UWP Board: Michael Johnson


Michael and his wife, Vicki, divide their time between homes in Ouray and in Evergreen, Colorado with two dogs and, on occasion, their grand-cat. Michael’s ties to Ouray go back to his grandparents who moved to the Camp Bird Mine in 1936.

He was 1 years old when his dad took over from his father-in-law as the superintendent of the Camp Bird Limited in 1946. The family lived there until 1958 in what can only be described as a very unique childhood. 

Michael spent his career in the mining industry and without moving from Colorado (unusual for the industry), he was able to travel and see most of this wonderful country. He was part of the growing awareness of the environmental responsibility that all companies, and most assuredly, mining companies must share. He has learned that it is possible to operate a mining venture or any venture and not harm the environment.

 In Ouray, he and his wife have taken on a re-model of their home and a major wild fire mitigation project. As they rely on water from Dexter Creek for irrigation purposes, they helped form an irrigation ditch group, and in the process, learned much about Colorado water laws and the importance of water to the state and our community.

Growing up next to Sneffels Creek, Cannon Creek, Dexter Creek, and the Uncompahgre River, Michael has seen each in its most pristinely beautiful state, but has also witnessed the awesome power of each. Water is the lifeblood of our existence and it’s imperative that we take care of it. Many of the folks who came before us did not realize the unintended consequences of their actions and as a result these streams need our help.

Anthropologist Loren Eiseley said, “If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.”  After attending several UWP events, Michael was encouraged to find a group of people who want to preserve “the magic”.  He and his wife joined UWP in 2015, and have enjoyed the communications and the active partnering with other organizations.