Telluride Region


Telluride’s Valley Floor (Ryan Bonneau Photography)

Beginning with our founding campaign of protecting the forests under Sheep Mountain from logging, to the David versus Goliath-like battle to preserve Telluride’s Valley Floor, SMA remains the environmental watchdog of the Telluride region.

Ongoing Projects
• ensuring ecologically sensitive development in the lands bordering the Valley Floor
• encouraging a long-term monitoring program on the Valley Floor that involves student science
• protecting Bear Creek from development
• encouraging smart wildfire mitigation near residential areas, while ensuring natural system evolution on our wild lands
• monitoring ecologically sensitive management on the Telluride Ski Area

About The Valley Floor
To access the Town of Telluride, one passes by three miles of meadows clustered with cottonwoods, evergreens and wetlands. Former Telluride resident Ambassador Richard Holbrooke once said, “It’s a magical moment when you hit that field.” That field is Telluride’s Valley Floor.

After years of failed negotiations between the Telluride community and the owners of the Valley Floor, in July 2000, SMA initiated a human chain around the Valley Floor showing the unwavering community support for saving the land from development. In 2002, a voter-approved, citizen-initiated ordinance directed Telluride Town Council to pursue condemnation to acquire the Valley Floor as open space. After a long and often arduous legal battle, finally decided by Colorado’s Supreme Court, the Valley Floor was declared forever wild in June of 2008. This land has become a wildlife sanctuary, an experiment in ecological restoration and a growing educational opportunity for the region. SMA continues our commitment to the Valley Floor by encouraging the development of the Town’s Valley Floor Monitoring Program, working with schools to bring students into the field and working to reduce the environmental impacts from surrounding development. (See the complete story of the Valley Floor here.)



© Sheep Mountain Alliance