Spring 2023 Newsletter

CDOT graphic showing wildlife overpass

Spring 2023 Newsletter

A Note from MALT Executive Director Jeanne M. Beaudry

Jeanne Beaudry HeadshotThank you to all the generous, thoughtful and committed friends who have supported Mountain Area Land Trust (MALT) during my time as Executive Director. It has been an incredible honor to work with so many wonderful landowners and partners to protect thousands of acres of land, water and wildlife habitat. If you are reading this, you have played a role in supporting me and this organization.

As I turn the page and set my sights on retirement, I am thrilled to see MALT’s longtime Development Director, Lynn Caligiuri, step into the role of leading this organization. Lynn is passionate about MALT’s work and mission and is looking forward to working alongside our talented and dedicated team. I know the Staff and Board of MALT will continue the important land and water conservation work that makes our community a wonderful place to live.

In the days to come, be sure to watch your mailbox for MALT’s Spring appeal, which includes a small gift of our appreciation. And we hope the information shared in this newsletter inspires you to continue supporting our work. Also, be sure and join us for our annual celebration and fundraiser, “A Night In The Park,” on Saturday, June 24.

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“A Night In the Park” – Get Your Tickets Now!

MALT’s annual land and water celebration and fundraiser, “A Night In The Park,” IS the hottest party of the summer! Held in the beautiful outdoor setting at Alderfer/Three Sisters Park under our signature white tent, guests enjoy cocktails, dinner, live music, auction fun and Save-An-Acre Paddle Raise, which supports MALT’s conservation efforts. Tickets are going fast for this fun event on Saturday, June 24! The event will sell out, so make sure to get your tickets today!

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Archaeological Discovery Survey In Park County

MALT is pleased to share it has been awarded a 2023 South Park National Heritage Area (SPNHA) grant to conduct an archaeological survey on its two properties in Fairplay on Sacramento Creek Ranch and the Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area. MALT is partnering with Thomas Lincoln, Archaeologist and Owner, PHA Research and his associates including South Park Site Steward (SPSS) volunteers, to conduct field work and the archaeological survey.

The Sacramento Creek region of South Park was inhabited by ancestral Native American groups and individuals over the past 11,500 years. This project is important to the Ute and Arapahoe Tribes because of their direct historical ties to South Park and its landscapes both in historic and ancient times.

It is anticipated that ancestral Native American archaeological sites and historic properties will be identified because of this project. Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities will be offered an invitation to participate in the archaeological inventory process.

MALT is honored to have the support of SPNHA to conduct this important archaeological survey. The findings are anticipated to be shared later this year.

2,000 Acres Conserved Near Golden Gate Canyon State Park
Mount Tom overlook in Golden

Mount Tom Conservation Corridor is a multi-partner effort that conserves 2,000 acres on and around the summit of Mount Tom (9,741’) near Golden Gate Canyon State Park. This area serves as a vital wildlife habitat and migration corridor that includes the headwaters of Van Bibber Creek, a highly scenic and visible landscape and important lady beetle habitat.

Conservation efforts first started in 2018 when MALT helped the Cappello family place a 400-acre Conservation Easement on their private acreage. Since this time, several conservation-minded groups have expressed interest in further conserving the surrounding beautiful landscape with the desire to secure public access to the peak of Mount Tom for all Coloradans and visitors to enjoy.

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Wildlife Crossings: A Win for Wildlife and People
CDOT graphic showing wildlife overpass

In Colorado, about 4,000 collisions between wildlife and drivers are reported each year, injuring roughly 350 people, killing thousands of animals, and costing Coloradans over $75 million in property damage, medical expenses, and other costs, according to research completed by Pew Charitable Trusts and Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).

In November, CDOT began constructing the first major wildlife crossing on the I-70 mountain corridor between the Lookout Mountain and Genesee exits – a huge win for wildlife and people that travel this route. Wildlife crossings like this one have been shown to have a dramatic impact on saving lives.

