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New campground at Shelf Road
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By Leo Paik
Administrator
From Westminster, Colorado
Apr 22, 2013
From our feedback:

Hopefully this email will fall under the eyes of the appropriate person at your magazine or you could forward it to the person that would best be able to help.

I am currently working on a project to build a new campground at the Shelf Road recreation area north on Canon City in effort to promote a better outdoor camping experience in the area as well as educating people on sustainable living and green energy at the same time. We are currently trying to get as many people as possible to show support of our idea and dream before we launch our campaign on May 1st and put up a video on a crowd funding site in order to try and raise the funds. I was reading your guiding principles and I thought you may be interested in partnering with us in order to achieve a broader impact. If you have any ideas or suggestions I would love to hear from you.


Getting like minded people together to make it happen is the only way that a sustainability initiative going to work. Not only for our campground but for the earth and the people that inhabit it. If you are interested, I would be glad to set up a meeting at your convenience.

Here is the link to our page:
facebook.com/shelflife.co

Most Sincere Regards,

Kaleb Brown
Co-Founder of "Shelf Life Campground"
KALEB.BROWN.22@GMAIL.COM

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By ryan laird
From Fort Collins, CO
Apr 22, 2013
The Facebook page provides very little information on the campground details. It looks like it would be 15 miles northwest of the Shelf Road climbing area ... as the crow flies. The campground would be a solid 30 to 40 mile drive to get there from the Bank Campground.

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By JCM
From Seattle, WA
Apr 22, 2013
Edited based on subsequent post:

Additional camping available near Shelf Road will be a good thing...it can certainly fill up there on weekends. Best of luck.

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By Kaleb Brown
Apr 22, 2013
Sunset at The Bank campground
Hello,

I am one of the co-founders of the "Shelf Life" campground project that we are trying to make happen on the North plateau of the canyon. The road that runs north past cactus cliff (just past the toilet)is the road that leads to the property. Yes, we will need to update the road; we understand this and are already working with the BLM on accomplishing this. We know that the Facebook page is vague at the moment but our video that we are currently working on to put on the crowd-funding site will answer all of your questions. Our goal is to make Shelf Road a better campground that will serve more people. Providing at least water, showers, recycling, compost, and a place to wash dishes. We appreciate your feedback and look forward to working with avid visitors of the area to make it the best experience and camping for all. The land is literally across the canyon from the bank campground, maybe a ½ mile as the "crow flies".

Relative location of Shelf Road Campground!
Relative location of Shelf Road Campground!

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By ryan laird
From Fort Collins, CO
Apr 23, 2013
Thanks for the clarification Kaleb. The map on your facebook page placed the campground by Cover Mountain just east of Guffey, CO. Anyways, it sounds like an interesting project.

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By Greg Kimble
From Colorado
Apr 23, 2013
Camping at Shelf is a nightmare so more spots to pop a tent wouldn't hurt. I would be interested in hearing your sustainable practices though.

It would be difficult, at best, to add 30 extra campgrounds to an already overstressed area and have it be sustainable. That becomes increasingly difficult when you add an amphitheater to the layout. No part of an amphitheater is ecologically sustainable. It may make a campground more financially appealing to a private landowner (assuming this is on private land) but you can't add that kind of traffic and expect it to be good for the bunnies and trees. Semi-arid climates don't recuperate very quickly. Especially not with weekend traffic like shelf.

Also, why the shower/bath complex? We're climbers damn it, shower when you get home. Its a waste of water and an added expense to campers.

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By Hudson DeWeese
Apr 23, 2013
?
Hi there!

I am the other co-founder of the Shelf Life campground. First, I want to say thank you for your interest in this project. Your interest and constructive criticism has been very helpful. Once our video is released, many of these details will be covered but we understand the lack there of currently.

As we were doing preliminary research, this research document BLM Shelf Road created by the BLM shows the exponential increase of visitors since 2006. Without an increased infrastructure, there is even a greater chance of damage to the area.

Many ideas have been put in the air as we are still in the preliminary phase. The amphitheater was just an idea to hold educational talks and events about sustainability. By no means would it be a mini Red Rocks.

