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Posts tagged ‘Steamboat Springs’

Paralegal Karen Dierkes Volunteers on “Snow Drawings” Project

Last winter, Paralegal Karen Dierkes participated as a volunteer to assist artist Sonja Hinrichsen in her “Snow Drawings” project.  In 2013, Ms. Hinirichsen’s canvas was Lake Catamount near Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  As you can see from the photos below, the completed project was beautiful!  All photos may be found here.

Photos are available to purchase.  To purchase or for more information, please contact Sonja Hinrichsen at or sonja[at]

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Snow Drawings at Catamount Lake, Colorado, 2013 by Sonja Hinrichsen

Snow Drawings at Catamount Lake, Colorado, 2013 by Sonja Hinrichsen

Snow Drawings at Catamount Lake was created in a joint effort with over 60 volunteers from Steamboat Springs and vicinity, who came out with their snowshoes to walk spiral patterns during the 3 days between Friday February 1st and Sunday February 3rd 2013. Despite deep, heavy snow that made walking difficult and strenuous people stayed and created a stunning art piece on the lake. I was greatly impressed of the piece that revealed itself when I flew over the lake Monday morning. I want to thank all volunteers for their great work, the Steamboat Springs Public Library and Steamboat Springs Arts Council for their invaluable assistance in organizing this event, the Lake Catamount Touring Center for hosting us, and the pilot who flew endless rounds over the lake, so that I could take hundreds of photos.

(Exert taken from:

About the project (in the words of Sonja Hinrichsen):

“Snow Drawings” is an ongoing project where I “draw” large designs in the environment by walking lines into fresh snow surfaces with snowshoes. Ideal “canvases” are deforested areas and frozen lakes. The finished pieces are ephemeral. While they take hours to create, their duration is unpredictable.  Sometimes they are coated over by new snow shortly after completion.

I began this project in winter 2009 during an artist residency in Snowmass Village in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Out of play I started designing patterns in my mind, which I then transferred onto the snow. My designs have since become more elaborate , and I have continued this project in other landscapes across the US. Last winter I worked with community volunteers for the first time. This enabled me to create even larger pieces. During two exhilarating community events that combined art-making and outdoor winter activity in a stunning landscape in the Colorado Mountains, we created large drawings that could only be seen from the air in their entirety – and only for a limited time. The volunteers took pride in their participation in these environmental works, connecting with the project and the landscape. The 2012 “Snow Drawings” received significant press; they were presented on numerous art, design and culture websites, and written about in magazines, including SOMA Magazine, TRACCE (Italian Archeology Magazine), and a Chinese Art Magazine. They were featured on NPR, MSNBC, The Discovery Channel, public TV Tokyo. Photographic prints have been exhibited in California and Europe. This experience inspired more ambitious plans for this coming winter. In January and February 2013 I plan to take this project to a new level and organize community events in different geographical regions across the US – to create monumental-scale drawings. I have so far secured support from three organizations to host events: in upstate NY, in Southwestern Wyoming, and the Nature Conservancy will host the work in Northwestern Colorado. In Colorado we plan to cover an entire frozen lake with snow drawings. I am currently in discussion with several organizations in other parts of the US. During their short existence “Snow Drawings” correspond with the landscape – and so do those who assist in creating them. To make the work accessible to a larger audience, it is essential that photos be taken immediately after each event. The scale of the work requires aerial photography.

I hope that these pieces emphasize the beauty and uniqueness of each landscape, and thus inspire appreciation for nature – especially as modern society becomes increasingly disconnected from the natural world.

(Exert taken from

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Where’s the Owl?

Not only are we big fans of the Greater Sandhill Crane at Klauzer & Tremaine, but check out another type of bird that likes to hang out with us in Steamboat Springs!
Can you see it? What a hoot!


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View from the Top

A Klauzer & Tremaine attorney recently hiked up to the historic lookout tower at Hahns Peak, Colorado.

What a view!

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Beauty on the Yampa River

Fishing the Town Stretch of the Yampa River in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

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Legitimate Tax Reform or Another Attack on Agriculture?

Several months ago while attending a Land Stewardship Class, sponsored by the Community Agriculture Alliance, I was surprised to learn from our County Assessor that some of the rules for the taxing of agricultural lands had recently been changed.  The legislature had passed House Bill 11-1146 and the Governor had signed it for the ostensible purpose of curbing an abuse of the constitutional tax benefits that apply to agricultural land in Colorado.

The change seems to have occurred because from the perspective of the front-range legislators, people who own nice houses in mountain resort areas were getting an undeserved tax benefit if they leased their land to a cattle rancher or a hay farmer.  In this type of circumstance, the property owner (with an agricultural tax classification) would pay a low rate on a low valuation, as prescribed by the Colorado Constitution.  The owner of a nice house on 40 acres of land that was grazed by a neighbor’s cattle might pay a tax of a few hundred dollars per year, rather than a tax of a few thousand dollars per year (without the agricultural activity).

The new law does not impact vacant agricultural land.  However, where there is a residence, the law requires that the residential area – up to two acres — of an agricultural property shall not be included in the definition of “agricultural land” unless the improvement is integral to an agricultural operation conducted on such land.   If the residential area is not “integral,” then the area must be taxed at the residential rate, but at a value that in most cases will be significantly higher.  The taxes for this property will go up.

The statute goes on to define what it means by the phrase “integral to an agricultural operation.” To try to phrase this in plain English, someone who lives in the house has to be running the agricultural operation on the land, or someone living in the house must be a close relative of the person who is running the agricultural operation.

In Routt County and neighboring counties, there has frequently been a mutually supportive relationship between local agriculture operators and the second-home owners who have purchased some acreage.  Sometimes it is simply a grazing lease for the open land, other times it can be a caretaker relationship, or a more complex relationship where one property owner shares responsibilities with another.  The bottom line has been one that has kept lands in active agricultural use, and the agricultural tax classification has been part of the incentive that has helped this cooperation work.

So, what will the net impact be here in Routt County?  Will this new  law discourage people from having sheep and cattle graze across their property.  Will we lose additional acreage from ranchland?  While we may strongly suspect this negative impact to available productive agricultural land, there is no way that we will know for at least several years – as the County Assessor pores over the recent agricultural property survey results, makes initial determinations, notifies the property owners, and the property owners decide how they will respond to the situation.

For now, what we do know is that under the new law the County Assessor must make an initial determination of which agricultural properties should be subjected to some change by the first of May.  Then, the owners who receive notice of classification and/or valuation changes will have an opportunity to protest before June first – initially to the County Assessor, and then possibly to the Board of County Commissioners, sitting at the Board of Equalization.  When property owners see their tax bills in January or February of 2013, they will know what the real impact of this legislation is on them and their property.

The County Assessor and the County Commissioners have provided some basic fact background concerning this law on the County’s web site.   The upper right corner of the Routt County home page identifies House Bill 11-1146, and will connect you to the statute and related background.

(Rich Tremaine is an attorney in Steamboat Springs and a member of the Community Agriculture Alliance’s advisory board.  A copy of this column and further information on this topic can be found at his law firm’s blog “”)

Originally published in the Steamboat Today on January 13, 2013 and can be found here.

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