Let’s Talk Land Safety

Here’s the scoop on cacti, wildlife, ravines and the general environment in a beautiful, high-alpine valley where Apogaea will be held in 2016. Plus, how you can help keep Apo safe and the land viable.

Here’s the scoop on cacti, wildlife, ravines and the general environment in a beautiful, high-alpine valley where Apogaea will be held in 2016. Plus, how you can help keep Apo safe and the land viable. Download the Survival Guide.

By Megan Dempsey, Community Reporter

Quick and dirty run-down:

  • Kidsville will be on an easy access hill that is flat on top. This is where you want to camp if you have kids.
  • Anyone that has flood lights or cool light up art that they could offer to Kidsville during the event to help out with lighting up there would be amazing.
  • DPW is continually assessing and solving issues with the land.
  • There are lots of ravines, just like on Floston Peak in Bailey. Stick to the roads and keep explorations on the beaten path during times of limited visibility. Always carry a flashlight!
  • We will have three oil shale wells on the property. They are fenced off, don’t go into restricted areas.
  • Flood plains with standing water are present on the property. If you go into one of these pools, you will be removed from the property.
  • The landowners love their land and the biological diversity that it supports. They want to make sure that we do not make a lasting impact on the wildlife. If we behave and LNT with our usual diligence, we may have additional land in the future!!
  • The land gets bigger and bigger as we have access to it without snow on the ground!
  • This is cactus country. Cacti hurt. Please help us remove the cactus from the land prior to the event. Contact Tina Siegfried for more details and to find out when this is happening: tinamsiegfried@gmail.com
  • Rattlesnakes may be present. They are poisonous. They are more afraid of you than you are of them. Study up on snake bite first aid. Contact BAMF IMMEDIATELY if bitten and STAY CALM. See below for important safety tips regarding snakebites.
  • There are also elk and bears. Don’t feed them or try to be their friends.
  • Soil sampling is happening, thanks to Sam Limanski. Thanks Sam! Read below for details.
  • We are all volunteers. Let’s be patient and show appreciation for all of the hard work that’s being put in to get this new land ready!

Here’s the nitty gritty!

So much has been happening in just the last few weeks! This week, alone, has come with a lot of changes! The Board of Directors and department leads have been putting in lots of extra hours to learn about our new home, how to mitigate the dangers and how to throw the best event to date! 


Kidsville Hill update

BAMF went to the land on March 11 and will be issuing a report soon. However, I was able to get the scoop on children. There will be NO unaccompanied children allowed. The age range for mandatory adult supervision has yet to be determined. This is a new piece of land and with that comes new hazards.

All of those with children at Apogaea will be advised to organize their camps on Kidsville Hill. This is a great location and it is also the safest and quietest location in Apogaea. There is a hill that is in front of Kidsville that will provide a natural sound barrier. It is far away from dangerous ravines. It is also flat and grassy. At the back of the area is a wooded area if anyone would like to camp that far back, as well. There is no lighting on the property at this time. Due to the reduced budget this year, we are asking that anyone that has flood lights or cool light-up art that they could offer to Kidsville during the event to help out with lighting up there would be amazing.

Kidsville will be placed on the other side of the quieter theme camps, away from the big sound camps, and will truly be where you want to be if you have children. Safety third, but sleeping during the night is a great way to have a great Apogaea when you have children. This will be a great place to meet some other Apogaea parents, and have your children staying in an area that is away from ravines. We really appreciate your diligence to keeping children safe and involved in Apogaea!

Usable roads and art cars

On March 14, Apogaea’s Department of Public Works visited the land. Through discussions with the landowner, it was decided that some of the originally proposed land will not be used. The amount of land used was reduced because some of the land is a floodplain and grading it for usability would deteriorate other parts of the land unnecessarily. They will be demarcating walking roads and there will be some driving roads on the property. It’s not decided to what extent art cars will be allowed. Questions or comments about art cars should be directed to the DMV at dmv@apogaea.com.


Basically, the land’s perimeter is delineated largely by ravines. There will be fencing around some of the drop off areas. Please know that all of the drop off areas will not have fencing but they will be marked. If you stick to main roads and do not go off the beaten path that you have traveled and know well, you will probably be fine. Luckily, this may function to reduce some of Apogaea Security Squad’s load. It will be very difficult for people to sneak into this event over those ravines.

Donations needed for perimeter safety

We are taking donations for supplies to help DPW and the Lamplighters create a well-lit safety perimeter around steep areas, three oil shale wells and other treacherous spots. They are looking for 48″ orange vinyl fencing (think Burning Man trash fence) and 5-foot T-stakes. Consider donating cash, supplies or your time to this cause! (Contact Brock Lee at DPW or Tater at Lamplighters) By the way, perimeters around the wells will have a 100-foot radius, so steer clear of these restricted areas. Thanks, DPW, for your diligence and hard work! You’re our heroes!

Stay out of the water!

Please keep in mind that this piece of land is located in a beautiful high-alpine valley. With gorgeous views and landscape, there are large areas of flood plains on this property. There are pools of water in the bottom of some drainage ditches; there are some standing pools of water as well. Some of them are two to three feet deep. One of the most important reasons to avoid these watery areas (besides your personal safety) is to give the native elk space to hydrate. Anyone found going into these pools will be escorted off the property immediately.    


