In 1994, a small group of Custer County residents concerned about growth issues and the threat to agricultural lands and waters in the region sought public dialogue and community planning. With the help of a capacity-building grant from Great Outdoors Colorado in 1995, these early workers learned about  land trust procedures and increased community awareness through landowner forums. Shortly after that, the land trust was incorporated as a 501(c)3 organization.

In 1996, when Custer County was the fourth fastest growing county in the country, our land trust worked closely with other community organizations to complete the San Isabel Resource Plan with the help of a Great Outdoors Colorado planning grant. The plan provided local residents with an understanding of their natural and cultural resources and options to protect them. It also served as a tool to identify priority areas for land and water protection. The Resource Plan gained a broad base of support for its mission, and by early 1997, San Isabel accepted its first conservation easement.

Today, San Isabel is a nationally accredited nonprofit conservation organization, working with landowners to protect their land and water in Custer, Fremont, Pueblo and Huerfano counties. Our vision is to ensure that our region forever remains a beautiful and wild landscape with a strong agricultural foundation and vibrant, healthy communities.

  • "My family put 720 acres under conservation easement in 2009. We did it to protect the integrity of the property and to help secure the water rights to the irrigated hay land in perpetuity. In this age of agricultural and economic uncertainty, conservation easements are the thing to do."

    – Larry Vickerman, executive director, Denver Botanic Gardens, Chatfield

We have protected more than 42,000 acres through 134 conservation easements.

Conservation easements guarantee long-term protection – through generations of landowners.