It’s a difficult time, and although I’ve tried, I can’t write this editorial for my hometown magazine without acknowledging what’s happening globally.
My preoccupation with the environment, energy, economics, health care and the upcoming election leaves little time to ponder Telluride. It’s easy to feel out of the mainstream here—exempt from planetary forces. We had record snowfall this winter, housing prices don’t reflect the national downturn, and no one is drilling for oil or gas in our view corridor. Yet, as Peter Shelton reminds us in his article about climate change, Telluride is not an island unto itself. And at almost 9,000 feet, we are hardly self-sustaining.
In many ways, this town represents the great escape. People come to Telluride to find respite from the real world. They come to hear good music in a relaxed outdoor setting, to hike, bike, fish and relish the grandeur of nature. They come to marry and celebrate. They come to paint in plein air, see great films, hear a world-renowned speaker, and play.
The people who have found Telluride bind this publication. Whether it’s attending a festival or riding a bike over a mountain pass, running an international travel business or building a solar home, it’s the people who revere this place that make it happen—rain, snow, shine or drought.
Not ones to ignore Telluride’s brilliant and convoluted past, we bring you two historic stories in this issue. One person links these tales: L.L. Nunn, entrepreneur and proponent of AC electricity, surfaces in the sordid account of mining scams and in the logs of our city fathers. This single man played so many hands in Telluride’s mining boom that, during the late 1800s, it’s hard to find a deal in which he wasn’t involved.
Mining may have been Telluride’s foundation, but the industry was hard on the environment. It’s now up to us to protect and nurture our mountain hamlet and the planet that supports it. The New Community Coalition is stewarding a greener future by creating programs to recycle, reuse and reduce our carbon footprint. And while as a nation we search for cleaner ways to harness energy, it’s hard to believe that it’s taken so long for solar to be tapped in Telluride, where the sun shines 300 days a year. In our new section, Mountain Homes & Properties (a revival of a publication we produced in the early ’80s), we explore solar installations in Telluride and Mountain Village, places with architectural guidelines that restricted solar collectors just a few years ago. To round out this section, we’ve added a HomeBytes department with snippets about what’s green and where sustainable home improvements are found locally.
Our profiles usually honor the living, but in this issue we pay homage to one of Telluride’s most environmentally conscious builders. Chuck Kroger, as an adventurer, artist and philanthropist, epitomized a Tellurider, earning him a place in local lore. This mountain of a man lived with such modest decorum that even as he bettered the Telluride experience for all, he never was a standout. He was a weaver of the thread that binds us to each other and to the land and, ultimately, to the rest of the world.
By press time, the Valley Floor condemnation case was still not settled. We hoped that we’d be able to give the story some ink, but the courts were silent. But a unique opportunity presented itself. Telluride Gallery’s Will Thompson offered a Bernie Fuchs painting to grace this cover. One of America’s foremost artists, Fuch’s impressive body of work focuses on historic and sport themes. His notable commissions include portraits of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, as well as Ted Koppel and Jack Nicklaus. He is the recipient of more than 100 awards and has earned worldwide recognition for his illustrations in major magazines, including Sports Illustrated and The New Yorker. In the spirit of hope for the valley’s preservation as open space (and in remembrance of the now-historic Valley Cows), we print this cover.
With that, I leave you to discover Telluride for yourself, build a connection and take home a little happiness.
Enjoy the ride,