The deer population at the hot springs is not "ours." They are wild deer even though they act tame. A few of the deer in our area have realized that the hot springs is a safe haven from hunters. From a wildlife management perspective, the deer have overpopulated the Sangre de Cristo range and the hot springs shares in that problem. The best solution would be to thin the herd but managing a hunt here would be difficult and would generate harsh criticism from visitors.
Deer are browsers. Their natural diet is forbs and branches. They don't eat much grass but they do eat the new growth on trees (oaks, cottonwoods, aspen), and bushes (currants, willow, mountain mahogany, wild roses, and other leafy bushes). Unfortunately, people also feed the deer, which has made them less wary and "spoiled" their appetite for their normal food. There are a lot of trees and bushes here so their normal sources of food are sufficient even though their numbers are more than the normal carrying capacity of this environment.
Natural habitat for deer includes predators such as coyotes and mountain lions as well as thinning of the herd due to harsh winters and cold. Even though there are coyotes and mountain lions nearby, those predators are kept at bay by the consistent human traffic. In addition, we have had several mild winters. This has added to the deer overpopulation.
We ask our guests not to feed the deer. Hand feeding can lead to the deer aggressively begging. While we all enjoy seeing the new fawns every summer and take pleasure in watching the deer at close range, we do not manage the population. The deer are not fed and their only protection is that we do not allow hunting around the hot springs due to safety concerns.
We Give Thanks:
To the land trust founders and their vision to protect and preserve this amazing piece of earth.
To the board of directors who serve with collective experience, skills, knowledge and wise counsel that moves our organization plan forward.
To the dedicated staff motivated by their passion to support OLT's mission and who have helped co-create the ranch component of our educational program.
To the volunteers who have come to help with the work of improving our land resource and are joining in building community that celebrates healthy, local food.
To the guests who visit and tour the ranch, meet the animals and learn about our growing development and how to get involved.
To the land, water and livestock, which nurtures the soil that will help us move toward a secure agricultural future.
For the bounty on our table, the goodness of love, laughter, sun, and rain.
Colorado Gives Day is an annual fundraising opportunity that adds to your donation to your favorite non-profit. There is a partial match when donations are made through Colorado Gives to listed participating organizations. To see our profile, search the Colorado Gives site and look for Orient Land Trust
Valley View Hot Springs will be closed from December 1 through the 28, reopening on December 29. A tradition here at the hot springs, it's a time for staff to work on maintenance projects that are difficult to do while guests use the facility. It's also a time for rejuvenation, peace and quiet for the springs, the wildlife and the land. This is the one time it is OK to tell your friends about Valley View; remind them that there is no admission to the hot springs for these four weeks. The OLT office will be open from 10 am to noon to check messages and make reservations, Monday through Friday through December 21. The office is closed from December 22 through the 26th for the Christmas holiday. You may also send an email to and leave a number and time to call you back. Regular membership benefits apply. We wish everyone a very happy holiday season and look forward to seeing you next year!
To all of the wonderful volunteers who donated time to Orient Land Trust this season: Our Volunteer Appreciation Weekend is scheduled for December 7 & 8. If you are a volunteer in good standing and have participated in our program for 2018 you are invited! Invitations will be mailed next week so please keep a lookout! If you have moved, changed your address or do not receive your invitation, please give Rosie a call after November 12th. Thanks to everyone who helps make our volunteer program a success, we couldn't do it without you!