Memorandum of Understanding Between Ouray Silver Mines and The Trust for Land Restoration

WHEREAS Ouray Silver Mines (hereinafter referred to as Ouray Silver) is a Ouray County mineral extraction company that currently owns several mining claims in Ouray County and anticipates that it may acquire additional mining claims in Ouray County; and

WHEREAS Ouray Silver is interested in protecting mineral resources in Ouray County, avoiding conflicts between mineral extraction, safety for recreational activities, and residential development, and protecting access to those mineral resources in Ouray County; and 

WHEREAS Ouray County has recently adopted High Alpine Development Regulations that has a stated purpose of these regulations to protect mineral resources and access to those resources by limiting residential development activities in the high alpine area of Ouray County; and

WHEREAS Ouray County expressly stated that by adopting the High Alpine Development Regulations it did so in order to make sure that mining remains a viable component of the Ouray County economy and to avoid potential conflicts between residential uses on patented mining claims and active, past and future mining claims; and

WHEREAS the Trust for Land Restoration (hereinafter referred to as TLR) is an established  501 (c)(3) not-for-profit whose mission is to conserve and protect significant sites and historic landscapes in the San Juan mountains of southwest Colorado; and

WHEREAS one of TLR’s primary strategies is to use a broad range of non-regulatory, voluntary and incentive based methods which include conservation easements, voluntary sales and/or donations with transfer of ownership to public agency and deed restrictions; and

WHEREAS TLR in an effort to preserve the natural and historic heritage of the San Juan mountains has worked with many private land owners to preserve mining claims; and

WHEREAS Ouray Silver and TLR both want to maintain the existing character in the High Alpine area of Ouray County including but not limited to the lack of improved or maintained roads, little or no utility or infrastructure improvement and very limited or sparse development other than historic mining remnants from past mining activities or current mining activities; and

WHEREAS Ouray Silver to the extent possible and practical wishes to preserve the historic structures and sites located on mining claims it now owns or may acquire in the future including preserving safe public access; 

THEREFORE in order to accomplish these common goals of protecting and preserving surface mining activities, mining as a valuable component of the economy of Ouray County and the historic open spaces of the San Juan mountains, Ouray Silver and TLR agree to work together to conserve and protect  biological diversity, proper watershed function, safe public recreation, and historic values in the Canyon Creek Watershed; to attempt to limit future cabin and second-home development where it may conflict with these stated goals; to maintain and improve water quality and plan for future road and mining infrastructure improvements in the most economically and environmentally sound and sustainable manner practical; by utilizing a suite of conservation tools such as deed restrictions, conservation easements, cooperative agreements, density transfers, mapping, and inventories, as may be deemed appropriate, to accomplish mutual goals. 


Ouray Silver Mines

By Brian Briggs (CEO)


Trust for Land Restoration

By Patrick Willits (Executive Director)