OLT - Items filtered by date: March 2023
Friday, 31 March 2023 20:04

Electricity at OLT

Orient Land Trust maintains a micro-hydroelectric power generating system that has been in operation in its present form since about 2000. All of the waters on the Valley View property converge at a filtration Collection Box before entering a 9000 ft. long, 12" diameter pipeline that drops 540 ft. in elevation to a Power House near the Valley floor. This delivers a pressure of about 232 PSI to the (Pelton) water wheel inside the building, which in turn drives a three phase, 480 volt Alternator/Generator. This electrical power is increased in voltage for the trip back up the hill and then reduced to normal voltage before being distributed exclusively for the Valley View Village. The amount of electricity that can be generated is dependent on the amount of water that is flowing from the springs. As I write this, we are making about 50 Kilowatts, constantly, every second. Though there is little to be done to make more electricity, everyone has some effect on how it is used.

Because we are not connected to the greater power grid, all of the power that we generate must be used onsite. There is no way to store it or move it and if there is not a destination for every electron, the generator gets out of balance and will quickly shut down altogether. Because of this constraint, we have devised a "load" to use the surplus. This can be energized as power is available or alternatively dropped as that power is called for elsewhere on the property. The destination for surplus power is the heater for the water to the Apple Tree pools. This has allowed us to steadily make our own power for decades.

How does it work? The surplus electricity is directed to the "Governor," which is comprised of computerized controlled circuitry and a custom built stainless steel 120-gallon water tank that carries twenty 4.5-kilowatt heating elements and which has the capability of engaging each heating element as power becomes available and to disengage as that power is called for elsewhere. This electrical diversion system is very responsive and necessary for the hydroelectric plant to stay functional. The system readily demonstrates the laws of cause and effect. When a dryer, stove, water heater, electric baseboard heating unit in a cabin, or the heater in a motorhome is energized, the effect is the power that was going to make the Apple Tree pool water hot is consumed. An element in the Governor tank that was heating water a moment ago turns off to supply these other immediate demands. These heating elements are what create the hot water in the Apple Tree Pools.

You can make a difference! When appliances are left on and unattended in cabins, the Pavilion or mobile homes, the power that they are using is removed from the available supply that provides current to a heating element at the Governor Tank. Therein lies the answer to the recurring question, "Why are the Apple Tree pools not hot?" For example, when a guest turns the thermostat in their cabin on, this engages a backup (only for sub-zero nights really) electric baseboard heater. Turning on electric space heaters takes heat from the Apple Pools. If guests leave windows and/or doors open, these baseboard heaters will just stay on and that power will never be available to the Pools. Comfortable, geothermal in floor or warm water baseboard units provide primary heating for all of the accommodation Cabins, Sunset Rooms, and Oak House so using the Electric baseboard heater should not be necessary except during very cold episodes.

Orient Land Trust, besides being a destination for Hot Springs, provides an opportunity for all of us to learn how our human supporting technologies work and how we can create sustainable practices so they are used in a manner that best benefits all of us. Please pay attention to your electrical and heating demands and practice conservative use both here at Valley View and wherever else you may be.

Thank You!

Friday, 31 March 2023 20:02


You can become a member of Orient Land Trust and get the benefit of advance reservations. The membership structure allows us to keep our rates lower.

Why are advance reservations important? Admission is limited. Daily admission is available until the limit is reached. In the winter, space is usually available on short notice, except for weekends. During the warmer months, we often reach capacity weeks ahead of time.

How does the membership structure work? There are several "levels" of membership. The more money that a person contributes, the higher the level of membership. Advance reservation benefits start at one month and higher levels of membership offer two and three months of advance reservations.



When you support Orient Land Trust by becoming an Annual Contributor, you become part of a community working to preserve land, history, ecology, and a unique niche as a naturist experience. You also benefit by being eligible for increased reservation windows and discounts. Other benefits, such as access to special programs and events, may also be offered in the future. The table below lists the benefits you are entitled to receive for one full year at each donation level.

Member Benefits
based on
levels of annual contribution
as of 2018
General Public

$1,000 and up
Receive annual OLT newsletter Email Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Recognition in newsletter  - Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Invitation to Member Appreciation Weekend - Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
$4 Discount for 2 Hour Quick Dip - Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ability to Make Advance Reservations Day Before 1 month

2 months 

3 months 

3 months 

3 months 

3 months 

Senior Discount for Accommodations (Age 65+) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Admitted for Day Use Without a Reservation No No No No No No No
May Reserve Two (2) Cabins, Sunset Rooms or
Vehicle Sites
No No No No No Yes Yes

You may become a member at any time, donations are tax-deductible, and benefits are good for one year from the date of your donation. 

Four easy ways to contribute!

