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Web Maester

Web Maester

Thursday, 04 June 2020 08:37

"Are you open?"

Most of our current questions are about re-opening. Although it might seem simple, there are many concerns that impact this goal. There will be additional requirements as well as changes to normal behaviors and expectations. There are specific aspects of Valley View and Orient Land Trust that could alter the stipulations that the county and state might demand.

Health officials are accustomed to pool waters that are chemically disinfected, filtered, pH adjusted, and recirculated. Valley View is a "Natural Swimming Area" that allows for untreated water for swimming and soaking. We wouldn't have it otherwise. The water from the springs continues downstream to provide habitat for threatened species of fish and for agricultural irrigation. During this pandemic event, specific recommendations from public health representatives for these natural waters are pending.

Becoming infected is the result of breathing air that has viral organisms or through contact with surfaces in enclosed, communal spaces. To prevent infection, minimize the time spent indoors with others, wear face masks to limit the dispersion of the virus. If unknowingly infected, (face masks primarily protect those near you and less so yourself), spread apart, avoid others beyond your household, and clean and disinfect surfaces frequently.

These factors are relevant to hot springs soaking, camping, and recreational activities. We are creating guidelines that prioritize safety and health of the people, guests and staff. Almost every aspect of our familiar ways of interacting will be affected. (Clothing optional recreation is not a big risk factor so we will continue to advocate for clothes free living and soaking.) There are going to be changes in other areas. Our daily capacity will be less. The hours of admission will also be less so that people can maintain separation from other people in acceptable numbers. There will be fewer shared spaces. Many things that we once provided will no longer be available. There will be extra attention given to cleaning the necessary shared spaces such as bathrooms. Some areas will be closed. Pool use will be much different.

Orient Land Trust is a charitable non-profit. Our normal operating budget strives for a relatively inexpensive recreational experience that generates enough revenue to meet expenses, accomplish our goals, and save a little for future endeavors. During the time of the virus we will be required to restrict our daily admissions. The good news is that we have decided to keep our fees low. However, this means that we will operate at a loss for an undetermined amount of time. Everyone wants to see us open. We lose less money by staying closed. It is a balancing act. It is wonderful that people want to be here but we would be careless stewards if we opened too soon. There are competing needs to consider.

The OLT/Valley View culture has, for decades, brought people together, created community, and relied on communal spaces. We are dedicated to making sure our employees have a safe environment in which to work and that our guests have as safe a place to visit as we can provide. We are working on it. It will be different from what you are used to when we do open. For a time, it will require an extra measure of cooperation, respect, and attention to personal responsibility from all of our members, guests, and staff to make this work. There is risk in bringing people together during a pandemic.

We look forward to seeing everyone again just as soon as we can. For now, we are closed. We will let you know when we reopen. Check the website from time to time. As we explore the new guidelines and consider the timing of reopening, we are taking steps to reduce our expenses. Beginning June 9, the office will be closed. We will not be answering the phone. Those that want to make a donation to keep us alive can do so through the website. We are very grateful for the many that have donated and their generosity. Your support is so encouraging and gives us a little money to keep things going, even if it is a state that resembles hibernation. We understand that you may be disappointed. We ask that you be patient and consider the bigger picture. We are working diligently toward defining new procedures.

Thank you!

Saturday, 23 May 2020 23:55

(Virtual) Oak House Jam

What a treat! The May 22, Friday night virtual event with John Standish, Mark Allen, Edie Carey, and cameo appearance by Dylan Standish, was a joyful and heartwarming evening. It was nice to touch base with more than a hundred people. The music was wonderful and the nostalgia level was high. John included some video footage of past Oak House music jams and there were some brief scenes of the pools, the projects, and the grounds. People were generous and we collected more than $1,000 in donations while the music played.

Monday, 04 May 2020 21:08

Save the Date: Oak House Jam - May 22

 

7:30 PM 
Friday, May 22: 

(Virtual) OAK HOUSE JAM with Mark and John. 

Join OLT Board Director John Standish and our good friend and accomplished vocalist/guitarist Mark Allen for a live streaming jam! 

