Meeting Minutes of the Grand Mesa Nordic Council
14 Oct, 2021

GMNC MINUTES  9-8-21 

 

Present:  Larry Gruel, Tom Ela, Joe Ramey, Dan Tille, Colleen McCallister, Lynea Schultz-Ela, Cameron Tyler, Christie Aschwanden.

Lynea and Dan, the current Co-Chairs, called the meeting to Order and read the Mission Statement at 6 p.m.  

Cam’s computer connection cut out several times due to his location during the first 10 minutes of the meeting, and the remainder of these minutes were transcribed from audio only.

1.  Budget was reviewed and discussion of trail signage, race income, long-term and low-snow year costs, grooming expenses, depreciation.   Larry discussed filing GMNC tax return and search for an auditor for small non-profits.

2.  Forest Service Scales Lake Road (SLR) issue discussed, and prior records of GMNC reviewed.  Deal with FS for no mechanized use was not a handshake deal.  Joe Ramey and Christie have a timeline of the information and communications since 1999.  FS has SLR designated as non-motorized use.

3.  Secretary and minutes discussed.  FS issue has emphasized importance of GMNC having a record and keeping track of what has happened.  Decision made to copy board@GMNC.org on all official communications outside the organization by all board members.  Dan is going to set up that email address.  Lynea mentioned making this an official policy of the Board (Bylaws).  Cam is going to put the minutes from the May, June, August, and September meetings on Google Drive for other board members to edit (Lynea took minutes from July).  Edited minutes will then be approved for public.

4.  Executive Director update by ED Christie Aschwanden:  Timber sale took up a lot of her time, but progress has been made.  Options discussed with the FS including restricted truck hours, median/safety issues for logging trucks, alternative early trails (none really).  We are concerned that the FS leadership is still not treating us as partners, but Christie is working with Mike Jones to create a better relationship and she feels hopeful that he will help change the tone of discussions.   Joe pointed out that we need to keep going on establishing a new relationship with the FS – not what Christie signed up for, but will affect the future.  Christie specifically mentioned getting the Annual Operating Plan (AOP) and Master Development Plan (MDP) approved and will keep on it with Mike Jones.  

Tom pointed out that sharing the road is a non-starter (not wide enough).  Parallel trail not going to work either.  Mike Jones should understand when he sees it (site visit planned).  We need to know our December dates of events and get trails groomable.  15 events will be affected by the SLR closure.  Christie mentioned that the Aspen Nordic Council and people outside Mesa County were writing supporting the 11/15/21 deadline for mechanized use of SLR.

Lynea mentioned that the trails need to be groomed so that people ski by the donation boxes at Skyway.  Christie said that if timber sale does, best decision might be to close Skyway lot for safety.  She questions whether County Line will be big enough and that FS hasn’t really thought how this sale is going to function through.  FS is not aware that Dave grooms so that CDOT can keep the lot open.  Someone needs to let FS know we need a ramp and can’t just plow lot to the side.  FS has a safety plan (Timber Sales are required to have one and it is in the Contract), but it appears they want to just put up signs.

5.  Snow Rangers.  Board voted NO on paying for these.  The Board had previously indicated it might pay up to $3,750 towards Rangers before October, 2020.  The FS brought this back to GMNC since it was raised by GMNC as a need.  However, the FS did have a Ranger last year and GMNC does not see the benefit.  Joe is going to write an email to FS about this, and can add the Timber Sale as an impact on the decision.  Board prefers to do our own ambassador program – Ranger not doing that ambassador work based on past experience.  

6.  Operations.  Dave Smith will be head groomer 2021-22.  ED will supervise.  Discussed other people to hire, application and form to use.  ED is going to inventory skills we have to see what skills we need before looking/hiring.  We are losing Rich (mechanic skills).  Dave wants to be on the mesa a lot and we need a backup for him.  Need 4-5 people including backups.  ED suggests we make the hiring process more formal, with ad on the website (for ski instructors too).  

7.  Website.  Dan discussed needing a meeting with Martin.  Martin has a big list of proposed work for the site,and Dan (and Christie) are looking for ways to reduce this and lower the costs..  

Misc: Discussed potentially joining Colorado Cross Country Ski Association, and decided to put off again.

8.  Fundraising.  Planning about and addressing corporate sponsorships discussed.  Look at map ads.  Do a Skyway club and ask people to donate $1,000.  Try to create a culture and need to make a launch.  Will need to make lots of phone calls and get this together fall, 2021.  Tom is working on a document about this and why support GMNC – he has a good template.

Tom has emailed and called Kannah Creek to arrange a meeting.  Discussed this Saturday’s event in Paonia and who would bring what for 4-9 p.m.  Also discussed writing a grant for race bibs.  Dan mentioned he has a GMUG FS plan meeting – reviewing for revisions to the plan, and will have feedback at next meeting.

Dan and Christie are also working on the AOP and 2 new signs (etiquette and no dog consensus signs) to be posted at 15 key intersections.  They will email the board what these look like.  The idea is to discuss them for the AOP and get approval.  

9.  Volunteer days.  Lynea described most recent volunteer day work, with 8 people participating.  Decision to not do a volunteer day on 9/15.  Progress made on painting and taping poles, notes on trail improvements, post replacements and repairs, diamonds replaced, tree-cutting.  Discussed work at Ward being complicated and not easily accessible by vehicle.  Need a plan to do on foot on 9/22.  New maps and trail signs are needed – FS removed a sign at Skinned Horse.

10.  Vision Quest.  Lynea needs input from people.  Topics include:  permanent warming hut, walkers on skate trails, GMNC fundraising, corporate partnerships/sponsorships, equipment needs, snowshoe trails, COPMOBA partnership, mapping and expansion of trail system, membership and costs.  Lunch will be provided.

11.  Newsletter.  Want to do 100% electronic and start assigning articles.  Want to go out 11/1.  Tina has done in the past – Tom going to do a mockup.  May need a graphic artist and he will solicit articles.  Can list sponsors in the newsletter.  

12.  Board composition.  Dan and Lynea are going to advertise for an Operations Board Member.  

 

13.   Miscellaneous.  Lynea says we need a popup on calendar to remind for insurance, Secretary of State renewal, and other GMNC business.

 

Dan moved we conclude the meeting and Joe seconded.  Approved unanimously.