CRIPPLE CREEK – A call to action is taking place in the community of Cripple Creek. The small town is home to over a dozen wild donkeys that roam the area freely. A group of volunteers take care of the herd in their spare time, but they need more help for the summer season.
For about five months of the year, the herd of donkeys can be seen roaming around Cripple Creek. The other months of the year, they are taken to a pasture, where they have food and shelter for the colder seasons.
However, from May to October, local Two Mile High Club volunteers say tending to the donkeys is a full-time job and they need more help. Currently, the organization has only four full-time volunteers.
âOur donkeys are the ambassadors of the city. They are wild animals, but we do everything we can to take care of this herd. “said Curt Sorenson, president of the association.
Sorenson said the hard part is getting volunteers to do the day-to-day work that needs to be done, knowing that many people have full-time jobs or don’t live locally.
âWe’re always on call, and I can’t think of a time when we won’t have to be available. Someone has to be available all the time,â Sorenson said.
Ellen Moore, another volunteer, who also works at the city’s Heritage Center, says donkeys are one of the most requested attractions when people visit.
“I would say 50% of the people who come say to me, ‘Where are the donkeys in Cripple Creek? “Donkeys are gentle, they’re approachable, and a lot of people don’t know they’re here until they get here.”
Moore also mentioned that there is an immediate need for more volunteers during the summer season.
âWe can never lock the door and walk away from the party. We are a 365 day, 24/7, nonprofit responsibility,â Moore said. “But our volunteer base has shrunk considerably, and we can attribute some of that to last year with the pandemic. Now we are struggling with these day to day responsibilities and can have enough people to take care of the donkeys.”
The Two Mile High Club was founded in 1931, when donkeys were released after a decline in mining. Since then, animals have roamed Cripple Creek freely during the summers.
Currently, there are 13 donkeys to keep.
âNeither of us are teenagers, so we’d love to involve some of the kids,â Sorenson said. “The more people know about donkeys, the more people know their needs, and the better off we will be.”
The nonprofit, which celebrates 90 years of volunteering, relies on fundraising events to raise funds and care for donkeys, but fundraisers have been suspended during the pandemic.
The next event will take place on the weekend of July 4, where the donkeys will be in three different parts of the city. Volunteers will also keep an eye on them, to make sure the community is feeding the animals properly.
Volunteers at the organization say it costs about $ 25,000 each year to care for the donkeys. The organization is able to make these efforts a reality through the help of volunteers and local fundraising.
The volunteers also say they are using newer technology to track donkeys. In the coming weeks, visitors or residents will be able to visit shops or a museum and see exactly where the donkeys are.
For more information on the organization, click here or send an email to [email protected]