The show will feature a special appearance by truly mesmerizing and amazing singer/songwriter, Edie Carey.  

Join us on YouTube and chat with us during the live show! 

Monday, 04 May 2020 00:15

Ice-O-Lation Social

What? Can one be social in isolation? We so want to socialize during this time of physical distancing.  

A couple of weeks ago, we launched a fundraising campaign to help OLT during this closure necessitated by the Covid-19 virus.  Under usual circumstances, we would be greeting people, taking phone calls, and scheduling your reservations. Alas, as everyone knows, this is not a “normal” spring.  We value our guests and our staff and maintaining everyone’s good health is the priority. The most caring activity we can do now is to keep our physical distance while we continue to monitor the situation. We are looking ahead, evaluating the recommendations of the health professionals, and planning for the time that we can safely reopen the hot springs.  We plan to notify everyone about when you can return, including any revised guidelines that will apply.

Monday, 06 April 2020 21:24

Call to Action

Today, we extend our unwavering love and appreciation to each of you as we navigate the new COVID-19 reality. OLT does not conduct many fundraisers because everyone is always very generous. The present epidemic everyone is grappling with has us asking for your help once again. Now more than ever, we miss your smiles, and the sights and sounds of visitors along the paths, the music jams in the Oak House, and the conscious community that has flourished here and nourished us over the years.

Friday, 13 March 2020 12:31

Closed to Guests Due to COVID-19

Beginning noon Friday, March 13, 2020, Orient Land Trust—Valley View Hot Springs has closed to the public due to the COVID-19 virus.  We are being proactive to protect our community and staff. 

Relevant details:

  • Our hot springs water sources are natural springs. 
  • The pools and ponds have no added chemical disinfection. 
  • Our kitchens and bathrooms are communal spaces.

The Governor of Colorado has declared a state of emergency and cases in Colorado and the United States have the potential to grow exponentially. We encourage everyone to follow the recommendations addressing the spread of the virus that include social distancing. Closing the hot springs is a logical early step we take in our efforts to protect everyone. 

We wish everyone a safe and healthy future.  We are canceling all reservations through March. We will closely watch the developments. We will provide updates as we have more information, including being able to re-open when the danger to public health has passed.

www.olt.org


Take everyday actions to protect yourself and those you love

  • There are effective ways to reduce the risk to yourself and the people you care about.

    • Frequently and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

    • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, or use your inner elbow or sleeve.

    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

    • Stay home if you’re sick, and keep your children home if they are sick.

    • Clean surfaces in your home, and personal items such as cell phones, using regular household products.

  • Be calm and prepared.

  • ​People who are not sick do not need face masks to protect themselves from respiratory viruses, including COVID-19. Ill people should wear a mask to protect family members or in any scenario where needed to prevent the spread of germs. [SEE UPDATED GUIDANCE 4/4/2020]

source: CDPHE

 

RESOURCES

CDC: Coronavirus and Travel in the United States

CDPHE: Information on the Outbreak of COVID-19
CDPHE: Coronavirus Guidance and Information
CO HELP Hotline:
    303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911
Local Resources (Colorado): 
   Call 2-11 or (866) 760-6489     

   Text your ZIP CODE to 898-211

NMDOH: Coronavirus Guidance and Information
1-855-600-3453

Saguache County: Resource Information Updates

 

WAYS TO HELP

Help Colorado Now

NewMexico.gov: Here's how you can help during COVID-19?

Care and Share: Become a Volunteer

Feeding America

Kids Science Camp is scheduled for July 26 - 30 this year! We are trying a new process to register your child, a lottery! Camp is for kids ages 6 - 11! Camp is limited to 30 kids.
 
New this year, Youth Conservation Corps! We are expanding our program for youth ages 12 through 15. They will be participating in three in-depth workshops: 1) Solar Car Race, 2) Bats and Raptors migratory patterns, 3) Astronomy! YCC is scheduled for August 2 - 6 and is limited to 16 youth.
 
