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& Landowners Association, Inc.

P.O. Box 237 - Idaho Springs, CO 80452


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GCCHLA Quik-Ref:
Definitions, Background Information, & Links to Other Pages

York Gulch (like the county) is changing rapidly. This Quik-Ref, therefore, contains information for new arrivals and the relatively uninvolved, as well as for those who have lived here since these were little hills. [Note: If old-timers don't either find what they need or like what they see here, they can berate the compiler (bsanders@scribble-count.com), who will ensure that the next revision reflects their views concerning what is important.]

Unless noted, the links stay on the GCCHLA Website; items in boldface are themselves entries in this Quik-Ref.



Bureau of Land Mgmt. (BLM)
Board of County Commissioners
Central City
Clear Creek County
Clear Creek Fire Authority
Colorado Division of Wildlife
certificate of occupancy (CO)
Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG)
Local Improvement District
South Access Road

Uniform Business Code (UBC)
US Forest Service (USFS)
US Geological Survey (USGS)
York Gulch
York Gulch Fire Dept. (CCFA)

This Quik-Ref is long (7-8 printed pages); the letters below take you to the indicated section.


access (to mining claims)
Access has, predictably, become a contentious issue. The BOCC has stated that, in principle, it will try to provide access to every claim -- but it won't always be possible, and the access may not be to the most desired end of a 1500-foot claim. One realtor has been reported to the State Realty Board, and a court case is pending. GCCHLA is preparing a list of all claims and established or potential access points. The Newcomers Info page has a good description of possible access problems. See also: roads.

aerial photographs
During the summer of 1999, CCC had the entire county photographed from the air. The resulting maps, (available from the Planning Dept.), show roads as they relate to the claims accurately for the first time. [Previously available maps had roads overlaid on top of the claims; both roads and claims were accurate independently, but the overlay wasn't.]

Early in Jan 2000, Central City announced intentions to annex the land along both the South Access road and the Bald Mountain Cemetery road all the way to the Octopus.

Common term for a large open space below Sheridan Mtn. (past the Octopus, past Waggoner's and Peters' old places, and almost to Scott Schaefer's). There's a mud sink there that attracts 4WD devotees with destructive tendencies.

Bears normally spend most of their time above YG's elevation. There are two exceptions, both based on food: early to mid-autumn, when they are "beefing up" for the winter; and in years of late spring frost or summer drought, when they can't find enough berries at the higher elevations. During these times, residents are urged to be especially careful with anything that looks or smells like food. Bears are savvy and have excellent memories; one or two windfalls and the bear will keep returning to the area. During the dry spring/summer of 2000, a rogue black bear did the following in YG: jumped a fence and killed a goat; peeled the top off a trailer used to store garbage; ripped down every bird feeder it could find; left claw marks on several decks. An early May freeze in 2001 prompted a kindlier, gentler brown bear to visit. Look around for unlikely attractions -- barbecue grills, for example -- and remember when cleaning them that bears have far keener smell than we have.

Beetle Kill Hill
The denuded hillside on the W side (right, as you descend) between Saddle and Chinook. Whether it's the pine beetle (the one we're concerned with now) or the related fir beetle, that's what they can do if left unchecked for a complete cycle.

Bureau of Land Management, the administrator until recently of YG public lands south of 39o 47' 30" (which runs E-W through the firehouse). The BLM office in metro Denver (see the Directory) contains all the 19th C mining documents (surveys, patents, etc.).

Board of County Commissioners (BOCC)
The official name of CCC's commissioners. There are three, who must reside in separate areas of the county, but all voters vote for all three. Each has a four-year term, which expires in an even year. Incumbents (with locales and term expiration dates) are: Bob Poirot (east, 2004), Fabyan Watrous (Idaho Springs, 2002), JoAnn Sorenson (west, 2004). All of YG is in the west region.

Described under zoning.

Central City (CC)
One of two very close towns in Gilpin County which approved gambling in 19xx. The move resulted in an economic boom for Black Hawk (which one encounters first when driving from Denver on SH 119), and economic depression for CC. The hard times have produced political turmoil and building plans that include South Access (which doesn't affect us much) and Eureka Valley (which definitely does). The many aspects of this problem comprised most of the special GCCHLA meeting in April 1999; see the minutes for details.

