Fall 2020 Newsletter
A Message from the Executive Director
This year, 2020, has been an unprecedented year with a pandemic, economic struggles for so many, wildfires, politics and pressure to stay sane. Despite all these challenges Mountain Area Land Trust has continued to focus on conserving land and water within the Front Range Mountains and high plains.
The need to recreate and spend time on the land to heal our souls has never been stronger. This year the demand for our services has also never been greater. We are working on over 10 critical projects which will total more than 1000 acres. We are grateful for the support and ability to stay active during these times.
Stay safe and healthy,
Upcoming Voluntary Land Agreement Closings
With the November closing of a Conservation Easement on 71 acres on MALT’s property at Sacramento Creek Ranch in Fairplay and an additional 116 acres with adjacent landowners, the first phase of conservation in the Sacramento Creek Valley is nearly finalized. These three Conservation Easements totaling 187 acres, complete a crucial link between the peaks of the Mosquito Range in the Pike National Forest and the Middle Fork of the South Platte River on the Wooly Bugger Ranch, conserved in 2017 by MALT. MALT has also initiated conversations with several other neighbors in the Sacramento Creek Valley who are interested in expanding this critical conservation corridor. The completion of additional Conservation Easements in 2021 within the South Park region will further establish MALT’s presence in the community and advance efforts to conserve this critical area of high biodiversity. Phase One of the Sacramento Creek Project has been generously supported by the Park County Land and Water Trust Fund, founded in 1998 to preserve and protect critical water, open space, wildlife and recreation resources within the county.
In addition to its efforts in the Sacramento Creek Valley, MALT will complete several other Conservation Easements in 2020 including:
- In Jefferson County, MALT will complete two Conservation Easements near Evergreen, protecting 312 acres of highly visible open space and wildlife habitat.
- In Park County, MALT will complete a Conservation Easement on a historic family ranch surrounded on three sides by the Pike National Forest. This voluntary land agreement will protect 206 acres of wildlife habitat and open space, including several acres of critical riparian habitat.
- In Boulder County, MALT will complete a Conservation Easement on 2.6 acres along Sunshine Canyon Drive, designated by the county as a View Protection Corridor. This property, which could have been developed into two large residential houses, will now be protected as visual open space and important wildlife habitat. The voluntary land agreement protects nesting sites for the Rock Wren, an avian species identified as a Boulder County Wildlife Species of Special Concern.
Finally, MALT has submitted a grant proposal to Colorado Parks and Wildlife that would conserve a valuable link for Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep in Clear Creek County. Both the Clear Creek County Open Space Commission and Friends of Clear Creek have pledged financial support for this project.
MALT Receives Land Manager of the Year Award
In a virtual presentation Thursday, November 12th, Mountain Area Land Trust received the Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado’s “Land Manager of the Year” award for the 2020 season. MALT was recognized for the trail work projects on MALT’s property at Sacramento Creek Ranch near Fairplay.
“It was a joy to partner with MALT on the Sacramento Creek Ranch project and our staff unanimously agreed MALT should be recognized,” said Kate Barrett, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) Projects Coordinator.
Twenty-five volunteers from VOC kicked off the first of two project weekends on August 21st at Sacramento Creek Ranch to begin work constructing the new trail. A 1.5 mile Sacramento Creek loop trail already existed on the property. Over the weekends of August 21st and 28th volunteers donated 406 hours to build 1.5 miles of new trail through the woods. MALT is grateful for financial support from the South Park National Heritage Area (SPNHA) and Summit Foundation who both provided grant funding to complete the trail building projects.
Each year, VOC recognizes the outstanding contributions of volunteers and partners at their annual Volunteer Awards & Appreciation Night. In addition to MALT, four individuals and one organization were recognized for their achievements in outdoor stewardship during VOC’s PPE (Pandemic Project Era) season.
MALT will be working again with VOC in 2021 to add additional trails at Sacramento Creek Ranch.
Future Plans for Floyd Hill Open Space
Floyd Hill Open Space (FHOS) has emerged as an important park for recreationists to get some fresh air and exercise during the past 8 months. Nearly 1800 bikers and hikers have enjoyed the open space each week during 2020. MALT holds the Conservation Easement on 108 acres at FHOS. (Learn more about MALT’s work at FHOS.)
Clear Creek County Open Space who manages the property has 2021 future plans for this area including the following improvements: installing an entrance sign, adding a permanent restroom, refining the existing overflow parking area, installing fencing along the north side of the driveway and installing a kiosk with a map and more information on the ridge.
Help MALT Save the Land That is Saving Us During the COVID-19 Pandemic!
There is no doubt about it… 2020 has certainly been a year for the record books having unprecedented challenges and worries.
Have you driven to the grocery store only to realize you left your mask at home? Has your internet “dropped” in the middle of an important Zoom meeting? Are you missing loved ones that you are unable to visit?
At Mountain Area Land Trust we sympathize with you during these trying times. We are all in this together and are sharing many of the same frustrating experiences. Our common struggles and these shared experiences, while definitely challenging are also what bonds each of us together during these difficult moments.
And despite our unease about “what’s next”, we are truly fortunate. In our mountain communities we are blessed with the ever present, healing and restorative impacts of nature and the outdoors.
We ask a great deal of our friends and supporters. We rely on each and every one of you for your generous gifts to ensure that our work to conserve Colorado’s amazing open spaces, land and water will continue, despite new economic and social challenges. This year in particular, we are asking that you consider giving as generously as you possibly can to ensure that MALT continues to stay strong and vibrant.
How to donate to MALT on Colorado Gives Day, Tuesday December 8th!
You can schedule your donation today
in 3 easy steps!
Search for Mountain Area Land Trust on ColoradoGives.org
Make your donation – thank you!
Celebrate your support of land and water in our mountain community!
“I’m not crazy…I’m doing science!”
If you missed the any of the Field Notes from MALT’s summer research interns, it is not too late to catch up! Meet Elsa and Camille and learn about the research that was conducted in 2020 at Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area. Elsa’s summer research focused on how drought effects the flowering success of alpine plants by studying established clover plots growing on Pennsylvania Mountain. Camille Oster managed a research project including evaluating the behaviors of bees and formica ants visiting alpine skypilots. She also continued the research of previous scientists studying the alpine dandelion, comparing the pollination effectiveness of its two common pollinators – bumble bees and bee flies.