Saturday, December 31, 2011

Our Vision #18: Audio Tours

Visitors to the Ute Ulay site may have the choice of various audio tours featuring the voices and knowledge of local residents. 
Julia enjoying an audio tour
For example, one could choose to take the poetry audio tour and listen to regional poets reading work evocative of the landscape or mining.  Someone else might choose the ghost tour, and listen to the voice of local miner George Hurd or historian Grant Houston telling stories about the mine and Lake City.  Yet another visitor might choose to listen to the voice of Matt Ingram describe what it was like to work at the mill.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Our Vision #17: Mill and Assayer’s Cabin

The unique and remarkably intact mill building could become the central historic attraction of the Ute Ulay site, as well as another source of revenue.  There may be potential for a partnership with the Hard Tack Mine, and with miner Matt Ingram, who could give tours or record an audio guide.  
Mill Building with Walkway Superstructure
Building walkways around and through the mill would solve the problem of a costly indoor restoration, allowing visitors to view the complex machinery and imagine the milling process. A sound artist could be invited to repurpose some of the machinery as kinetic sculptures, giving visitors a sense of the industrial cacophony inside a working ore mill.
The assayer’s office next to the mill might be reused as a workspace for a resident artist or writer or building administrator.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Our Vision #16: Tramway, Zipline, Waterslide

Productive mines are often discovered in inaccessible terrain. For many mining operations like the Ute Ulay, it was not cost-effective to build and maintain roads for several burros or pack horses to transport ore down the mountain. Aerial tramways developed in the 1860s transformed the mining industry. This creative solution inspired us to imagine reinstating the Ute Ulay tramway. 
Ute Ulay adventure loop
In our vision, a low-energy, small tramcar would carry two people up the slope. At the top, visitors would have the choice to ride the tram down or take a zipline to the inoperative Ute Ulay dam. If the flume were also reinstated, one could waterslide back to the mill site, completing the Ute Ulay loop adventure.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Our Vision #15: Trails

Interpretive trails are found in many parks, historical sites, and open-air museums. Designs range from simple signage to highly integrated benches, pavers, and design elements that display or provide information. At the Ute Ulay, a variety of options exist for self-guided tours. 
old flume path trail
One area that particularly stands out is the path of the old flume that transported tailings from the mill to a field west of the site. Cut into the hillside at a gentle slope, this is an ideal spot to situate an interpretive trail, leading casual walkers away from the Ute Ulay to a Bureau of Land Management reclamation site. The educational content found around the trails should employ natural materials as well as local poetry and anecdotes.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Our Vision #14: Transportation

Motorized transport including ATVs, jeeps, and dirt bikes dominate the Alpine Loop.  To encourage a slightly different kind of visitor to the hostel, the Hardrock Revision team wanted to consider options for those without a motor to propel them up to the site. 
Burro ride to the Ute Ulay anyone?
 Shuttle pick-ups scheduled from Lake City, in the form of car or burro, are two possibilities that would have the additional benefit of cutting down on the need for parking space.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Our Vision #13: Water Tank as Camera Obscura

The term camera obscura comes from the Latin for “dark vaulted chamber.” Popular in Victorian times, the camera obscura is an optical devise that projects an image of its surroundings onto a screen.  Also referred to as The Mirror of Life, camera obscuras were seen in many U.S. parks and public spaces from the 1870s to 1950s. The proposal to use the water tank at the Ute Ulay as a periscope camera obscura combines two methods of viewing the surroundings in one experience. Light is tunneled down a shaft (not unlike light filtering down a mine shaft) to project a moving image onto a concave dish. Inside the tower, viewers may manipulate the periscope themselves or with the help of a guide.
1880s Redwood Water Tank as Camera Obscura

Our Vision #12: Spring and Aspen Grove

Just up the hill from the headframe there is a small grove of aspen. Among the trees, at the top of what is currently a dry streambed, is a natural spring where water flows out of the earth into a concrete cistern. It could easily be made into a more natural pool.

This area is a small gem. By formalizing the path and adding stones or other natural seating, it could become a quiet place for connecting with the landscape of the Rocky Mountains

Our Vision #11: Ute Plaza and Picnic Area

The flat area between the headframe and the water tank is an ideal place to establish an accessible overlook, community space, and picnic area. Since it is also adjacent to the education building, the space is perfect for nature and history talks, poetry readings, and to give an overview to the mining and milling process.
Design elements of the plaza and picnic area should have symbolic value and create an inviting place. Circular forms made of rock, brick, or steel may refer to the many layers of time and human history at the site. Circles also evoke the Ute Indian baskets and tepees, historic kilns, as well as gears and other mining equipment. A fire ring would encourage storytelling and a sense of community. 

The overlook needs a fence for safety. This should be considered an opportunity for engaging an artist to make this utilitarian object an integrated part of the character of the Ute Ulay site.