Clear Creek Development Council
It has several projects relating to the county's development, among them the telecommunications inventory described in the Telecommunications Article. It is based in Georgetown; information in the Directory.

Clear Creek Fire Authority (CCFA)
Formed in 1998 in order to consolidate all CCC fire fighting and to regularize funding; YGFD is in the East Division. (The E-W separation is between Dumont and Lawson.) The primary official raison d'être is to combat structure fires in the county; in reality CCFA spends most of its time rescuing motorists who couldn't identify what lay between Summit and Jefferson counties.

Clear Creek Mausey
See:  Mausey.

Certificate of occupancy. It indicates all inspections have been met, and all fees (including the newly enacted Road Impact Fee) have been paid.

Columbine Campground
A USFS campground 2 mi NNE of the Octopus. Primarily accessible from Central City, although a 4WD road from the campground connects with Pisgah Rd. just above the Octopus, at the foot of Mt. Pisgah. The campground is a concern for two reasons: (1) ATVers use it and are extremely careless with their campfires there; (2) they then use the connecting road to access the area from Pisgah to the Ballfield. When they do so, they enjoy tearing up the road that everyone above the Octupus has to use. Then they go offroad (illegal) and cause even more erosion damage. At all points along the way, their cigarettes and hot manifolds significantly increase fire danger. In 2001-2002, USFS conducted a Fuels Reduction program around the campground.

Consolidated Ditch
In the 1870s, Gilpin miners dug a ditch all the way from Alice to their claims above Central, and the remnants of a road more or less parallels most of it. A quarter-mile stretch east of YG Rd. is used and maintained by GCCHLA; the rest hasn't been used in decades. In 2000 the Board of County Commissioners designated the piece south of Alpine Way (and then branching off to join Red Tail at the top of Mule Deer Ridge) as an "historic road". This has made clear the need to designate what is (and isn't) a road in the area, a project GCCHLA's Road Committee is working on. See also: roads and "Spring Gulch"entries in this Quick-Ref and the "Road Permits" section of the "GCCHLA Activities" page.

Clear Creek Courant, the best source of local news. To subscribe, call 567-4491. [Other sources of local and regional information: Evergreen's Canyon Courier (674-5534); Nederland's Mountainear (303/258-7075) and K-GOAT radio (xxx).]

Denver Regional Council of Governments, a co-ordinating committee consisting of Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, Douglas, Boudler(?), Jefferson, and Clear Creek counties. Often pronounced "Doctor COG". Except for Summit and Eagle counties, all the counties involved in one of our major concerns (Denver-to-Summit recreational traffic) are DRCOG members. CCC Commissioner Bob Poirot is an influential member of DRCOG.

defensible space
An established fire prevention method, in which zones are established around structures to be saved in the event of wildfire. CCC is most concerned about zone 1 (next to the house) and has a policy (house construction, forestation, etc.) to determine what must be removed from that zone before a CO is issued. See also the article on Fire Prevention.

In the portion of YG that lies north of 39o 47' 30", which runs E-W through the firehouse, driveways that crossed public land were permitted through USFS. When these lands revert to the county, the status of the driveways is unclear.

xxx. There are several types of easements relevant to our situation:
necessity:  xxx
prescription:  xxx
xxx:  xxx.
Eureka Valley
A broad, shallow valley in Gilpin County 3/4 mi. NE of the Octopus. It was acquired by Central City in 1999 and, except for access problems, is ideally suited for development. YG is the natural route for ingress and egress to Eureka Valley: increased traffic, a possible water pipeline, and the nature of Eureka Valley development itself are all concerns to GCCHLA residents.

evacuation checklist
Leaving your house suddenly under the stress of an approaching fire is something you'll never do without a dozen mistakes; the Pre-Evacuation Checklist is designed to help you make as few mistakes as possible, and provide fire fighters with information they will need to act effectively to save your house.

firehouse / fire district
YG has a volunteer fire department, complete with a fire truck and a service vehicle. The fire house is the 3-door garage on the NE side of York Gulch Rd., just above Saddle Dr. (Note: The dividing line between old BLM property and USFS jurisdiction (39o) runs E-W through the firehouse; USFS is north, old BLM is south of the line.)

