Ouray County Newsletter

March 2023

Connecting Ouray County Government with Ouray County

Ouray County Master Plan Update

-Randy Parker, Ouray County

Planning Commission Chair-

Ouray County has begun the process of reviewing the current Master Plan and considering possible revisions. This process was officially launched at a well attended work session on February 21, 2023 held by the County Planning Commission, County staff and members of the public with professional assistance provided by KLJ Engineering and Planning. KLJ has helped the Planning Commission and County staff prepare a scope of work and project work flow providing for significant public participation and involvement as one of its primary goals.

The Master Plan is intended to be a comprehensive long term guide to be used by the County in making decisions that affect the physical, cultural and socioeconomic development of the County. The goals set forth in the plan are intended to be general statements of the desires of County residents relating to the use of land in the County in order to provide a foundation for County zoning and land use decisions. The policies stated in the plan are intended to reflect County positions on each of the specific goals and to act as guidelines for direction and action by the County.

In order for the Master Plan's stated goals and policies to accurately reflect our community's values there must be broad based public involvement throughout the review process. Our Master Plan review process will only by successful if through our public engagement process we are able to ascertain a realistic and achievable image of both the present and future through a framework of the stated goals and policies.

The Ouray County Master Plan Update website provides a link to the update process. 

Stay connected!

• Visit us online at https://klj.mysocialpinpoint.com/ouray-co

• Sign up for SMS messages: Text: MasterPlan to 844-764-2126

• Sign up for email updates: [email protected]

Has your propane service been affected by AmeriGas? If so, please email Commissioner Padgett and explain your situation.

If you know someone who has been affected, please encourage them to reach out.

Public Input Requested Regarding the Gray Wolf Reintroduction Program. Please reach out to your County Commissioners with your views or concerns.

Commissioner Lynn Padgett - District 1

Commissioner Michelle Nauer - District 2

Commissioner Jake Niece - District 3

Sheriff's Office Opens Recruitment for Posse Members

The Ouray County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to announce we are now conducting membership recruitment for the new volunteer Sheriff’s Posse team. Membership applications can be found on the Sheriff’s page of the Ouray County Website, or they can be sent directly to your email by Sheriff’s Posse directors or the Sheriff. For information or an application, please contact Sheriff Perry at 970-325-7272, email at [email protected], or the Sheriff’s Posse Directors at [email protected].

Often, there seems to be misinformation or misconceptions regarding a Sheriff’s Posse. To be clear, this is not an old wild west fugitive hunting posse that was consistent with the times of old. We’ve all seen the movies and portrayal of the Sheriff’s Posse riding alongside the Sheriff as they hunted down bad guys/girls. That was long ago and not how a posse functions in today’s time. Our Sheriff’s Posse Mission Statement is “to assist the Sheriff’s Office with non-law-enforcement duties and serve our community with dignity and respect.” Ouray County Sheriff’s Posse, Inc., is a nonprofit organization having as its purposes to assist the County Sheriff with non-law-enforcement duties when called upon to do so, on a volunteer basis. The Posse is directly overseen by the Sheriff and will be called upon when needed to assist the Sheriff’s Office. The following are some of the duties and programs that the Posse will be responding to and assisting with:

•                 Accident/traffic control

•                 Assist with Animal Control

•                 Assist Dispatch and/or SO front office

•                 Assist in Courthouse

•                 Crime Scene Security

•                 Crowd and Traffic control for Special Events

•                 Assisting with County Emergencies

•                 Directed Patrol/Security Checks including vacation home watch programs

