OSMRE / VISTA Team Projects

Lake Fork Valley Conservancy

Stephen Norton

OSMRE / VISTA: Stephen Norton
Supervisor: Camille Richard
Address: PO Box 123, Lake City, Colorado 81235
County: Hinsdale
Voice Telephone: 970-209-5238
Email: c.richard@lfvc.org
Web site: www.LFVC.org
Congressional District: 3rd
Bureau: Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE)


Lake Fork Valley Conservancy’s mission is to sustain and enhance the environmental and rural character of the Lake Fork of the Gunnison river valley through education, restoration, and stewardship.

About the Surrounding Community

Mining activities greatly influence the history of Hinsdale County, which experienced a typical boom and bust cycle of mining communities. The mining industry attracted so many people that more than 500 structures were built in just a few short years. But after mining activities decreased in the 1900s, so did the permanent population. Today, the main economic industry in Hinsdale County is tourism; during the summer months, the population increases dramatically. Virtually everything (people, homes, businesses, roads, and wildlife) is concentrated within the Lake Fork River Corridor. A vast majority of this sensitive land is under government or private ownership and, therefore, an individual sense of environmental protection is needed to ensure good water quality and habitat conservation, either through improved zoning or conservation actions.

Project Overview

This project assists in the development of a resource development strategy for long-term sustainability, including building a membership drive, a long-term fundraising strategy, and a volunteer recruitment strategy. The OSMRE/VISTA recruits volunteers for river channel/riparian assessments, stream bank restoration, and stream bank stabilization projects; provides additional oversight and assistance for the Lake City Community Garden Group, a partner which seeks to provide a place where members of the community can trade volunteer labor for healthy, organic, locally grown produce; develops a training program for green construction methods for energy and water conservation; and engages the community and land owners in the development of interpretive trails and parks as part of its Lake Fork River Enhancement Project. Benefits of the Lake Fork Valley Conservancy’s (LFVC) work will be improved river habitat and recreation along rivers, and increased job opportunities in both the construction and tourism industries in the town of Lake City. In addition, LFVC assists in several outreach and education events such as the Bureau of Land Management’s Summer Outreach educational program, the summer water festival, and a local school’s River Watch Program.

Sponsors and Partners

Lake City Community Garden Group

Bureau of Land Management

Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife

Colorado Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety

Hinsdale County

Town of Lake City

Hinsdale County Historical Society