  • Check - print the annual contributor form and mail it back to us
  • Credit Card via our secure online donation site.
  • Credit Card by calling Orient Land Trust at 719-256-4315
  • Donate in person on your next visit to Orient Land Trust / Valley View Hot Springs

Thank you for your support!

The tiers of membership: Friend level is the basic level and starts at $35.00 and is valid for one year. Advance reservations can be made one month in advance at this level. The next level is the Supporter level and advance reservations can be made up to two months in advance. The Supporter level starts at $85.00 and is also valid for one year. The Patron level is next with up to three months advance reservation benefit. The Patron level starts at $175.00 and is valid for one year. Additional levels of membership are available with some additional benefits but advance reservations are not made beyond three months.

On occasion, Orient Land Trust has engaged in fundraising to accomplish special projects by accepting additional donations outside of the Memberships. Two such projects include the Wastewater Treatment Plant and The Telescope and Astronomy Pad. In 2004 through 2008, we were able to pay off the amount needed to purchase the Everson Ranch. There will be ongoing opportunities to contribute as we get our Everson Ranch restoration project underway.  

Friday, 31 March 2023 19:55

Music and Stars at the Ranch

Save the date for a concert and educational event at the Ranch on May 26, 2023

We were approached by long-time OLT guest and member Jon Sousa about hosting a concert performance. We are pleased that we have a date and a general format for the event with music performances between 7 pm-9 pm and an astronomy program at 9 pm.

About the Musicians: 
Jonathan Sousa 
Lisa Lestander 

Jon solo guitar [YouTube] 
Jon's recording with Andy Reiner of Rustic Roots Music Camp (renting the ranch July 12-18) [Spotify] 
Lisa's acapella group from Sweden [YouTube] 

We'll pass the hat to support the musicians and we have comped their stay at the hot springs.

More information to follow and we'll be putting this in the newsletter and on Facebook when we confirm the astronomy details.

Thank you for your generosity and support!

Friday, 31 March 2023 19:37

World Naked Gardening Day Reminder

Reminder of the annual event Saturday, May 6th. 2023 at the Everson Ranch

Open at 9:00am. Start work at 9:30am and continue as long as people like to help that day.

This event is free. We are intending a fun, lighthearted, and liberating day in the garden. Gardeners and non gardeners of all ages are welcome.

Every year, gardeners all over the world get together to shed some or all their clothes to attend to their gardens and connect with the natural world. This year OLT is again joining the annual celebration at the Everson Ranch on May 6, 2023 and we invite you to participate with gardening in the open. We might use your help in the greenhouses, the garden and grounds keeping.

Dress in layers since the weather in early May at the ranch is unpredictable. It could be mild and comfortable but it could also be windy and cool. Precipitation, rain or snow, is also a possibility.

Please bring: Solid shoes, sunscreen, sun hat, sun glasses, water bottle, and gardening gloves. If you like, bring your lunch to enjoy after gardening. After lunch there will be a tour of the ranch for those that are interested. If you are thinking of trying naked gardening or just would like to experience working in the garden at the Everson Ranch, please come and join us!

Sabine Borchers, Garden Manager

Friday, 31 March 2023 19:25

Ranch Volunteers

The Everson Ranch in Colorado is looking for volunteers for the season of 2023!

Can you commit for a minimum of 2 weeks between May and December and enjoy a physical lifestyle outdoors in the San Luis Valley, then this might be for you.

As on any ranch there are lots of things that need to be done daily, ranging from animal care, working in the garden (lots of weeding), general clean up, clearing debris from downed trees, lawn mowing, cleaning bathhouse kitchen facility, irrigation chores, welcoming visitors and supporting hosting events. We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers that like to join these work projects as they come up. Basic gardening and carpentry skills are a plus but are not a must.

We offer:

The setting is a remote, quiet, peaceful 150 year old ranch on 760 acres with endless hiking possibilities. Two hot springs nearby; one, part of OLT (Valley View Hot Springs) and the other is Joyful Journey Hot Springs and Spa. Fresh vegetables from the garden in the summer. Majestic view of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. For pictures and background information, see to olt.org website or watch the Historical Everson Ranch, Orient Land Trust on YouTube. Depending on availability you could stay in our small cabin rent free, small, solar heated cottage (no running water, good heating, refrigerator), non-attached shower, bathroom and fully equipped kitchen in a nearby structure. Bringing your camper , RV or tent camping are also a possibility.

Use of Valley View Hot Springs as availability permits (in the range of 1-3 times per week).

For more information, send inquiries to: 

For the education, enjoyment, and well-being of current and future generations, Orient Land Trust: 
promotes a positive clothing-optional experience at all properties including Valley View Hot Springs, Orient Mine and Everson Ranch;
preserves the viewshed, including land acquisition; 
protects natural, wild, agricultural, and historic resources, in the northern San Luis Valley.