•                 Fire Evacuation

•                 Fire Watch Program

•                 Ranch Watch

•                 Neighborhood Watch

•                 Ride-A longs with Sheriff’s Deputies

•                 Roadblocks and Perimeter Security

•                 Assist Ouray Mountain Rescue


Years ago, Ouray County Sheriff’s Office had a Posse, but due to unfortunate circumstances and lack of volunteerism it was disbanded. The original Posse was a division within the Sheriff’s Office vs our professional standard of a 501c3 nonprofit organization with bylaws, policies and procedures and high ethical standards. Every applicant will go through an official background investigation and when approved for membership, will begin extensive training. Monthly meetings with training will be provided to ensure high standards are met and that every Posse member is representing the Sheriff in an effective and appropriate manner. Trainings will consist of many things such as de-escalation techniques, Incident Command System, traffic control, search and rescue, horsemanship, wildland fire response, etc. The new Sheriff’s Posse will include a mounted horse division that will be of great benefit for backcountry response. Utilizing horses will help first responders carry gear and minimize fatigue that is so often a concern in our rugged area. After discussions with leadership serving on our incredible Mountain Rescue Team, it is agreed that this resource will be highly beneficial and will further enhance safety and effective responses.

Interested individuals do not need to have any prior law enforcement training. We hope you will consider serving as a volunteer with the Ouray County Sheriff’s Posse!


Justin Perry, Ouray County Sheriff

Follow the Sheriff's Office on Facebook and Instagram!

Medicaid Continuous Coverage Ending

The COVID-19 public health emergency continuous coverage requirement is ending. Health

First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) will return

to normal renewal processes with the first notices going out in March for members with

renewals due in May 2023. Not all members will be renewed at the same time. Each

member’s renewal month will align with their already established annual renewal month.

Colorado will take 12 months (14 months including noticing) to renew members based on

their existing annual renewal date. Some members will be automatically renewed based on

the most recent information already on file with the state. Other members will need to go

through the renewal process and take action. The Department will send renewal packets to

those members in advance of their renewal dates with key information and their individual

timelines to take action.

If you are a Health First Colorado or CHP+ member, please make sure your contact

information is up to date in PEAK in case we need to send you a renewal packet. If you do

not have a PEAK account, you can create one at CO.gov/PEAK. You can also contact your

Ouray County Social Services to make sure your address and other contact information is up to date. You will receive a renewal packet in PEAK when your renewal date is approaching and through the Health First Colorado app if you are opted in. You can also see your renewal date in PEAK at any time. If you receive a renewal packet, make sure you fill it out, sign it, and return it by the due date. If you have questions about the renewal process, you can visit hfcgo.com/renewals.

Video: How the Medicaid and CHP+ Renewal Process Works - English and Spanish

Video: How to Transition from Health First CO to CHP+ or Connect for Health CO - English and Spanish

Personal Property Declaration Filing Reminder

The Ouray County Assessor reminds all persons owning, possessing, or controlling taxable personal property (furnishings, equipment and other movable personal property) that the deadline for filing a Personal Property Declaration Schedule is April 17. All persons who own, possess, or control taxable personal property with a total actual value greater than $52,000 per owner, per county, are required to report the personal property to the county assessor. Failure to declare your personal property each year by the deadline will result in the assessor valuing your property using the "best information available" and attaching a penalty to your tax bill. If you did not receive a declaration schedule, please contact the county assessor at 970-325-4371 or via email at [email protected].

All personal property with a total actual value in excess of $52,000 (per owner, per county) is taxable unless specifically exempt by law.

Taxable personal property includes:

· All residential household furnishings used to produce income

· Equipment, furniture, and machinery used by commercial, industrial, and natural resource operations

· Property used in an agribusiness that does not qualify as agricultural pursuant to 39-1-102(1.6)(a), C.R.S.

· Expensed assets with a life greater than one year

· Fully depreciated assets still in use

· Personal property in storage that is subject to IRS depreciation

· Leasehold improvements

-Equipment that is licensed as a motor vehicle (SMM plate or Z-Tab) is not reported on the Personal Property Declaration Schedule.

If there was a Ouray County Government Podcast, would you listen to it?

On the road with Road & Bridge

Watch the March Road & Bridge Report

Video - March 2023 Road & Bridge Update

Read the March Road & Bridge Report

Follow Road & Bridge on Facebook!

