Meet the candidates running for Mountain Recreation’s board of directors

Residents of the Mountain Recreation special district will receive mail ballots for the May election later this month. The ballot includes a TABOR tax question as well as an election for two board seats.
Mountain Recreation/Courtesy Photo

Residents of the Mountain Recreation special district will elect two board members this spring during the May election.

Three candidates — incumbent Mike McCormack as well as Jason Cowles and Tracy Erickson — are running for two open director seats on the five-person board. The two elected directors will serve three-year terms on the district’s board.

All residents who live within the Mountain Recreation Metropolitan District boundaries — which spans Edwards to Dotsero, east to west, and reaches McCoy in the north — and that are active registered Colorado voters will receive a mail ballot. Ballots will be mailed between April 11 and 18 to all residents that fall within those qualifications.



These ballots will include the election for the two director seats as well as the district’s TABOR election. The TABOR question is returning to voters with revisions after it failed in November’s election.

As written, the ballot question will ask voters to approve a $40 million mill levy increase to finance “the All Rec Access program by renovating and expanding recreation facilities in Edwards, Eagle and Gypsum including new or improved facilities, equipment and multi-use community spaces.



Mountain Recreation made three main changes to the ask since November. This includes a 33% reduction in the ask itself, a two-year sunset provision on the mill levy increase and discounted rates at its three facilities for in-district residents.

Completed ballots can be mailed to an address provided on the mail ballot or they can be dropped off at three Eagle County ballot boxes by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3, at the latest. Those boxes are located at:

  • Edwards Field House (450 Miller Ranch Road, Edwards, CO)
  • Eagle County Building Drive Through Ballot Box (500 Broadway Street, Eagle, CO)
  • Town of Gypsum Offices (50 Lundgren Blvd, Gypsum, CO)

Additionally registered voters can vote in-person at the Edwards Field House on Tuesday, May 3 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

While individuals do not need to request a ballot to receive one in the mail, residents in the special district that do not receive a ballot in the mail, or receive one that is damaged, can request a mail ballot at MountainRec.org/election. These applications must be turned into the Designated Election official, Cheri Curtis, by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26. These can be returned by either email (Cheri@mwcpaa.com) or by mail (245 Century Circle, Suite 103 Louisville, CO 810027).

Following is information on the three candidates running for Mountain Recreation’s board of directors:

Mike McCormack
Courtesy Photo

Mike McCormack

Occupation: Public relations, marketing and event production

Residence: Eagle

Prior board experience: Chairperson, Mountain Recreation Foundation; President, Summit County International Mountain Biking Association chapter (former); and Founder of Wilderness B, Singletrack Sidewalks, MTB Little League and MTB 101

Why did you decide to run for the Mountain Recreation Board?

I’ve been the board’s vice president since 2016. My kids grew up at Mountain Recreation. They learned to swim, to skate, to play lacrosse, soccer and football. It’s had an incredible impact on our lives. I feel an obligation to pay that back and forward, to make sure that my family’s experiences remain available to all.

Our district’s geographical, cultural and economic diversity are a source of strength, but also the source of some challenges. “Fixes” I once thought simple are often more complex. I’ve found that what the district requires people willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work.

We’ve made significant headway in updating our vision with the guidance of executive director Janet Bartnik. We’ve rebuilt relationships among community stakeholders that over time had become strained. Organizationally, we’ve transitioned from adversarial to collaborative. This benefits all. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, but I feel that we’ve miles to go.

Helping to shape this magnificent chaos wasn’t the job that I wanted, but it it’s the job that needs doing.

What projects do you feel are most important for the board to consider?

The board’s historical and current financial mindset is fiscally conservative; it’s a point of institutional pride. Still, our current facilities don’t meet the needs of our growing community. We have limited options for seniors, teens and adults. We’re on waiting lists for most kids programs. We’re turning people away because we’ve outgrown our capacity.

We’re at a critical crossroads of population growth and rising costs. It’s never a good time to spend, but we need to invest wisely to make sure that the district’s overflowing (Gypsum) and seasonal (Eagle and Edwards) facilities expand to thoughtfully meet the needs of our community.

What does the future of Mountain Rec look like to you?

I see ball fields, courts, pools, sheets of ice and gyms filled with healthy people who reflect our community; where all are welcome all regardless of age, skin color, gender, economic background or sexual orientation.

I see us continuing a policy of financial thrift, but striving to find balance to invest wisely and only as necessary.

I see Eagle and Edwards becoming year-round facilities and additional upgrades for Gypsum. I see more programs for teens and seniors, and expanded options for adults.

I see systemic improvements in mental, social and physical health. I see us rising to meet the challenges of the future by meeting each day with the desire to be better than we did the day before.