A prime example of the benefit of wildlife crossings is the installation of a wildlife overpass and underpass on Highway 9 between Green Mountain Reservoir and Kremmling, which CDOT and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) completed in 2016. The results show a 90% reduction in wildlife-vehicle collisions. The federal government also recently released $350 million, which Native American Tribes and state and local agencies can access to build additional infrastructure to protect wildlife and people.

Another wildlife crossing will be constructed in the months ahead near Empire on I-70, along the area adjacent to the PALS Family State Wildlife Area, a project MALT facilitated in 2020. This new wildlife crossing will protect bighorn sheep, elk, deer, moose, and other wildlife of Clear Creek County that migrate through the area.

Neighbor-to-Neighbor Connections Key To Conserving Multiple Parcels Along Sacramento Creek
A group of hikers gather for a birding workshop at Sacramento Creek Ranch.

The actions and activities of a landowner can directly impact the productivity, enjoyment and value of the land. Conservation of any one property has invaluable positive impacts, but the combined efforts of multiple conservation-minded neighbors working together to protect a broader area magnifies those impacts.

Landowners along Sacramento Creek in Park County are a great example of neighbor-to-neighbor conservation efforts in a biologically diverse area that is a sanctuary for wildlife and endangered species like the Colorado Boreal toad. The stream that runs through this area supports a fragile ecosystem, and voluntary conservation agreements are key to ensuring this biologically diverse region is forever protected.

In 2017, Middlefork LLC placed over 100 acres in a Conservation Easement. This milestone inspired other neighbors to do the same. In 2020, three additional property owners conserved their land. Last year, two more neighbors placed Conservation Easements on their properties. To date, more than 440 acres have been conserved along Sacramento Creek, and MALT looks forward to working with additional landowners to join this movement. This acreage includes MALT-owned Sacramento Creek Ranch, which is also the organization’s satellite office.

“It can take multiple conversations and often years before someone takes steps to permanently conserve their land. Once a neighbor sees and hears another neighbor talking about their voluntary conservation agreement, it piques their neighbor’s interest in wanting to do the same thing. We really enjoy seeing neighbor-to-neighbor connections come to fruition,” MALT Deputy Director of Land and Water Conservation Christine Strickland said.

To start a conversation about forever protecting your land or ways to work with your neighbors, please contact us at malt@savetheland.org or (303) 679-0950.

Save The Date: Birding Hikes in Park County

Mountain Area Land Trust and Evergreen Audubon are partnering to host another series of Birding Identification hikes this summer at Sacramento Creek Ranch and the Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area in Fairplay.

In the weeks ahead, we will share an official invitation and more detailed information about how to reserve your spot. In the meantime, be sure to save July 15 and August 12 on the summer calendar. Additional MALT-sponsored outings to be announced soon!

Conservation In The West Findings

Lori Weigel with New Bridge Strategy (and MALT business sponsor) recently presented the results of the 13th annual Conservation In The West Poll, which surveyed 3,400 people across eight western states (AZ, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, UT, WY) about their views on conservation-related issues.

Some key findings include:

  • 84% of survey respondents continue to strongly support creating new protected areas such as National Parks, and to protect historic sites and areas for outdoor recreation.
  • 68% want members of Congress to prioritize natural resources on public lands rather than produce energy there.
  • 89% believe the current shortage of water supplies in the West is a serious crisis or significant problem.
  • 82% say loss of habitat for fish and wildlife continues to be viewed as an extremely or very serious problem.
  • 89% of Colorado respondents support constructing wildlife crossings across highways that intersect migration routes.

View her presentation here.

Conservation Easements

A Conservation Easement, also known as a voluntary conservation agreement, represents a permanent, binding contract between a landowner and MALT to protect valuable natural resources, wildlife habitat, scenic values, open spaces and historic qualities of a property. By giving up certain development rights on their property, landowners are not only rewarded with the satisfaction of knowing that their land and water are forever protected, but they may also be eligible for significant state and federal tax benefits.