Ironton Abandoned Mine Lands Project Opportunity to Comment

Comment period open

February 28 – March 31, 2023

The GMUG in partnership with the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety is seeking public comments for the Ironton Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Physical Safety Closures Project. This project proposes to close 22 inactive mine openings along U.S. Highway 550–Red Mountain Pass, National Forest System Road (NFSR) #886–Corkscrew road and NFSR #887–Grey Copper road, approximately 7 miles south of Ouray, Colorado.

Closure methods for this project may include backfill, metal grate, cable net, bulkhead, polyurethane foam and grated corrugated steel pipe installations. The closures will eliminate safety hazards to the public, while preserving natural and cultural resources. Bat-friendly slot gates or exclusionary methods will be used at all sites considered to have potential for bat roosting habitat.

A full project description can be found HERE.

Comments may be:

Emailed to: [email protected].

Mailed to: Ouray Ranger District, Attn: Lindsey Binder, 2505 S. Townsend Ave., Montrose, CO 81401.

Delivered to the Ouray Ranger District during business hours, Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Faxed to 970-240-5367.

Comments for the Ironton AML Physical Safety Closures Project will be accepted through March 31, 2023. The project is currently planned for summer 2023.

Regional Climate Action Plan

On February 21, the Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved the adoption of the Ouray & San Miguel County Regional Climate Action Plan

A Roadmap to our Sustainable Future:

"This CAP is our regional roadmap for reducing GHG emissions and creating a sustainable, thriving future. The plan is intended to guide policy makers, organizations, businesses, and individuals in community planning across the next decade. The plan creates a timeline for high priority, ongoing, mid- and long- term actions. We focused on high-level action items that will support the whole region in achieving our GHG emissions reduction goals while improving our social and economic conditions."

Ridgway State Park adds to fleet through grant received from Colorado Parks Foundation

Through grant funding received last year, Ridgway State Park has added to its fleet of recreational equipment available to the public.

The park received a $5,000 grant from the Colorado Parks Foundation late in the summer of 2022. The funding went toward the purchase of 17 paddleboards, eight life jackets and 96 safety whistles.

Ridgway State Park is now proud to provide 28 paddleboards and one wheelchair compatible paddleboard available for public use. That also adds to the 2022 addition of floating wheelchairs, track-chairs and a beach mat that has increased the park’s accessibility for all users.

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife 2025-2029 Big Game Season Structure comment form is open for your input now

There are multiple topics being considered for input:

  • Alternatives regarding over-the-counter archery and rifle elk licenses
  • Alternatives for rifle season date structures for deer and elk
  • Adding rifle deer opportunities to the first regular rifle season
  • Adding a second regular rifle buck and doe pronghorn season
  • Early season (archery and muzzleloader) date structures
  • Current weighted-point draw system for bighorn sheep, mountain goat and moose

You have until March 15 to leave your input https://cpw.info/3YB3POe

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is seeking representatives for hunting and/or angling to serve on the Colorado Outdoor Partnership

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is accepting membership applications to fill two sportsperson representative positions on the Colorado Outdoor Partnership (CO-OP). Interested individuals are invited to fill out an online membership application no later than Monday, March 13, 2023.

The CO-OP is a collaborative of leaders that share the state-level vision that in 2050, Colorado’s people and economy thrive because of our healthy lands, water, wildlife, and working farms and ranches, accompanied by improved, inclusive outdoor recreation, hunting, and angling opportunities for all. 

CPW is seeking members that represent a hunting and/or angling organization or constituency. This individual will join other organizations involved in the CO-OP that represent the following sectors: agriculture, conservation, stewardship and environmental education, outdoor recreation, hunters and anglers; federal, tribal, and local government and at-large members. 

How to Apply

Interested individuals must fill out an online membership application no later than Monday, March 13, 2023. If you would like to submit additional materials, such as letters of support, please email your supplemental information to Jody Kennedy, Regional Partnership Program Manager. CPW staff will reach out to you directly with final selection decisions. 

