The Cimarrons, from the Top of the Pines Facebook page. The Ridgway non-profit’s board hopes that a GOCO grant will allow them to finish renovations of a camp building and ac-quire yurts for summer guests. Courtesy photo.

By Caitlin Switzer

RIDGWAY—(March 5) With five energetic new board members, a hoped-for GOCO grant that would bring in additional funding, and the possibility of acquiring yurts for summertime events, Ridgway’s rustic Top of the Pines open space preserve and educational retreat may not be the area’s best-kept secret much longer. After all, with 175 acres and eight kilometers of regularly groomed ski trails, Top of the Pines has always been a popular winter recreation destination.


“With all of the snow, skiing has been fantastic,” lifetime TOP board member Liza Clarke said. “We generally get a lot of use in the winter, but if we get our grant, we should see a lot of use in summer too.” A former Girl Scout camp, Top of the Pines was purchased in 2002 by non-profit Top of the Pines, Inc. and given as a gift to Ouray County. In the years since, the non-profit has slowly but surely made progress toward the goal of establishing Top of the Pines as a sought-after venue for outdoor recreation, special events, retreats and environmental education.


If grant funds are awarded, Top of the Pines could finally finish a building renovation that began five years ago, and perhaps acquire some yurts for use by groups holding educational and special events at the camp, Clarke noted. Top of the Pines was featured on the Science Channel’s “How it’s Made” program in December, thanks to Colorado Yurt Company, which pitched the segment to the popular television show.


“The owners of our company are Ridgway people, and they have relationships and local ties,” Colorado Yurt Company marketing pro Ivy Fife explained.  “The television crew was just blown away,” Fife said. “They filmed up there in late September; it was one of those days—the Aspens were waning, but they still had plenty of color. There was snow on Sneffels. And then an afternoon thunderstorm rolled in–the full Colorado experience.  “Beautiful!”


To learn more about hosting events at Top of the Pines or making a tax-deductible contribution, call 970-318-6744.