Kate Spinelli promoted to Stewardship Director

Kate Spinelli has been promoted to Stewardship Director at San Isabel.

The move emphasizes San Isabel’s commitment to working with landowners to protect and care for land and water in Huerfano, Custer, Fremont and Pueblo counties. The land trust aims to ensure the region remains a beautiful and wild landscape with a strong agricultural foundation and a vibrant, healthy community.

“San Isabel recognizes that an important part of its work in the years ahead is helping landowners safeguard the valuable assets protected under our conservation easements, which are forever,” said Larry Vickerman, San Isabel’s board president. “Ensuring the health of the region’s landscape benefits all of us. Kate, as Stewardship Director, plays a key role in making that happen.”

Spinelli joined San Isabel in 2016 as the land trust’s first full-time stewardship staff member. She manages 132 conservation easements spanning more than 40,000 acres. In Huerfano County, the land trust has 14 conservation easements totaling 4,838 acres.

The land trust works with landowners and other partners to find funding and coordinate technical assistance for projects to restore forest and watershed health, reduce fire risk, recover from fires, support sustainable agricultural practices, manage non-native plants, help establish appropriate vegetation and improve wildlife habitat on private lands.

“Partnering with landowners to protect and care for the land has been the heart of San Isabel’s mission for more than 20 years,” Spinelli said. “Through our Stewardship Program, we support their efforts to manage, restore and enhance the health and productivity of their land. Because we all benefit from healthy land, water and wildlife, we are engaging our community through education, outreach and volunteer opportunities.”

At The Bluff Park, the focal point of downtown Westcliffe, she established the Bluff Stewards, a volunteer group that helps maintain and beautify the park, co-owned by San Isabel and the town of Westcliffe.

During the past year, Spinelli has worked with landowners affected by last fall’s Junkins Fire, which burned more than 18,000 acres, including six of San Isabel’s conservation properties. She serves as liaison to government agencies, contractors and nonprofit groups, identifying fire recovery resources for landowners and supporting volunteer efforts to complete critical restoration work. And she helped organize a community workshop in April that addressed how to protect homes, property and forests from the dangers of wildfire.

Spinelli also managed and secured funding for a project this summer to enhance wildlife habitat, improve forest and watershed health and reduce fire risks on Duckett Creek Ranch, a 400-acre conservation property in Custer County. San Isabel partnered with Great Outdoors Colorado and Mile High Youth Corps – Southern Front Range. The crews removed dead trees and slash remaining from the 2011 Duckett Fire.

Spinelli can be reached at San Isabel’s Westcliffe office at 719.783.3018 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Janet Smith

Posted in News


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