Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center

By October 10, 2017community
Sketch of proposed addition to retreat center

Congratulations to Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center on the unanimous approval by Boulder County Commissioners of their Limited Impact Special Review (LISR). This approval recognizes RMERC as the next of a natural progression of historic uses of Community Significance on a beautiful parcel of land off the Peak to Peak highway on Overland Road, along the South St Vrain creek. The Nature Conservancy holds a conservation easement on the land, which has protected its historical significance and ecological value.

View of mountains from lodge deckRMERC is exactly the kind of conscientious steward we all dream of when we place conservation easements. Their program will be of tremendous benefit to Boulder County residents and beyond.

Caddis has been working with Lopez Smolens Associates; Scott, Cox, & Associates; and Frascona, Joiner, Goodman and Greenstein, P.C. who has lead the process, along with Johann Robbins and the RMERC Board who are supported by a broad group of volunteers from the community.

Caddis’ role has been to assist RMERC and the team through the LISR approval process, to consult on land-use/building/energy/accessibility codes, constructability, cost, and design with a focus on historic preservation and pragmatism. We love meaningful work and are delighted to play a role in conserving this land and its historic structures.

On Hazel Schmoll (paraphrased from the presentation made by Harmon Zuckerman of Frascona, Joiner, Goodman and Greenstein, PC):

Photo of Hazel SchmollHazel Schmoll was a celebrated resident of Boulder County who served as the state botanist from 1919 to 1935.  In 1938, she built the guest lodge on the property and created the Range View Ranch as a guest lodge and retreat center, advertising it in the Christian Science Monitor towards guests of good behavior who neither drank nor smoked.

Hazel Schmoll operated the Guest Ranch and Retreat until her retirement in 1972, when she bequeathed it to The First Church of Christ, Scientist.  The Church owned the property until this summer, when it sold to the RMERC, which had begun operating it under a lease prior to the purchase and has continued the use since.  All thee owners of the property have operated it in the same way, offering guests a place for spiritual revitalization and practice along with a range of other activities which have historically included hiking, mountaineering, fishing, horseback riding, guided automobile trips, weddings, and family reunions. 

Historic brochure for Range View RanchThe property has been used as a guest ranch continuously, and in all seasons, for the past nearly 80 years.  When Hazel donated it to the Christian Scientists, she also granted a Conservation Easement to The Nature Conservancy to ensure that the property would remain largely as she left it.  When the Church decided to divest many of its far-flung real estate assets, it turned away multiple residential buyers and sold the property to the RMERC at a significant discount.  The Church wanted to honor Hazel’s legacy by selling the property to a retreat center which would maintain the historical use and appearance of the property.

For more information, check out the Rocky Mountain EcoDharma Retreat Center’s website: https://rockymountainecodharmaretreatcenter.org/Retreat gathering