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Local Land Trust Looks Ahead

Following two decades of land protection experience, the Estes Valley Land Trust [EVLT] is on a solid foundation. Significant conservation success along with national accreditation positions the Land Trust for continued growth and service to the community.

Each year the officers and board of directors of the EVLT participate in a day-long Strategic Planning Workshop. The recent workshop included: (1) a review of all policies and procedures relating to national accreditation; (2) a recap of the last half-dozen Conservation Easements; (3) approval of annual budget along with membership and financial development plans; (4) discussion of education events; and (5) an evaluation of the board structure.

Last September the EVLT was awarded Accreditation status by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. According to the Commission: “The accreditation seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation, recognizing organizations for meeting national standards of excellence, upholding the public trust and ensuring that conservation efforts are permanent.”
There are approximately 1,700 land trust organizations at work in the United States.  EVLT was one of the first 39 land trusts in the country to receive this recognition.  Four other Colorado land trusts were also included in the inaugural group.

An extensive document called  “Land Trust Standards and Practices” serves as the template for awarding accreditation and is a guide for land trust operations. All accreditations are subject to renewal every five years.

To date, EVLT has entered into a total of 145 Conservation Easements which protect 8,590 acres of land in the Estes Valley.

EVLT and the Town of Estes Park executed a Conservation Easement agreement on three separately platted parcels [Lots 5, 6 and 8] in the Stanley Historic District Subdivision, a total of 5.7 acres. Lots 5 and 6 are on either side of the main entrance to the Stanley Hotel off U.S. Highway 34 Bypass. Lot 8 extends along Black Canyon Creek just east of MacGregor Avenue between the two residential developments.

The Krotter-Johnson family property lies on the west face of Gianttrack Mountain with nearly one-half mile of frontage on CO Highway 66 Spur. Just beyond the town boundary of Estes Park, the parcel is between Aspenbrook and Windcliff Estates, across the highway from the main entrance to the Estes Park Center, YMCA of the Rockies. Two Easements now protect 91 acres of this property.

In addition, the Nicholsons have placed a Conservation Easement on 20 acres of their property in Little Valley, adjacent to U. S. Forest Service land. Sonya Binns, McGraw Ranch Road, has placed an Easement on 48 acres of her property.

EVLT officers and directors continue to evaluate the board’s membership, skills and future needs.  Russ Driskill was appointed to fill a vacancy on the EVLT board of directors created by the resignation of Lynn Weissenrieder.

During a recent meeting, the following officers were elected: Janice Ricker, president, Ken Oldham, secretary, Rebecca Urquhart, assistant secretary, and Jim Broomfield, treasurer. Other officers and directors are: Wendell Amos, Kim Barrier, Marvin Gee, G. Kent Keller, Leo Weber and Jim White.

The next Land Trust educational event is scheduled for Saturday, April 18, 3:00 p.m.  A program entitled “Reading the Landscape of Estes Park” will be present by U. S. Geological Survey geologist Jim Cole.  Mr. Cole is the author of the booklet, “Guide to Roadside Geological Exploration Around Estes Park.”  Watch this newspaper for further details.

Anyone interested in more information about the Estes Valley Land Trust is invited to telephone Mary Banken, Administrative Manager, 970-577-6837 or send an email to

Comments (1)

  • Owen Kinnan

    I am so glad to hear that the consevation easements are being added and that the open space in and around the Estes Valley will be preserved for generations to come. My family and I have been visiting the Estes Valley and RMNP for a number of years, and we always appreciate the beauty of the area and the connection we feel to that part of God’s creation. Keep up the good work that the Land Trust has so far achieved. Congratulations!!!

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