For more information about this process, please contact Jody Kennedy at (970) 281-7330 or [email protected]. For more information on the CO-OP, visit copartnership.org.

Ouray County Vegetation Management

Weed of the Month


How to Identify Canada Thistle: 

· Seedlings spring and fall

·Buds are 1/2 inch wide by 3/4 -1 inch long, have a tear-dropped shape, and lack spines

·Flowers are white to purple

·Flowers June-August

·Up to 5,000 seeds per plant, many remain viable for over 20 years

·Leaves alternate, topside dark green, underside usually lighter

·Most recognizable in mid-July when flowers change to seed heads with obvious white fluffy tops

Canada Thistle causes these effects in the environment: 

·Aggressive perennial with extensive root system that can spread up to 15 feet laterally

·Reproduces by seed and rhizomes, so cutting is not an effective form of control of this noxious weed 

·Highly invasive, severely reduces pasture capacity and desirable forages

Ouray County Vegetation Management urges all county residents to manage any Canada Thistle infestations with elimination in mind.

Weed control is a community effort!

 Please do your part.

See the Ouray County Vegetation Management website for an identification tool, to help you identify all weeds of concern in Ouray County.

For questions about noxious weeds, please contact Julie Kolb, Ouray County Vegetation Manager: [email protected] 

What's new with Public Health?

COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Coming to an End

Based on current COVID-19 trends, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is planning for the federal Public Health Emergency (PHE) for COVID-19, declared under Section 319 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act, to expire at the end of the day on May 11, 2023.

What will not be affected:

  • Access to COVID-19 vaccinations and certain treatments, such as Paxlovid and Lagevrio, will generally not be affected. 
  • FDA’s EUAs for COVID-19 products (including tests, vaccines, and treatments) will not be affected.
  • Major Medicare telehealth flexibilities will not be affected.
  • Medicaid telehealth flexibilities will not be affected.
  • The process for states to begin eligibility redeterminations for Medicaid will not be affected.
  • Access to buprenorphine for opioid use disorder treatment in Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) will not be affected.
  • Access to expanded methadone take-home doses for opioid use disorder treatment will not be affected.

What will be affected:

  • Certain Medicare and Medicaid waivers and broad flexibilities for health care providers are no longer necessary and will end.
  • Coverage for COVID-19 testing for Americans will change.
  • Reporting of COVID-19 laboratory results and immunization data to CDC will change.
  • Certain FDA COVID-19-related guidance documents for industry that affect clinical practice and supply chains will end or be temporarily extended.
  • FDA’s ability to detect early shortages of critical devices related to COVID-19 will be more limited.
  • Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act liability protections for may be impacted.
  • The ability of health care providers to safely dispense controlled substances via telemedicine without an in-person interaction is affected; however, there will be rulemaking that will propose to extend these flexibilities.

Learn more about the Transition Roadmap

Video - March 2023 Public Health Director Update

Watch the March Public Health Update

Follow Public Health on Facebook

Call the Public Health office to schedule your vaccine appointment - 970-325-4670

Free at-home COVID-19 tests federal program reopened for winter. Every U.S. household is eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-⁠19 tests.

Whether it’s tax credits that put more money in your pocket, free online tax filing services, or free in-person tax help – Get Ahead Colorado is here to help you get the most out of your taxes.

File your taxes for free online, on your smartphone, or get help at an in-person Colorado VITA/TCE site.

Dropbox damaged in vehicle accident

The County dropbox in the City of Ouray (on the corner of 6th Ave and 4th St by City Hall) was damaged in a vehicle accident. Until we can get it replaced, please bring any payments and correspondence to the Courthouse or use our dropboxes in Ridgway or Colona.

Board of County Commissioner and Planning Commission

meeting agendas, packets and Zoom credentials are available on our website. Schedules often change so it is best to double check our website for current updates/changes. 

Did you miss a meeting and want to know what happened? Recorded BOCC meetings and work sessions are available to watch on our website!

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