Colorado continues to experience population growth each month with individuals and families moving here to enjoy the state's quality of life and outdoor lifestyle, which includes having access to recreational opportunities, wildlife viewing and a unique way of life. Colorado is predicted to see continued and significant population growth in the next 20 years, with the majority of Colorado’s projected growth anticipated to occur along the Front Range, bringing even more people who want to explore the canyons, foothills, and mountains. The work of the Mountain Area Land Trust (MALT) is more important than ever to help protect the region's magnificent natural resources, streams and rivers, working ranches and historic lands for the benefit of the community and as a legacy for future generations. MALT works in partnership with private landowners as well as public entities, to ensure that recreational needs are being met, while also working to protect our valuable open spaces, land and water.
MALT is proud of the thousands of acres we have been able to conserve in Colorado with the partnership of landowners to save natural areas, wildlife habitat, streams and rivers, working ranches and historic lands. We all benefit from private voluntary land agreements!
A 2017 analysis from Colorado State University found that each dollar invested by the state for these (conservation) easements produced benefits of between $4 and $12 for Coloradans. Public benefits include clean water and air, scenic views, access to things produced by local farms and ranches products, and wildlife habitat: all things that contribute to a high quality of life in the state.
For 29 years, Mountain Area Land Trust (MALT) has conserved a total of 23,482 acres in our six county service area. 17,310 acres in 86 private Conservation Easements and 207 acres are owned by MALT. Plus an additional 5,965 acres protected through facilitated public projects including Noble Meadow, Blair Ranch, Beaver Brook Watershed, Paradise Hills and Bergen Nature Trail.
Mountain Area Land Trust (MALT) based in Evergreen, Colorado was founded in 1992 and in 2017 celebrated its 25th anniversary of land and water conservation. The mission of MALT is to save natural areas, wildlife habitat, streams and rivers, working ranches and historic lands for the benefit of the community and as a legacy for future generations. MALT serves a 4,290 square-mile area in Colorado, roughly the size of Connecticut, which encompasses six counties including Clear Creek, Park, Gilpin, Teller and the mountainous regions of Boulder and Jefferson.
MALT’s major program areas include: (1) Conservation Easements; (2) Land Stewardship; and (3) Outreach and Education. MALT continues to grow voluntary land conservation agreements with both individuals and non-profit organizations thereby increasing MALT’s conservation impact. Currently MALT holds 81 conservation easements. In addition, MALT pursues public projects that allow for new hiking, biking trails and outdoor recreation opportunities that provide access to thousands of acres of previously inaccessible public lands. MALT spearheads public projects and coordinates the participation of partners to pool resources and facilitate land purchases. The organization realized a major collaborative success in 2016 through a partnership with Great Outdoors Colorado, Trust for Public Land, Clear Creek County Open Space and Jefferson County Open Space. MALT negotiated the purchase of 108 acres, now called Floyd Hill Open Space, with the intention of developing a new public hiking and biking trail that will connect to a network of existing and future trails traversing 12,000 acres of previously inaccessible areas. MALT’s role as a leader in collaborative public projects provides more conservation for more people.
In terms of Land Stewardship, MALT retains a full time seasonal Land Steward to annually monitor all of its conservation easements, and will do so in perpetuity, to ensure that the terms of the voluntary land conservation agreements are being met.
Finally related to MALT’s Outreach and Education programming, the organization will continue its work to expand and complete the Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area, located just north and west of Fairplay, Colorado. In 2013, MALT purchased 92 acres on this unique 13,000 foot elevation, high alpine area which is home to one of the largest standing groves of 2,000 year old reproducing ancient Bristlecone Pines, and is the site of more than 40 years of continuous alpine scientific research. Through a successful collaboration with a federal grant program from the South Park National Heritage Area, and a partnership with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, MALT has constructed a 1 ½ mile hiking trail on the property, and in 2014 launched a summer hiking education series of which Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area is a major focus. Since establishing the summer hiking series, participation in the program has increased 70% and the numbers of hikes offered has doubled. In 2018, a driveway and parking area was completed on MALT's property at the Pika Trailhead. Signage was installed as well at the trailhead kiosk. MALT’s future goals include the acquisition of additional acreage on Pennsylvania Mountain and perhaps the construction of an energy efficient scientific research cabin, and completion of a baseline inventory of the area to support a U.S. Forest Service Botanical Area designation. MALT envisions the creation of a 500+ acre natural area, to preserve and protect this sensitive region and its many unique biological and wildlife attributes.