Important community meetings on the horizon

SUN Columnist

As a follow-up to last week’s article about volunteering, there are a couple of important community meetings coming up in April that representatives of non-profit organizations and other individuals may want to attend.

First, a little history lesson.

In 2010, southwest Colorado hosted Rural Philanthropy Days in Mancos. Pagosa Springs non-profit agencies were well represented at that event. Rural Philanthropy Days is held in different regions of Colorado and returns to each region once every four years.

For 23 years, local communities have worked to coordinate Rural Philanthropy Days (RPD) in partnership with the Community Resource Center, the Anschutz Family Foundation and Colorado grant makers. Some of the state’s most influential funders meet with local and regional grant seekers to create partnerships, access resources and develop opportunities for important community projects. At the 2010 RPD conference, I was tasked with informing the grant makers at a special meeting that we hoped they would be coming to Pagosa Springs in 2014, as we had intention of bidding on and hosting Rural Philanthropy Days.

That time has come!

It is time to start planning for a bid to host the event. Representatives of the Community Resource Center and the Anschutz Family Foundation will be in Pagosa Springs for an RPD outreach session on Monday, April 15, from 2-4 p.m. The gathering will be held at the Pagosa Youth Center, located behind the Humane Society Thrift Store at 269 1/2 Pagosa St.

This is an important meeting: we will be making a determination and gathering non-profit support to make our bid for the 2014 RPD conference. The three-day event brings hundreds of people to a community from all over the state and provides important exposure to our community on many different levels.

We must have community buy-in to host the event. We have to present a unified front to the selection community. A representative from each non-profit and government entity is encouraged to attend the April 15 session. There could be other regional communities bidding for the conference, but we are confident that we will be able to host the event.

Please R.S.V.P. if you can attend the outreach session by contacting Rural Philanthropy Days Program Manager Crissy Supples at or (719) 530-2651. Questions about Rural Philanthropy Days can also be directed to Lynne Bridges at Seeds of Learning at 264-5513 or

Historic preservation 

The Historic Preservation Board, in conjunction with the Colorado Office of Economic Development, the International Trade’s State Tourism Office and the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (History Colorado) will hold a community meeting on Wednesday, April 3, from 5-7 p.m. at the Ross Argon Community Center.

At this meeting, representatives from these state organizations will speak about the benefits of historic preservation and heritage tourism, and they will also touch on the topic of agritourism. Heritage tourism and agritourism are two areas that are gaining popularity in the tourism world. To reveal the history of a community, to explore and involve the family with discovery activities, to pursue a hobby and learn more about an area, are some of the reasons why this area of interest and activity is one of the fastest growing tourism markets.

The designation of Chimney Rock as a National Monument, the development of our geothermal capabilities, and the rich history and existence of working local and regional farms and ranches are just some of the reasons we should better organize our rich tourism resources.

Colorado also has more state funds available for historic preservation than all of the other states in the country combined. Funds generated from tax revenues from three gaming communities provide approximately $16 million each year and this revenue is administered by the State Historical Fund for historic preservation activities throughout the state. Grant opportunities are available for privately-owned, school district-owned and government-run projects.

With guidance from the state and examples of how other communities have organized, we in Pagosa Springs could certainly improve on our heritage tourism programs. If you are interested in finding out more about these tourism areas and how your business, school or governmental agency might qualify for a grant, attend the community meeting on April 3. We look forward to seeing a large turnout.

Beetles and watersheds

We see the devastation caused by beetles near Wolf Creek Pass and in other parts of our area and we wonder what will happen and what is being done about the bark beetle infestation.

On Tuesday, April 9, there will be an information meeting held to consider the water-related impacts of bark beetle infestations in the San Juans and the Rocky Mountain West.

At this meeting, participants will be able to find out what scientists know and don’t know about the potential water impacts from the bark beetle infestations in lodgepole and spruce-fir forests. Local professionals and community members will share observations and concerns about the current spruce beetle infestation in the San Juan headwaters and attendees can find out more about the San Juan Headwaters Forest Health Partnership and how they can become involved. We are encouraging not only residents, but those associated with property owner associations who are interested in property mitigation to attend. Firewise of Southwest Colorado will be on hand as will the Mountain Studies Institute, Western Water Assessment and the U.S. Forest Service.

The meeting will be held at the Ross Aragon Community Center from 6-7:30 p.m. You do not need to R.S.V.P., just show up. This will be an enlightening meeting and attendees should be able to learn a great deal about this current water and forest concern.


Our local spring break is just around the corner. Please let us know if you will be closed or will have modified hours.

We have several new businesses to welcome aboard as Chamber members this week.

We welcome back the Pagosa Office Supply Store. Located on Put Hill in the Mountain View Shopping Center at 2035 Eagle Dr., Suite 102. Pagosa Office Supply has over 36,000 items and also provides copy, binding, faxing and laminating services, and free delivery service to business accounts. Look for their competitive pricing and shop local. Welcome back to Lorri Hill and Pagosa Office Supply.

Pagosa Peak Dental Hygiene is a new Chamber member this week. Located at 13 Trinity Lane, Sherry Lane offers a gentle, relaxing, yet thorough dental cleaning. Teeth whitening, dental sealants and periodontal care are also available. Sherry offers flexible scheduling to accommodate adult and children busy schedules and most insurance is accepted. For more information, call Sherry at 731-3393.

Our renewing members this week include Ajia Cuisine and Spirits, Christine’s Cuisine, Silver Dollar Liquor Store, Alpine Portable Toilets and Septic and Eco-Safe Wastewater Systems, and Canyon Crest Lodge.

Are you gearing up for the summer season? Remember to fine tune your business, spruce up your facility— even with small efforts — and brush up and train your employees to provide the best customer service possible. Check with us at the Chamber to see how we can assist you.

This story was posted on March 28, 2013.