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The Tahosa Valley is located in northern Colorado between two sections of Rocky Mountain National Park. The west side lies below Longs Peak and the east side lies below the Twin Sisters. The Tahosa Valley is located on both sides of Colorado State Highway 7 between the Wind River Pass on the north and the North St. Vrain River on the south. The northern portion of the Tahosa Valley is in Larimer County and the southern portion is in Boulder County.
Geologically, the Tahosa Valley was filled with glacial ice during the Ice Ages. Consequently, glacial moraines and other glacial remnants dominate the surface of the valley. Wind River Pass at the north end lies at an altitude of 9150 feet. SH7 crosses the North St. Vrain River at an altitude of about 8000 feet. Tahosa Creek flow from the Wind River Pass area down to Cabin Creek in the Meeker Park area. From that junction down to the confluence with the North St. Vrain is shown as Cow Creek on various area maps.
Two towns dominate the economic activity in the area. The Town of Estes Park north of the Tahosa Valley is a gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. The Tahosa Valley contains the Trail Head for the climb of Longs Peak. The Trail Head for the climb of the Twin Sisters is now near Lily Lake just to the north of the Wind River Pass. Allenspark is an unincorporated village in Boulder County just to the south of the Tahosa Valley.
Tahosa Valley in May Snow
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Tahosa Valley Landowners' Association, Inc.
The Tahosa Valley Landowners' Association (TVLA) has been active since the late 1960's. During that period a number of property owners became concerned about potential inappropriate development. Bob Hutchinson, the owner of the WR Ranch (now the Wind River Ranch), called the first meeting in 1969 of the Tahosa Land Owner's Association. He, Roger Sherman Sr., and Robert Phares, signed Articles of Incorporation in October of 1970 with the statement of purpose, "...to participate in the protection and promotion of proper and orderly development of the land and natural resources of Tahosa Valley, Colorado, by an intelligent and systematic planning program." That statement of purpose remains unchanged today. Over the years, the TVLA has accomplished many things to preserve and protect the valley. The first and possibly most critical achievement was to get zoning changed to "Forestry" from previous designations of "Open" and "Accommodations." The previous designations permitted anything from land fills to neon lit motels. Another major thrust was reaction to a proposal in the late 1980's to develop Baldpate Estates around Lily Lake. As many as 500 condominium units, a resort hotel, and private dwellings were to be constructed. Although outside the geographic boundaries of the Tahosa Valley, it was deemed to have an adverse impact on the Valley and the neighboring Rocky Mountain National Park. TVLA was very involved with other groups opposing this idea, and helped to reach a positive outcome. After many public hearings, the owner agreed to sell the lake and surrounding acres to the Conservation Fund for Rocky Mountain National Park operated by the Rocky Mountain National Park Associates. Water rights and some easements were not included. A coalition of private and public organizations initiated a drive to provide funds to purchase the water rights essential to preserve Lily Lake at its natural level. The Estes Valley Land Trust was instrumental in the effort, and the TVLA, under the leadership of then President Jean Sutherland, also played a large role. The Valley made eighty contributions alone totaling $35,000. The entire Lake and its land was eventually made a permanent and visible part of Rocky Mountain National Park.
During that era, scenic helicopter flights over the Park and surrounding area were being conducted. TVLA worked in tandem with residents in a widespread community effort to oppose this activity, and enlisted the help of county officials and members of Congress to place a ban on this intrusion. This effort led to a Park Service wide review of National Park overflights. Ultimately, legislation was signed in 2000 that banned Rocky Mountain National Park air tours. Another plan that met resistance was the erection of a 120 foot high radio tower west of Highway 7 near Aspen Lodge. This was considered an interruption of scenic views and as setting a precedent of poor land use. TVLA's time and persistence resulted in a height of only 40 feet. Today the tower is out of service and has been removed due to changes in the Front Range commercial radio environment.
Continuing concerns have been commercial development; particularly expansion of camp and conference facilities such as The Salvation Army and Camp St. Malo. Also high on the list have been highway safety and improvement, preservation of view sheds, forest management, and education about fire protection, wildlife, and other matters through the forum of the annual meetings. The group has always strongly supported the Allenspark Fire Protection District. Members of the group have been very active in the development of the Community Wildfire Protection Plan for the Allenspark Fire Protection District. Approval of that plan in late 2008 meant, among other things, that the Allenspark Fire District could call on additional Federal firefighting help if a major wildfire breaks out in the area.
TVLA's successes have depended on vigilant and willing members. Keeping this beautiful place attractive and healthy requires active participation from all of its residents. TVLA welcomes all its neighbors to join them.