History of the Mountain Area Land Trust
Original article by Mike Strunk
An Idea Begins
On April 4, 1992 at the Hiwan Homestead Museum, Linda Rockwell called the first meeting of a small group of Evergreen residents to explore the possibility of creating a land trust in Evergreen. The Canyon Courier summarized the meeting with an editorial entitled “Idea Worth Pursuing.” Two months later, after pondering the scope of the organization and several possible names, pro bono attorney Jerry Dahl prepared by-laws and incorporation papers, and filed for tax-exempt status for the Mountain Area Land Trust. Dan Pike, Sylvia Brockner, Dave Scruby, and Linda Dahl were named its first directors. The first annual membership meeting was held in April 1993, when the first officers were elected: Dan Pike, President; Hank Alderfer, Vice President; Chuck Hazelrigg, Treasurer; and Linda Dahl, Secretary.
At the first annual meeting in 1993, three projects were identified as the group’s highest priorities: preservation of Noble Meadow and the Beaver Brook Watershed and the establishment of the Bergen Park Elementary School Nature Trail. All three projects were successfully accomplished.
Certainly the most visible projects accomplished by the Mountain Area Land Trust are those that ultimately end up in public ownership, and are thus open to use by local residents and visitors. In these cases, MALT works as a facilitator to help arrange the acquisition of property by a public agency from a willing landowner. Noble Meadow and Blair Ranch, parcels now managed by Jefferson County Open Space, and Beaver Brook Watershed, now owned by the U.S. Forest Service and Clear Creek County Open Space, are examples of this type of project. In these cases, the value of the land for wildlife and other natural systems is preserved, while making these public lands available for hiking, mountain biking, horse-back riding, and similar uses consistent with resource protection. The stories of the preservation of these public projects make for interesting reading.