Shelf Road is becoming a large recreation area for many more activities than just climbing (mountain biking, hiking, horse back riding, ect.). Families commonly camp there and some visitors stay much longer than just a weekend. In order to improve on the camping experience, a recycling/compost/waste center would be available instead of people not separating there trash and carrying it out. The showers won't have running water to them, it would be a simple shower bag that you can fill, warm in the sun, and shower in at the end of the day. The greywater will then be filtered to use on vegetation and organic plant growth. This would also save people a trip to Canon City if they "had" to shower (conserving gas and emissions). The use of composting toilets will decrease the lovely aroma that we are all use to and create fertilizer for vegetation as well.

Please, if there any other details or concerns any of you may have let us know and we will address them. Our video will be released on May 1st and we will be excited to receive some feedback!

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By slim
Administrator
Apr 23, 2013
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
which road(s) will access the new campground? ie, will it be further up shelf road, or would you access it via the road that drops down into the bank and then eventually cuts back right onto the top of the mesa?

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By Tzilla Rapdrilla
Apr 23, 2013
This is a great idea as Shelf Road probably needs the campground doubled or tripled to accommodate all of the visitors. If you are planning to upgrade the road that runs up between Cactus and the Vault you should get some cost estimates on that first before you go too far with other parts of the project. Even though there's a road of sorts already there, making that an all weather road capable of handling a lot of traffic may be prohibitively expensive. There may be other ways to access your proposed location through the Bank valley and looping around, just something to think about.

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By Greg Kimble
From Colorado
Apr 23, 2013
That makes much more sense. You are right in that something needs to be done to handle the amount of traffic Shelf sees. It sounds like you have a good plan and could really be a benefit to the area.

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By Matthew Cox
From Colorado City, Colorado
Apr 23, 2013
I WOULD LOVE TO HELP!! Me and a pretty big crew were there last weekend and were commenting on the... odd lack of camping for such a popular spot.

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By sibylle
From Colorado
Apr 23, 2013
Stone of Ignorance.
A trash / recycle / compost center sounds good - but how much will it cost to pay someone to take the stuff away? Same with composting toilets (I have one in my house in the mountains), but again -- that's an expensive item for the toilet for multiple people. Have you priced them out? What's the eventual funding source for these items?
(I do support this -- but not if camping fees go up to $20 per night.)

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By Kaleb Brown
Apr 24, 2013
Sunset at The Bank campground
Our plan is to keep it as cheap as or cheaper than the Bank campground. It all kind of depends on how much we raise through crowd-funding. The more we can raise for the front end cost of buying the land and developing everything means the less we have to take out in loans to make it happen. If we can raise everything we need our ultimate goal would be to make everything as cheap as physically possible. We do not have all the answers right now, but we both will be living out there and taking care of the property and the campground to better keep costs low. We are looking into and researching some cool new technologies to take care of the waste situation. We are going to be as innovative as possible in dealing with the normal upkeep situations involved with something like this. We really aren't in this for the financial gains, because let’s be honest camping typically doesn't produce huge financial gains. But if we can keep our operating and upkeep costs as low as possible through creative ideas and thinking outside of the box then we can then make it hopefully cheaper than the existing camping in the area. Allowing visitors to enjoy the area without having to worry about how much it costs to camp. If anyone has any creative ideas to help we are all ears.

Our biggest challenge coming up is getting people to the crowd-funding that has our project video where they can then contribute however much they can or would like to. For those that do not know what crowd-funding is I encourage you to check out the site that we will be using called indiegogo.com. It is a very interesting idea that allows young entrepreneurs like ourselves to try and raise funds to pursue ideas and dreams that otherwise would not be able to happen, going through the traditional method borrowing money from a bank or investor. (Because of how much in debt college has put on both of us) The idea is that we set monetary values that you can contribute (could be a little or could be a lot) however much you want to contribute, and then for that amount of contribution you then in return get something from our project. Sticker, T-shirt, Free night stays, gear, etc. Kind of like pre-selling a product before you have it sort of thing. It is a lot easier to ask a lot of people for small amounts than one person a large amount.
On May 1st we will be posting the video. Then we have 60 days to raise as much as possible. So for those of you that want to help, the biggest thing you can do right now is generate support to our project through our Facebook page. Then after the video is posted it's just a matter of getting as many people as physically possible to watch the video. That is really the only way that this is going to work.
We have been working on this project for the better part of 6 months now and are truly committed to making this happen.

