The Next 20 Years

This year San Isabel Land Protection Trust celebrates its 20th birthday. Two decades is quite an accomplishment for a small organization with big ambitions. Paradoxically, the success of San Isabel and other land trusts is defined as much by what doesn’t happen, as what does.

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Our purpose is to keep this wild and working landscape as it is, healthy and intact. That means undeveloped – thus, no change. However, big changes are coming to Colorado, and our work is far from done. As we celebrate this milestone, another question looms. What will San Isabel look like in another 20 years?

Given that Colorado is expected to gain 2 million more residents in the coming decades, we will see growth in all corners of the state. We will see growth here. The greatest natural resource challenge we face is to provide water for this growing demand, while not undermining the very qualities that make Colorado special. Water runs through it all: beautiful valleys, productive ranches, wild rivers . . . and our faucets, parks, and industries. We all need water. Urban or rural, we can’t live without it.

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Photo courtesy of Dan Ballard Photography

The role of the land trust will continue to adapt. Our core responsibility is to continue to help landowners steward their lands on which we hold conservation easements. The land isn’t just protected, but we are actively protecting it, now and forever. That is the purpose of the land trust, and the reason the organization must thrive.

In this next chapter, we will develop new ways, in addition to conservation easements, to serve landowners and foster the health of our lands. In our efforts to steward the land we will need to adapt to economic conditions. We know family ranchers have a difficult time making a living. How can we find ways to help keep families on the land, and keep the lands productive?

In the next 20 years, San Isabel will address these challenges. We will form new strategic alliances to leverage our work. We will expand into new services, including ecological restoration. We will be here to serve the needs of our community, and the needs of the land.

Thank you for joining us in our efforts to protect the lands and landscapes that we all cherish.

Ben Lenth, Executive Director

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