Jason Cowles
Courtesy Photo

Jason Cowles

Occupation: Director of engineering and water resources for Eagle River Water & Sanitation District

Place of residence: Eagle

Prior board experience: I’ve served two, four-year terms on the town of Eagle planning and zoning commission, including seven years as the chairman.

Why did you decide to run for the Mountain Recreation Board?

I’m running for the Mountain Recreation board because I value community and strongly believe in the value that recreational facilities and programs bring to our community’s quality of life and character.

I volunteer to maintain the outdoor ice at Eagle Town Park in my free time, because it’s an amazing community tradition here in Eagle that brings people together. Volunteering my time brings me joy, so this was an interesting opportunity for me to serve the community in a similar capacity.

We have experienced significant growth since Mountain Recreation’s facilities in Eagle, Gypsum and Edwards were constructed. And Mountain Recreation, with input from their constituents, developed the All Access Rec plan to continue to meet growing demands.

If our community chooses to invest in improving our recreational facilities in the May TABOR election, my expertise in land development and capital improvement planning and construction will be an asset to Mountain Recreation as they implement the vision for its facilities. I will work to support staff and ensure that the community receives the best value for its investments.

I also believe that my experience in local government and capital improvement financing will still be an asset to Mountain Recreation regardless of the outcome of the TABOR election. I will bring new approaches to generating revenues that can either be used to decrease the tax burden for its constituents sooner if the TABOR election is successful, or can be used to fund capital improvements to the facilities if it fails.

What projects do you feel are most important for the board to consider?

I love that the Gypsum Rec Center has become such a vibrant community hub for a variety of activities, and I’d like to see that sort of vibrancy recreated at the Eagle and Edwards facilities. I think there are great opportunities to add to and improve programs and services at each of the facilities. The projects in the All Access Rec plan will do just that.

I’m most excited about the proposed addition of fitness facilities at the Eagle Pool and Ice Rink because my two sons are avid hockey players. I’ve also witnessed the recent explosive growth that our local hockey and ice-skating programs have experienced.

Personally, I would like to see another sheet of ice happen sooner rather than later and hope I can find creative ways to make that happen as a board member. However, I don’t want to give the impression that I’m running on an agenda for more ice. The board will have to carefully consider the diverse needs of the entire community, the current and projected service levels for programs and activities, and its available funds to make decisions in the best interests of all its constituents.

What does the future of Mountain Rec look like to you?

The future of Mountain Recreation is one that involves vibrant community centers with diverse programs and activities for all to enjoy.

Tracy Erickson

Occupation: Executive Director of the Homestead Owners Association

Place of residence: Edwards

Prior board experience: Mountain Recreation Board (WECMRD) for 8 years (former), and Edwards Metropolitan District Board for 10 years (former)

Why did you decide to run for the Mountain Recreation Board?

The reason I am running for the Mountain Recreation Board of Directors is due to my commitment to and passion for the communities I live and work in.

My love and service for the Eagle County community began with my family moving here in 1993 and continued when I became a taxpayer in 1999. I soon realized how important my community was to me and began my career as the Director of Homestead (Edwards) in 2003. It is an honor to serve that community to this day, 19 years later. I also served on both the Mountain Recreation Board (WECMRD) for 8 years and Edwards Metropolitan District Board for 10 years.

While on the Mountain Recreation Board (2008-2016) I worked collaboratively with area partners to focus on county-wide recreation that would make our entire community a better place to live, work and visit.

This brings me to why I am running for the Mountain Recreation Board — in reviewing the “All Access Rec” proposal, I’m concerned that Mountain Recreation isn’t considering what the greatest use and user needs are for county-wide recreation and that they are focusing on providing carbon copy large fitness centers in the district hubs. This plan ignores available resources in the various facilities valley-wide, the needs of the majority of users, and the equity partnerships that exist with the towns.

What projects do you feel are most important for the board to consider?

It’s most important for the district to focus on properly maintaining its current offerings and then to evaluate the highest and best use of its facilities for future projects, such as ice rink expansion. That evaluation should consider other public and private offerings in the valley as well as equity throughout district hubs and relationships with partner towns.

What does the future of Mountain Rec look like to you?

Regardless of the passage or failure of this election’s ballot issue, I believe the future needs and projects of Mountain Rec are the same: assessing true recreational needs of the entire county (like another ice sheet or trail improvements) and not creating new lease spaces for corporate sponsors.

Mountain Recreation needs to refocus on the community partnership model that created the three hubs in the first place and be equitable with its funding.

Originally, Mountain Rec spread the funding dollars equally between the hubs and if the communities wanted or needed something different, they found matching funds to make it happen. This collaborative method helps ensure users are equitably sharing in the costs of their facilities and improvements.

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