Again, thank you so much for your critical feedback and support. Please feel free to contact us through our emails or by posting on this thread. We will try and check it frequently and respond promptly to any posts.

Climb on,
Kaleb
Co-Founder of "Shelf Life Campground"

Infinite Shelf Life Logo  "Orange"
Infinite Shelf Life Logo
"Orange"

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By Darryl Roth
Apr 28, 2013
Me.
Have you contacted Mark Hesse? If not, he can be invaluable, if this is a project that is of interest to the Rocky Mountain Field Institute.

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By slim
Administrator
Apr 29, 2013
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
good call darryl!

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By Hudson DeWeese
Apr 29, 2013
?
Darryl,

We have not contacted Mark Hesse. Do you happen to know the best way to get a hold of him? Doesn't look like he has any contact information up on Mountain Project. Thanks for the recommendation!

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By Darryl Roth
Apr 29, 2013
Me.
First go to rmfi.org/ and see what they've done in the past and the way Mark and his organization think, so you can present your idea in a way that will be most effective... RMFI has had a BIG hand in Shelf projects in the past, so you'll probably have some interest.
Contact info:
815 South 25th Street, Suite 101 • Colorado Springs, CO 80904 •
(719) 471-7736

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By Kaleb Brown
May 1, 2013
Sunset at The Bank campground
Well here it is guys. Hope you like it!

indiegogo.com/projects/shelf-l...

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By Hudson DeWeese
May 2, 2013
?
What do you guys think!?!? Eager to hear input and suggestions!

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By slim
Administrator
May 2, 2013
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
liked the video, but it didn't have any technical/financial information. if you are looking for serious investors, or looking to make a good impression to agencies that can help or hinder you, you will need a pretty solid plan. enthusiasm is good, but without a solid plan and numbers backing it up, it will be really hard to pull off.

one big question that i have; what are you going to do about accessing it (ie the road)? there are only 2 roads that i know of that easily access the top;

1) the old cactus cliff road, which is currently closed to the public. even if you are able to re-open this road, it would require a LOT of work. it is very prone to erosion and a lot of work to maintain (particularly in the winter), and it is basically one lane.

2) the road that drops down into the bank and eventually hooks a right up onto the mesa. again, this is a single lane road that already requires serious maintenance and is difficult in bad weather. there aren't many passing opportunities for opposing traffic.


what sort of financial forecast have you made for operating the campground? are both of you planning on living there? with only 30 spots, and shelf being more of a weekend warrior getaway, is this realistic?

where will water come from? you might contact kirk miller (here on MP). he might have recent cost info for installing a well.

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By Mike Morin
From On the Road
May 2, 2013
Lincoln Lake
I dig the stoke, but how about a business plan that I can look at?

Also, your whole message is about sustainability and caring for the planet, but, and correct me if I'm wrong, it appeared the clip of the mountain bikers showed them riding off trail. Something which is not sustainable and is generally frowned upon by groups like IMBA.

Best of luck guys, I think your heart is in the right place, just not sure your plan is fully baked.

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By Kaleb Brown
May 6, 2013
Sunset at The Bank campground
Hello!

First off, thank you for the feedback! We like the discussion taken place, but we did think that it would be a little more positive. However, we were prepared for this and we are not discouraged. I will try and answer everything that I can.

So we have the numbers and information to back up our this business venture. We are tentative however to disclose this information because we think it is a great idea with an even bigger potential payoff in the future. We currently do not have the property so to protect ourselves from someone that might swoop in and snag it out from under us and do the same thing we are trying to do is the reason we have not published our entire business plan. And just to remind everyone donations made towards our project are simply that "donations" and in return you get our perk associated with it. This does not at all make you invested in our project in any way, other than a feeling of pride you might get from supporting a worthy cause. So we are not looking so much for investors at the moment as we are just looking for like minded people that care about change and want to show support and donate. If crowd-funding does not work, then we will go the standard business loan or investor approach to acquiring the funds.

As far as road access goes I have already touched on this earlier in the thread, but ideally we would like to use the cactus cliff road. We are well aware that this road will have to be upgraded to manage the amount of addition traffic up to our proposed campground site. We are already in preliminary discussion with the BLM on how to accomplish this. We are more than prepared to maintain upkeep and maintenance on the road because "Yes" we will be living up there. In order to keep costs low and keep everything affordable as possible we will be doing all maintenance and upkeep for the campground and road access.