Fuels Reduction
(Sometimes called Hazardous Fuels Treatment). A group of fairly well coordinated plans between USFS, NPS, state forestry organizations, and other agencies to reduce wildfire threats, particularly along a WUI. Techniques include thinning, ladder fuel removal, broadcast burning, and clear cutting.. Action is normally lead by the Forest service and almost always includes an EA and period of public comment. In August 2001, announcement of a program to reduce fuels around the Columbine Campground in Gilpin County resulted in action in xxxx.

In 1991 a vote was taken concerning the introduction of gambling. Idaho Springs turned it down; Central City and Black Hawk (along with Cripple Creek, 90 miles south) approved it. Because Black Hawk is the first town encountered when driving up SH 119, it has boomed, while Central City has faltered. Hard times have prompted Central into Eureka Valley and pipeline projects, both of which threaten YG status quo.

historical roads
Defined under roads.

land exchange
Federal law permits governmental bodies to swap lands of equal value within a single state. The Forest Service, anxious to divest itself of fragments it can't administer, has executed this type of swap often with local state and municipal governments. The possibility exists that an exchange of Central's land on James Peak for parcels along YG Rd. could facilitate Central City's expansion down the Gulch. (Adjacent landowners, however, have first right of refusal on this land; see Small Parcel Purchase for another divestiture program which takes precedence over any land swap.

Local Improvement District (LID)
A special district created to finance road infrastructure; in CCC, this is normally through a small millage added to property taxes within the district. LIDs are authorized in Colorado statutes, and there are limitations in what the resulting tax revenues can be used for -- primarily improvements related to roads. (So, for example, a LID can be used to bury a utility line, but not to string a new one overhead; and almost any drainage improvement next to a road would be within the scope of a LID.) LIDs are normally proposed by petition of the local property owners, and must always be approved by them. CCC Site Development Office (303/679-2421) has jurisdiction.

M-1 / M-2 / MR-5 / MR-LT
Defined under zoning.

Master Plan
GCCHLA submitted a York Gulch Master Plan to the county in 1996, describing the lifestyle (density, electricity, road maintenance, etc.) its residents desired. GCCHLA intends to revise the plan to address the road issue in light of recent developments (Central City's Eureka Valley project, county road expansion, Road Impact Fee, etc.).

Land developer who, in the 1970s, tried prematurely to subdivide YG. His main legacies are (1) improved roads, (2) conflicts over the legality of a few of those roads, and (3)state legislation creating some exceptions to the previously consistent method of establishing precedence of competing claims by date of patent -- i.e., lower patent number.

Mining District
Areas, zoned M-1 or M-2, in which mining activities can take place. CCC's historical emphasis on this economic base has resulted in several significant relaxations (such as structure height and setback) that are enforced elsewhere. Section 7 of the CCC code applies.

The top of YG, on the Clear Creek - Gilpin county line. The roads of York Gulch, Pisgah, Bald Mountain Cemetery, and USFS xxx (down Woodpecker Gulch) all converge at the Octopus.

Old Stage
The name goes back to the 1860s through 80s, when the road was one of the more popular Central City-to-Denver routes.

For 19th C mining claims to be recognized, they had to be patented. This process required sufficient exploration to indicate probable presence of commercial minerals. The order in which patents were awarded originally indicated conclusively which claim had precedence in the case of overlapping conflicts; but in the 1970s YG developer Mausey affected passage of state laws giving precedence to a few claims he thought were particularly marketable due to views, access, etc. -- so this criterion is no longer completely reliable. [Note: Since the standards were gradually relaxed during the 1870s and 1880s, a patented claim with only perfunctory work performed is almost certainly of late date; but the reverse is not necessarily true.]

One of the first petrochemical-based erosion retardants applied to dirt roads (such as York Gulch). It now has several competitors but (like Kleenex, Coke, and Xerox before it), the brand name has a generic connotation as well. After trying PennzSuppress, Teriyaki Sauce is the variant that CCC has used for several years; but a newer and supposedly superior brand was applied to O-Mi-Gawd in late spring of 2002, results have not been released.

permitted roads
Defined under: roads.

pine beetle
The one we're currently worried about is the Rocky Mountain Pine Beetle. It attacks and kills primarily ponderosa and lodgepole pine. Infestation comes in cycles; we are 3 or 4 years into the current cycle, which should peak in about 2 or 3 more years. The last pine beetle infestation occurred in the late 1970s; the devastation on "Beetle Kill Hill" was caused in the 1980s by a related beetle which attacked fir trees. The infestation can be minimized (not eliminated) by felling and treating dead trees before the beetles fly, and by preventive spraying of important trees you want to save. See the pine beetle article for background and detailed procedures.

