Fall Newsletter: Reflecting on the East Troublesome Fire

By November 1, 2020Community, UCRWG Updates

Sunset over Shadow Mountain Reservoir, taken as part of UCRWG's summer aerial watershed surveillance campaign via drone, a partnership with the Three Lakes Watershed Association.

The UCRWG Board of Directors extends its heartfelt condolences to all those in our Grand County community affected by the East Troublesome Fire. 

We were all impacted by the suddenness and severity of the East Troublesome Fire and mourn with our neighbors the loss of property and places we all love to the fire. However, we take comfort how our community stepped up to help those in need at a moment's notice. Here at UCRWG, we know that we are a part of a community that is truly Grand.

A note from UCRWG President Andy Miller, reflecting on the recent fires:

We will need the powers of Elastic Superheroes to meet the incredible challenges presented by a climate which is not only just changing, but has already changed. Our primary local super power has been on display since the firestorm which all but engulfed the Three Lakes region last week – namely how everyone has stepped up to help with the immediate needs of those most affected by this incredible event.

To rebuild our community will also need help from the larger East- and West- slope communities which depend on our Three Lakes “neighborhood” to provide recreation, solace, and water.

To help in this recovery we all know our community pockets are open, but not deep. Rebuilding homes for locals is the first priority. To rebuild a fire-scarred landscape designed to protect our homes and enhance water quality in the upper Colorado River will be a tremendous challenge. My pledge is our group will continue in its collaborative role to help our community obtain sufficient financial and professional resources to meet this challenge.

Our best to all of you in this challenging time,
Andy Miller, UCRWG President

UCRWG is Excited to Announce Two New Board Members! Please meet:

Ingrid Karlstrom and Tracee Lorens

Ingrid Karlstrom

Ingrid Karlstrom has resided in Grand County since the spring of 1970, happily spending her first 5 years as a ski bum.  Ever interested in preserving the beauty and quality of life here in our decreasingly pristine watershed, she (unsuccessfully) ran for Grand County commissioner in 1992 but was happy to accept an appointment to the County Planning and Zoning Commission, where she has served for 27 years. She is the only current member of the Planning and Zoning Commission who participated in establishing Grand County’s Master Plan, a product of former Governor Roy Romer’s Smart Growth Initiative.

Other commission memberships throughout the years have included Victims Assistance and Law Enforcement, The Moffat Tunnel, and a statewide transportation study.

Ingrid received a BA in zoology from Pomona College in Claremont, CA and currently lives just outside of Fraser with her 3 cats.



Sunset over Ranch Creek, a subwatershed in UCRWG'S target area. Photo courtesy of Gatesman Photography.


L. Tracee Lorens

Tracee Lorens was born in Gunnison, Colorado in 1958. She attended Middle Park Elementary and Junior High before transferring to Kent-Denver Country Day School in Denver, Colorado. She went to college at San Diego State University followed by Thomas Jefferson, School of Law. She graduated from law school in 1990 and passed the Bar Exam in July of that year.

Tracee is the founding partner of Lorens & Associates, APLC, and focused her practice on consumer litigation and trial work. She worked on complex individual plaintiff cases until 1999, when she changed her focus to fighting for employee rights against some of the biggest employers in the US as a Class Action Attorney. She made the “Super Lawyer “ list in 2004 and was forever thereafter, year after year, deemed a “Super Lawyer”, a highly sought-after peer accolade. At the same time she was regularly recognized for her high level of ethics, integrity, brilliance in the law, and honesty. Tracee was recognized throughout her legal career with awards such as Lawyer of the Year (2017), The CLAY Award presented by The Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court in 2015, and a California State Senate Resolution recognizing her significant contributions to her community and the State.

Tracee is the proud mother of daughter Alexandra Lorens. Tracee and her daughter are third and fourth generation Grand Lake full or part-time residents, and descendants of Grand Lake residents Gordon and Barbara Spitzmiller. Barbara owned a dairy farm where Shadow Mountain Reservoir now sits and Gordon opened what is now Grand Lake Plumbing Co. Barbara’s father, Edgar Stanton, was the founder and long time Dean of Iowa State University. Tracee’s mom is Judy Lorens, a long time teacher at M.P.H.S. and the founder of Mountain Services—the first County trash company. Long time Grand County residents will remember Mountain Services’s unique trucks, with the images of skunks painted on the sides and the original slogans, “Trashin’ is our passion!” and “Business is picking up!”