Yes we know that this is a "weekend worrier" area. Based on the numbers from the BLM and research we have been doing the area is only getting bigger and more and more people will need a place to stay and camp. People also stay there for more than just the weekend, sometimes a week or two at a time. And if we can provide water and basic necessities that the other campground does not, then more people will be prone to stay longer periods of time. There is already a well on one of the parcels of property. We know that water will probably be an issue, we are already thinking of way to conserve our water usage and ways to recycle the water as well.

And as far as the video clip of mountain biking, that was what looked to be an overgrown old road access for cattle or something back in the day. It was only used to put into the video and we most definitely do not promote off trail biking. I can tell you this tho there are a lot of camp spots we have found down the road from the bank campground that are causing a lot more problems and will only increase in the future if nothing is done now to combat the issue. This might sound "counter intuitive" to develop a new campground to combat improper land use by overcrowded camping, but what do you think will happen 5 or 10 years from now if nothing is done? It will be nothing but a huge dust bowl and an area that once was an amazing place to bring family and friends to, will then be ruined for the future.

We truly have nothing but the best intentions and know what it will take to make this dream and goal a reality. We love the feedback we are getting and everything we are hearing is very useful in one way or another. We know that things are probably going to get even harder from here on out, but we are not going to give up. We know in our hearts that this is for the good of not only the area but could possibly make a huge impact on preservation for the future as well.

I hope this answers most of the questions that we received I think I tried to hit all of them. If I have missed something tho please feel free to ask again.

Thank you,

Kaleb
Co-founder "Shelf Life Campground"

Project video link:
indiegogo.com/projects/shelf-l...

Facebook Page:
facebook.com/shelflife.co


Shelf Life logo - CO flag.
Shelf Life logo - CO flag.

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By Ian Stewart
May 6, 2013
For those that are curious, I'm pretty certain that the land they're looking at purchasing is this:

landsofcolorado.com/colorado/l...

Which is made up of these two parcels, where the first is the highlighted area on the map they provided earlier (there's a button on the page to "show parcel map"):
qpublic1.qpublic.net/cgi-bin/c...
qpublic1.qpublic.net/cgi-bin/c...

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By TKeagle
From Eagle, CO
May 6, 2013
Ian, thanks for clarifying the location for all to see.

Kaleb, sorry, but after reading the conversation and thread I think you are totally misguided in your efforts here, mainly because of geography and your take on what 'sustainability' is, not because of your grasp of the consumer market for more campgrounds and camp spots, bike trails, etc.

Had you put a parcel under contract down lower, say walking distance to sand gulch campground, then you would have support from me and others I know that have been climbing at shelf for over 20 years. But, please, I think its safe to say you can spare us all the talk of sustainability this and that ... bottom line - you have picked a location for a private, for profit campground that is terrible and should not be approved by local authorities under any condition.

Many years ago, I had a friend have a severe seizure at cactus cliff and it took an incredible effort and an inordinate amount of time to have local area EMT's get up the road to get him stable back at the hospital in Town.

After that incident, and before the bank campground was 'connected' by a trail and the road up closed except to the few property owners, the road was truly the biggest hazard of the whole experience. On a wet day, it is impassible and/or a disaster waiting to happen. Have you noticed the collapse of a good chunk of road in the straight away before the toilet lately? There is no cheap way or effective way to fix that.

You can talk to BLM all you want, but unless you are prepared to upgrade that road (or any approach road) and have it meet certain standards for turning radius, width, pavement, drainage, guardrail (basically an entirely paved different road), your proposal will die a very quick death as it should.

Unless a fund runs deep on your investors side, I'd estimate that you will spend over $750k on road improvements alone to properly engineer it for the COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISE that you are proposing. You guys need to do lots more homework before asking for funding and support.

I'd start with a basic pro-forma and involve a qualified civil engineer and it shouldn't cost you too much to get some order of magnitude on the road. I'm probably under estimating the cost if you don't apply for a handful of safety variances from local road authority, which any sane public official would not approve looking at your commercial oriented proposal.