Colorado is one of only a few states that offers an additional tax credit for landowners who place a voluntary conservation agreement on their property. A tax credit certificate is a document issued by the Colorado Division of Conservation that allows a landowner who donates a Conservation Easement to claim a tax credit on their state income tax. The tax credit is not a tax deduction, but rather a dollar-for-dollar reduction of state income tax liability. Moreover, the tax credit certificate is transferable and can be sold. Tax credit certificates are issued for 90% of the donated value of the property up to a maximum of $5 million per donation.

To learn more about, contact MALT or one of our tax credit partners and business sponsors, Conservation Tax Credit Transfer or Tax Credit Connection.

Take a Hike!
Black and white hiker icon

Colorado is home to so many beautiful places! We invite you to hike a few of the areas that MALT helped to conserve!

Fairplay

  • Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area/Pika Trailhead, 858 Prunes Place, 1½ Mile Trail Loop (MALT-owned)
  • Sacramento Creek Ranch, 2234 Bush Run Rd, 1 Mile and 1½ Mile Trail Loops (MALT-owned, Open Mid-May Until Mid-September)

Evergreen

  • Beaver Brook Watershed, 25123 Squaw Pass Rd, Evergreen, 5½ Mile Trail
  • Floyd Hill Open Space, I-70/US 40 (Floyd Hill Exit), Various Trails and Lengths
  • Noble Meadow, access near Buchanan Rec Center, 32003 Ellingwood Trail, Evergreen, 1½ Mile Trail Loop that links into more trails at Elk Meadow Park

Conifer

  • Flying J Ranch, 9661 County Highway 73, 3 Mile Loop (MALT facilitated a Conservation Easement on an adjacent parcel)

To find more recreation trails, go to Colorado Trail Explorer (COTREX).

Flying J Ranch
Photo of children riding horses.

A special thanks to Foothills Living Magazine (Foothills Forward, LLC) for running this article about a MALT landowner and conservation project in its March edition!

John and Marguerite grew up during the Depression–money was tight and life was bleak on the Illinois farms where they were raised. As John put up hay in the fields, he often watched barnstormers flying over the farm. He knew there was something bigger out there in the world for him, and a better way to earn a living. John’s real passion was aviation – he wanted to learn how to fly. So he saved money from his $1 per hour print job and took flying lessons. After a few years he got his pilot’s license and embarked on what would be a very successful and long career. John’s aviation profession took them to Denver in the 1940s, but Marguerite felt the pull of the mountains. They found a ranch in Conifer and purchased it in 1948 where they settled to raise their three daughters Jeanne, Carol and Linda. John aptly named his ranch “Flying J.”

Read the rest of the article.

MALT’s Vista Giving Circle

As someone who values conserved land, water and wildlife, we invite you to become a member of MALT’s Vista Giving Circle (Planned Giving). Leaving a gift today will make a lasting impact on land and water for the future! Vista Giving Circle members receive special recognition, as well as invitations to exclusive MALT events.

You can join MALT’s Vista Giving Circle by:

  • Leaving a gift to MALT in your will.
  • Naming MALT as a beneficiary to your retirement account or life insurance policy.
  • Leaving a gift of real estate.

For more information, please contact Lynn at lynn@savetheland.org or (303) 679-0950.

Welcome New Board Members and Staff

Mountain Area Land Trust is pleased to welcome Kevin Drost, Maureen McDevitt and Elly Miller to our Board of Directors! Learn more about them here!

MALT’s seasonal land steward, Jeffrey Jordan, begins in May and will assist Carl Vitale, MALT’s Stewardship Director, with monitoring.

Grateful appreciation to our partners in conservation!
Conservation Title Sponsor

Highlands Wealth Management Group

Rivers Partners

Working Ranches Partners
Historic Lands Partners
Interested in supporting our Conservation work? Become a sponsor!