The term refers to plans by Central City to provide additional water in support of its expansion plans. Their preferred route is up YG. For more information, see the appropriate section of the minutes of the special GCCHLA meeting held 4/28/99.

A road, a peak, and a lake -- all north of the Octopus. The lake is at the foot of Mt. Pisgah on the NE side, where several houses have been built; the peak attracts intermediate ATVers who consider the south slope a challenge (illegal: call 679-2376). Beginners are content to tear up the road (unfortunately, still legal).

The pine beetle's point of entry (or attempted entry) on the trunk of the tree, marked by a sap ball resembling a popcorn where the tree tried to "spit" the intruder out. Only one or two such markings is a good indication that the ejection was successful; several are not a good sign, particularly if the leaves turn brown the following spring/summer.

"red card"
A card (actually pink), issued each year, certifying that the holder has passed the physical and knowledge requirements to participate in USFS fire supression activities. The qualification process was initiated several years ago after a series of tragedies (e.g., Storm King Mtn.) in which several firefighters died. Three YGers currently hold red cards: Jeff and Laurie Beckel, and Bill Sanders; more are welcome.

Red Tail Ridge
If you guessed it was named after the hawk, you're right; there's a family of them, and they can often be seen soaring over Spring Gulch.

Road Impact Fee
A $1200 one-time fee imposed after the defeat of the public works bond issue in November 1999. It is too early to tell (a) whether $1200 will be consistently applied to all new C.O.s, (b) whether it will remain a one-time fee, and (c) whether it will be rescinded if a future bond issue passes.

There are several types of roads of interest to YGers. Some are designated by the county, others by USFS.
Primary: (CCC designation) Major county thoroughfares. Always paved or graded gravel. Approved for school bus and mail delivery. First day snow removal.
Secondary #1: (CCC designation) Graveled, graded, and drained. Approved individually for school bus and mail. Normally first day snow removal.
Secondary #2: (CCC designation) Graveled, graded, and drained. Approved individually for school bus and mail. Second or third day snow removal.
Secondary #3: (CCC designation) Graveled, graded, drained; but not approved for school bus or mail delivery. May or may not be maintained year-round; if so, third or fourth day snow removal.
Secondary #4: (CCC designation) Wide variety of surfaces. Do not meet county specs, may be 4WD-only under some or all conditions. May receive maintenance by special direction, do not receive snow removal. Not included in Road Mileage Tax system.
historical roads:  (CCC designation) Used by county to justify assuming jurisdiction. The term "historical" is taking on the meaning of "earlier than last week", and a narrower definition is urgently needed (see Spring Gulch entry in this Quick-Reference.
permitted roads:  (USFS designation) Refers to roads which have been permitted for private use. [Translation: we pay for the "right" to pay to maintain them; but recreational vehicles up from Denver or over from Central can destroy them for free. Try explaining that to someone turning hookers on the Ballfield.]
Schedule A : (USFS designation) Determined annually by agreement with CCC.
It may surprise some that no road within GCCHLA jurisdiction (including Pisgah and even YG itself) is above Secondary #4. Beginning late 1999 the county began imposing a Traffic Impact Fee -- but, unfortunately, the privilege of assessing the fee does not carry with it much responsibility for maintenance. [Related topic: Association's road activities.]

Work (primarily plumbing and electrical) performed early in the construction process. It gets important infrastructure in place and indicates to inspectors early in the process that the UBC is being complied complied with.

See: South Access road.

The only "sewer system" we're ever likely to have. It's a more complex issue than is generally appreciated; see the article on septic tanks.

