 6 pm and depart by 8 pm. Overnight guests must arrive and check-in by 9pm. All must be out of campsites and accommodations by noon. Leave OLT property by 4 pm on the day of departure.
The "Guest" Wi-fi is only available within about 100' of the Welcome Center. We can not guarantee a strong-steady connection.