Tracee is now retired from the practice of law and running a year-round, luxury vacation rental resort on her family property known as the Lorens Ranch. She has decided to dedicate a good portion of her retirement time and philanthropy to supporting efforts to protect and restore the Colorado River, with a focus on the North Fork, the Three Lakes region, and the Upper Colorado River watershed.

A Day on the Delta with Board Member Tracee Lorens

New UCRWG BOD Member Tracee Lorens visits with members of Northern Water at her property on Shadow Mountain Reservoir at the mouth of the North Fork River delta (Sept. 2020).

A Day on the Delta: UCRWG Board Member Invites Northern Water to Visit

On September 23, 2020 I had the distinct pleasure of canoeing on the Delta of The North Fork of the Colorado River where it enters Shadow Mountain Reservoir, with Esther Vincent and Curtis Hartenstine. Esther is the Director of Environmental Services for Northern Water and Curtis is the Manager of Water Quality.

I am a Sixty-Two (62) year Grand Lake resident who owns 6 or 7 acres along the North Fork and at the mouth of the delta. My Grandmother owned a Dairy Farm where Shadow Mountain Reservoir now sits. I have seen the changes in the Delta since my Dad had a dock and ski boat here.

It was so wonderful to canoe the delta with such important people from Northern Water. Both Esther and Curtis were kind, intelligent, and open to ideas about the sedimentation issues I wanted to discuss with them.

We had a wonderful and collaborative day that ended with an invitation for me to join the technical committee at Northern Water. We look forward to working with them on the watershed issues that concern us all.

I think we can all agree that Every Drop Counts.

- Tracee

How You Can Help Protect the Upper Colorado River Watershed


Community support is critical for grant funding, with every grant that we apply for looking for evidence of in-kind donations from the local community.

That's why every drop in the bucket counts when it comes to donations.

While we are unable to hold the community meetings we were planning on at this time, we still want to involve YOU in your local watershed group. Keep an eye out for guided hikes later this summer and community planning meetings when we can once again gather in groups. Until then, please reach out to us at UCRWGteam@gmail.com with any questions or comments. 

Please DONATE TODAY and help show community support for protecting the Colorado River headwaters.

What Your Donation Will Do

Your donation will help us with projects such as establishing a local Adopt-A-Waterway program and releasing a regular Watershed Snapshot, which will provide real-time modelling of stream flows and photographic documentation of current conditions from a watershed perspective - showing us the true cost of water.

We know that you care about the headwaters of the Upper Colorado River, which is why we are currently working on creating a local Adopt-A-Waterway program.

Your donation today will provide funding to establish science-based program guidelines, identify project areas, hold monitoring workshops, and recruit and deploy well-equipped citizen science volunteers - in short, get the program up and running! Adopt-A-Waterway programs grow from the ground up, so help us start one in your community by GIVING TODAY!

One of our primary goals here at UCRWG is to keep local stakeholders (that means YOU!) informed about environmental challenges in the headwaters of the Colorado River. A Watershed Snapshot will allow us to provide up-to-date information on the health of the watershed while tracking how growing demands from both the Eastern and Western slopes impact overall water quality.

Our goal is to provide water users with both data and photos documenting the health of the headwaters of the Upper Colorado River so that we can better understand the TRUE cost of water on our local environment. Your donation will help us put together the tools to make this happen.

Read more about our Project Goals here

Join Our Board!

Do you want to help navigate the direction that UCRWG is going in? If so, apply to JOIN OUR BOARD! We are currently looking for motivated Grand County citizens who are passionate about preserving the health and resiliency of the Upper Colorado River watershed for generations to come to join our Board of Directors. If you have skills, expertise, or enthusiasm that you think would help propel UCRWG forward, please send a resume and letter of interest to: UCRWGteam@gmail.com for consideration. 

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