Join the landowners as responsible land stewards

There are three landowners: Glenn and his two brothers. His brothers are hunters and environmentalists. They are concerned about disturbing the calving land for the elk that live on the property. Calving season is a time of year when the elk are giving birth and raising their young. This is a vitally important area for preservation of the elk populations. Due to the calving lands, some of the owners would like to restrict our access to these sensitive areas.

Leave No Trace

Now, more than ever is a time we can impress land owners with our best Burner behavior. There is hope that additional land can be made available to us in future years. So, let’s leave zero trace this year! At Floston Peak, at the end of the event, there was always less than a Ziploc sandwich bag of trash left after the community left the land. Let’s keep that tradition going and show them how amazing and environmentally conscious our community is! We won’t let you down, Moltrer Brothers!

The first walk of the land was completed in December and there was a lot of snow on the ground during this time. Since then, numerous teams have taken trips to the land to walk perimeters and plan out the map. The first showing of the map revealed a very narrow, mile long ribbon of land that we are going to use for the event. With these recent land trips, we have determined that we can expand our width and shorten the length more than we realized. There are a lot of beautiful pockets of land that would be perfect for theme camps and art projects. This land is a beautiful valley surrounded by trees and the usable land is opening up more and more each trip that is made and the more the land is explored.

Be aware of natural hazards


The landowners have three major safety concerns. These are some of the more important things to watch out for at the event:

  • There is a lot of cacti. Anyone who has camped in southern Colorado knows about the cactus. There are some community members that have been charged with cacti removal and they will be digging up these painful plants. Please contact Tina Siegfried at tinamsiegfried@gmail.com to volunteer. They will be working with the Colorado Cactus and Succulent Society for re-homing. Cactus spines hurt a lot. Last year, my three year old got cactus while we were camping in Crestone and I have never seen him in so much pain. Be prepared!
  • Rattlesnakes are indigenous to the area. If you happen across a rattlesnake, stay away from it! Most rattlesnakes are shy and will move away from you if you give them space. Do not approach them. Watch the ground where you walk at all times. If someone is bitten, move them away from the snake — as long as the snake feels threatened, it can strike again. If you or someone you are with has been bitten by a rattlesnake, summon the Bureau of Apogaea Medical and Fire (BAMF) immediately for medical attention. Do not waste time with other interventions. Keep the person calm and collected and prevent them from moving as best you can until BAMF arrives. Movement increases blood flow; increased blood flow spreads the venom quicker. Wait for BAMF to come to you, and then try to keep everyone as calm and collected as possible for the best outcome.
  • Elk frequent the property. Apogaea occurs during a potential calving season, during which time elk can be extremely aggressive and dangerous. Please respect the off-limit areas, including the ponds where they drink water so they may calve in peace and reduce their interaction with humans, which can cause them extreme stress. Being good neighbors means respecting our wild friends, too. Give them space and do not approach.
  • Do NOT feed or interact with the wildlife!

Soil testing is underway

And that brings us to the question of testing the soil. Sam Limanski has offered to use his employee discount with ACZ Laboratories in Steamboat Springs. That means that the test is free. That’s right. You heard it first here: FREE. Thanks so much, Sam! Wow, that saves a strained budget so much when our community needs it the most! The testing takes 15 days for the results to come back and that is 15 days from when the soil sample was taken. Sam made the journey from Steamboat Springs to Trinidad on March 13 so we need at least 15 days from then to know the results. We will keep you posted!

The soil test was free, so what happens to my donation?

A few community members were gracious and amazing enough to donate to this project. There was a total of $350 in donations! Thanks guys! Do not worry. We are going to send out an email soon to figure out what you want to happen with your donation. There are a few different options to choose from:

  • Help pay for Sam’s gas and expenses for this trip. Please keep in mind that driving six hours one way through two metropolitan areas is no small feat.
  • Transfer your donation to Creative Art Team Support, whose budget was severely affected by the loss of the event last year.
  • Finally, you could ask for a full refund.  Partial refunds are not an option through PayPal.

If you have donated to the soil testing efforts, please email missioncontrol@apogaea.com to let them know what you would like to do with your donation.

ACZ Laboratories specializes in mine site and oil shale environmental testing. They are offering a full panel test of 15 different sites.  These sites will be in areas most likely to have the most significant results: wells, run off pools and drainage areas. They will first do a commingled test and pull a small amount of soil or water from numerous samples. If there are any results from the comprehensive panel test, they will test each site independently. Please keep in mind that they are offering to do this for free and each time they run a full panel test it costs them $400 to $500. This is a valuable service that they are doing for our community. We cannot thank Sam Limanski and ACZ Laboratories enough for coming to help Apogaea in our hour of need! Update: Soil test results are in!

Great job, volunteers!

That’s what we know about the land to this point. Please keep in mind that this, too, could change as we continue sending crews up to the land to assess safety, function, and emergency issues. Please be patient with the amazing group of volunteers organizing this event including the Board of Directors, Ignition and Sparks. We couldn’t do this without you!

Download the Survival Guide today!

Check out more images from our recent land visit!

Share And Enjoy!

1 Comment

  1. Glenn

    A couple of clarifications. The wells are coal bed methane not oil wells. I see very few snakes on the property if you stay away from the rock bluffs you will be fine. There is some areas that do have Cactus in but for the most part most of you have been in the mountains before as well as some of the drainage areas. We have been walking this property for generations or as we always said a good way to weed out the weak. Lol

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