Small Parcel Purchase
An act of Congress provides preference to adjacent landowners whenever public lands are made available for private purchase; and most YG mining claims have such adjacent land. The local Forest Service district is anxious to get rid of these small fragments, and moves as fast as monoliths can to comply. Late last year, GCCHLA coordinated the submission to USFS of purchase requests; requests can still be made to USFS on an individual basis. Cost (including all surveys and paperwork) is estimated at $5-8000/acre; time required for completion is several years, which could increase market price. For more information, see the article in the Archive, and the appropriate section of the minutes of the special 4/28/99 GCCHLA meeting.

solar energy
The primary source of power if you'll be living off the grid. (Actually, passive solar should be a primary source of heating whether on the grid or not; for more information, see the Solar Energy article in the Reference Section.)

South Access
The term refers to the route from the Hidden Valley off ramp (I-70 exit #xxx) east of Idaho Springs to Central City. South Access (as opposed to a "north access", which if built would go up YG) will lead directly to Central -- an important point to the beleaguered town, because Black Hawk is the first town encountered when driving from Denver on SH 119 and gets most of the gambling traffic.

Special Use District
An area in which a special property tax is levied. State law requires that (a) the tax be approved by affected property owners only in even-numbered year, and that (b) the money be used only for specifically defined infrastructure improvements. The possibility of using the provision to provide better road grading and maintenance was briefly discussed at the Nov 2001 homeowners' meeting.

Spring Gulch
The "real" one is south of I-70, off SH 103 in Chicago Canyon. But there's a spring above Batalle's mine on Red Tail Ridge Rd. and several USGS topos label the gulch as "Spring"; so if you're talking to anyone outside YG, you'd better be specific. Large aspen (some fallen, some standing) had blocked all but human foot travel for years or decades, but in 1999 the Board of County Commissioners accepted illegal construction work performed in the previous weeks as indication that the road was "historical". The need to determine what roads are (and aren't) open to transportation is discussed under the Road Permits section of the "GCCHLA Activities" page.

"Teriyaki Sauce"
YG slang for the latest petrochemical erosion retardant used by CCC; some attribute the origin to our ex-Fire Chief. The name comes from its sloppy texture when applied (which makes it stick to vehicle tires).

Traffic Impact Fee
A one-time fee, established by CCC in Jan. 1998 by resolution R-98-99, that is applicable to all new and significantly remodeled construction. Size of fee depends on impact (location, size, use of building, financial straits of county, etc.): call Clerk and Recorders Office (303/679-2339) for estimate.  See also: roads.

Uniform Building Code, the basis of CCC's construction regulations.

US Forest Service, administrator of all federal public lands in GCCHLA's jurisdiction (T. 3 S, north of (39o 47' 30"). The ranger's office is at 101 SH 103, just south of I-70 exit #xxx. Phone: 567-2901. (Note: Land south of 39-47'30 belonged to BLM until it was transferred to CCC in 1998(?).

US Geological Survey, the maker (or source) of the best maps of the region. The USGS surveyed the area in 1940-41, and the 1942 maps are still widely used -- though the latest revision (1970s) used aerial surveying and is much more accurate. The CCC Commissioners like to use the the 1942 series to determine that the overgrown track that someone illegally bulldozed a week ago was, in fact, an historical road.

A waiver of a county regulation (setback, easement, height, etc.) granted for a specific, well justified, instance. The petition is expensive, the process fairly lengthy, and the result unpredictable. The authority that grants/denies is normally a county agency (such as the Planning Commission), but it is occasionally the Board of County Commissioners.

Abbreviation for York Gulch.

For YG residents, the term refers to the action taken in late 1999 by Clear Creek County in anticipation of receiving land from either BLM or USFS. Zoning xxx is Carol Wise (569-2360). The designations that were applied to YG are:
Buffer:  No improvements allowed. (If you purchase USFS land which CCC has zoned "Buffer", you will need a waiver before building or bulldozing.)
C-1:  Commercial--Light Use.
I:  Industrial.
M-1:  Primary use, mining (onsite residence permitted). If used as residence alone, must conform to all MR regulations.
M-2:  Mining only, no onsite residence allowed without a variance issued.
MR-5:  Mountain Residential, 5-acre minimum to apply for building permit.
MR-LT:  Mountain Residential, Light (35-acre minimum to apply for building permit).
NR-PC:Natural Resources--Preservation & Conservation.
PD:  Planned Development.
Rev. 4-Jul-02
Related Options:
   Newcomer's Info page    |   Road Permits portion of "GCCHLA Activities" page
   The Telecommunications, Septic, Solar Energy, and Fire Prevention articles also have glossaries.

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