I think you'd better start looking at other parcels for the same idea, or better yet, put the collected funds to work with the local RMFI folks and Access Fund to improve what we already have at the Bank and Sand Gulch.

I'm by no means an ecologist, but I believe sustainability should first recognize the natural carrying capacity of a landscape. On most weekends, we are there already without sacrificing the quality of experience at the crags. I don't see how adding more people to the equation makes Shelf a better place to be.

On the other hand, most weekdays, however, we are climbing or camping at either existing campground practically alone. Get it? The campground has fared pretty darn well for as many years as it has been there- thank you very much. Assholes are assholes no matter how you accommodate them with campgrounds. People cut trees, trash sites, etc. all over the State not just Shelf. No need to threaten us with the 'it was once paradise, now its a dustbowl.. if you just approved of my idea, I would have saved you'. Please.

How many campers will you need just to break even after you have the land and engineering costs figured out. Less cost a night than the bank ?? Seriously - feel free to post the estimated capital costs including road improvements, not your business plan for running a small private campground.

Finally, we've been camping with family and friends here for a very long time (before cactus was open). We leave it better than we find it, we pack in and out all our trash and then some, we bring all our weeks' worth of water and food with us so we are traveling back and forth and best of all- we park at the bank or sand gulch and spend all week walking from camp to climb, hike or bike the road system.

A commercial campground in the wrong place to somehow prove this place we all love can be "sustainable" just doesn't add up as you have it proposed in this location.

I'm not trying to be a prick here, just not dancing around like others being polite as you posted and asked for input and well.. here it is. I will be more than happy to share these thoughts with the BLM, Access Fund, RMFI and any County authority as the process allows.
Thanks again for soliciting input through the forum and I hope you take this idea to a more suitable area down near sand gulch, where you will still have many of the same issues to contend with but at least a better start on many of the access issues.




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By slim
Administrator
May 6, 2013
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
agree w/ captain chaos pretty much 110%.

i definitely am psyched to see that you guys are willing to put in a lot of time and effort to do a really good thing. additional camping at shelf would be great, particularly as there is growing demand from the mountain biking community and other users as well.

like chaos said, i think the key is procuring land below - ie around the general sand gulch camp ground. there is a fair amount of flat ground for group sites to the northeast, there is potential for semi-private sights to the southwest, etc. the main road is already paved up to that point. it just has a lot more going for it.

if you build on the cactus cliff mesa there are a lot of hurdles. obviously the road up to cactus. this will not be cheap. the grade will require paving. there are erosion problems on the upslope and downslope side of the road. it is basically single lane, which isn't conducive to a bunch of people coming in and out of a campground.

on top of that, fremont county will probably require paving of shelf road up to the turnoff as a betterment before they agree to anything. for a long time they have put a lot of effort into getting cripple creek traffic to take the high park road instead of shelf, as maintaining shelf is a lot of work and a lot of money. again, that stretch of shelf road is basically single lane, and is not a good road during adverse weather.

again, i admire that you guys are trying to do but i think it is headed in the wrong direction. i think you are greatly, greatly, greatly underestimating the cost. you are willing to ask for donations, but not willing to attempt to procure financing through a loan or other means - which to me indicates a lack of commitment. if you want people to take you seriously, you have to put some skin in the game (usually a lot of skin). you will not be able to come up with donations that scratch the surface of the costs. i feel bad telling you this, but probably better me than someone else. without a solid game plan, technical feasibility, and a reasonable financial forecast, i don't see it happening.

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By Greg Kimble
From Colorado
May 7, 2013
Kaleb Brown wrote:
If crowd-funding does not work, then we will go the standard business loan or investor approach to acquiring the funds.


Slim, It seems like they are prepared to get loans. It is a little unfair to judge their commitment.

They have not disclosed what their initial capital looks like so we don't know how much they think they need to accomplish this. It's hard to say they are underestimating the overall costs when, as far as I have seen, they have not disclosed their estimates for an overall cost. Granted, those costs will be high but in 6 days they raised almost $30k. Even if it costs 1 million to get it together than that's 3% in 6 days. Again, we don't know the initial capital they are working with.

I've thought something needed to be done for years and haven't don't shit about it so you guys are doing more than me. Video looks good. Glad to see you guys are psyched. Try to keep up your intensity for the next 50 days.

FLAG


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