Thanks to all who made the Tritz Park possible as well as those who believed I am worthy of that honor. I will be forever grateful.
Living in Leadville all my life and learning a bit about this area’s mining history (as well as being employed for many years in a working mine and mill) has given me the ambition to support mining activities and protect mining history. This attitude has shown itself in several of my local volunteer pursuits.
Being a part of the Mineral Belt Trail Committee since the early 1990s has, in my mind, been my major accomplishment. This letter will attempt to honor all those who have, through the years worked, with me at various times to bring the trail to fruition and make it well-known nationally.
Lake County became a target for the EPA in the early 1990s. The EPA officials stormed into town and alarmed the citizens by stating that all property owners would be responsible for the cleanup of the mining district hazards — everyone was a PRP (potential responsible party).
Many public meetings were held and tempers flared. The overwhelming consensus was “EPA, get out of town.” Eventually things quieted down somewhat when the EPA decided that not all property owners would be held accountable.
In 1992 a group named the Leadville and Lake County Liaison Committee was formed. Our goal was to get the most out of the EPA while they were here. The committee came up with a list of projects they believed would be beneficial to Lake County. The public voted for their favorite projects.
Following is a list of some of these items: build a bobsled run off the Mosquito Range; construct a visitor’s center; preserve the mining district; build an athletic training center; build bicycle trails. The projects that got the most votes were preserving the mining district and building bicycle trails. On the big rock at Dutch Henry are the names of all the major contributors who donated time and money for this project.
Jim Martin, Bob Casey and Ed O’Leary were the county commissioners and Bob Zaitz was the Leadville Mayor at this time. They realized the potential economic benefit to the area and supported its development in all respects. Soon Mike Conlin was hired to design the trail. Mike did a fantastic job in planning, designing and helping to obtain grants and other funding. I can not overstate how important Mike was in helping us get this trail constructed. Also a big thank you to Loretta Mcellhiney who, from the time she joined the committee, stood by me, even when it meant crawling through a plugged culvert. Since 1992, there have been many competent members of the committee. Thanks also to the city and county officials who gave their support through the years.