The Lottery will take place on March 15th so be sure to have your registration in before 10 am on Sunday, March 15th. Any one who does not get in will automatically go on our wait list.
Rosie Rosenberg
Thursday, 06 February 2020 19:14

Winter on the Ranch

 

"What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness." – John Steinbeck

Winter provides us with a new set of challenges and is often the hardest time on the ranch. 365 days a year, the animals must be kept warm and fed. When the pastures are covered in snow, the animals are hand fed in order to make sure they're getting enough food to build up fat to keep them warm. The water troughs must be constantly maintained to be sure they don't freeze. The shelters must all be winterized and the floors are lined with straw to provide an extra layer of warmth. The bedding that is most soiled must be cleaned out regularly and new straw added. The clean bedding provides insulation from the cold ground and provides a clean, cozy bed for the animals.

Thursday, 06 February 2020 19:11

Remember, Rate Increase Begins March 1

There will be rate increases in 2020. Admission fees are going up. Guests will be charged taxes directly. Rate increases will go into effect March 1, 2020.

  • Admission Fees: Day Pass Admissions will go up $2.00. Overnight Admissions will increase $4.00.
  • May through September, a day pass admission is going to be $17.00 per adult.
  • Overnight admission will be $34.00 per adult.
  • October through April, Day Pass Admission will be $15.00 per adult
  • Overnight Admission will be $30.00 per adult.
  • Children are still admitted at no charge. Pet fees will remain the same.

Taxes: OLT is required to pay several taxes, State taxes and Saguache County Taxes. We do not have to pay tax on admission fees but we do pay taxes on sales and lodging. These taxes have increased steadily over the years. Up until now, OLT has paid the taxes from the payment made. From now on, taxes will be added to the payment. For example, during the summer, Elm cabin costs $75.00 and up until this year, the taxes OLT paid (about $5.10 was sent to the state out of the $75.00 paid). From now on the tax will be added meaning that Elm cabin in the summer will cost $75.00 plus tax, or about $80.25.

We are aware that these rate increases may pose a hardship for some. We do not take this step without some long, critical examination. The expenses for OLT have continually increased. There have been several expensive projects. The Wastewater treatment plant installed in 2015 was three years in planning and design. The Colorado Public Health And Environment Drinking Water division requires that we treat the drinking water and that has taken two years of planning, design, and installation. The big project for the past two or three years that has taken time and effort is the new reservation system that will improve the reservation, check-in, and record keeping needs. This has been complex and we have endeavored to provide a complete transition of all the features that have made the check-in process for guests quicker and confusion free while opening the door for future features. The Wastewater Treatment plant has been reliable and involves less irritating odors than the previous, undersized system. The drinking water treatment is providing high quality water that tastes good and is safe and state approved. Both the Wastewater Treatment system and the drinking water disinfection system were mandated by the State of Colorado. The reservation system is nearing completion and although it will take training and practice to get up to speed, the opportunity to gradually improve and refine is promising.

Even though we have seen an increase in expenses, another reason for increasing the rates is to provide health insurance for staff. Employer provided health care is a real benefit for many. Nationally, there is a robust debate among state and federal legislators regarding ways to improve healthcare. In the meantime, we are addressing the very real needs of our staff to meet the present environment. The future may bring better solutions for all.

It has been ten years since admission rates went up. The Board of Directors and staff have continually and consistently advocated for keeping visitor costs down, Compared to other hot springs, the rates, even with this increase, are still lower than most. We continue to admit accompanied minors at no charge. We are maintaining a lower winter rate to offer a time that costs are lower and to encourage people to visit during the beautiful, white wintry months.

Your support is appreciated!

Thursday, 06 February 2020 19:09

Member Appreciation Weekend! Aug 28-29

Save the date! Member Appreciation Weekend this year will be August 28 and 29. This is a week or two later than we have done in the past but the best choice for moonlight and the rest of the summer's activities. We have not yet selected the entertainment but wanted to let you all know the weekend we have chosen. As all Member Appreciation Weekends, members only will be able to attend. No guests. Normal capacity limits will be waived - any member is welcome. We will have a band on Friday night and Saturday night and OLT will provide breakfast on Sunday morning. Parking will be along the road, which makes more space available for people.

Friday Night Band-Banshee Tree

Saturday Night Band-The Alcapones

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.