The prairie humorist Will Rogers was serious when he proclaimed, “Land? They ain’t makin’ that anymore!” What we see is what we have.

Bull elk (Cervus elaphus) stands on the Knoll Willows Open Space above the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) building (new in 2006) and Lake Estes in Estes Park, Colorado, Rocky Mountains, on a September evening.

A bull elk (Cervus elaphus) stands on Knoll Willows Open Space above the visitor center, in Estes        Park, Colorado, USA         Photo by James Frank

OUR PASSION

The prairie humorist Will Rogers was serious when he proclaimed, “Land? They ain’t makin’ that anymore!” What we see is what we have. The landscape in which we live is an invaluable, non-renewable resource. Our unique ecosystem is saturated with scenic beauty and is home to a diverse assortment of wildlife. The pressure from population growth and human development over the last quarter century has been relentless and will continue. Estes Valley Land Trust is committed to protecting the viewscapes and wildlife habitat that attract so many people — both visitors and residents — to this beautiful area.

Butterfly on lilac bush, near the North Fork of the Big Thompson River, Larimer County, Drake, Colorado, USA

Butterfly on lilac bush, near the North Fork of the Big Thompson River, Larimer County, Drake, Colorado, USA

WHY CONSERVE LAND?

There are many and varied reasons why landowners choose to place a conservation easement on their land.  Yet, in the end they are each thinking about the next generation and a world they wish to leave behind.  Read More

Paintbrush, summer morning at Hermit Park in the Rocky Mountains near Estes Park, Colorado, USA

Paintbrush, summer morning at Hermit Park in the Rocky Mountains near Estes Park, Colorado, USA

WHAT IS A LAND TRUST?

EVLT is a land trust. By definition a land trust is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that actively works to conserve land by undertaking or assisting with direct land transactions – primarily the purchase or acceptance of donations of land or con­servation easements…
Read More

jJnniper grows tenaciously on granite, May in the Rocky Mountains, Estes Park, Colorado, USA

Juniper grows tenaciously on granite, May in the Rocky Mountains, Estes Park, Colorado, USA

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING DONATING A CONSERVATION EASEMENT

Conservation easements are a common land protection tool. However, they are sometimes misunderstood and this set of FAQs provides a basic explanation of how a conservation easement can help a private landowner achieve their land protection goals.

 

Approximately 9,750 acres of land are preserved by the Estes Valley Land Trust.

OUR PROJECTS

In order to ensure that the public good is upheld through every easement transaction, EVLT has adopted a Strategic Conservation Priorities Planning process that provides a framework to score each property based on its conservation values. The high priority conservation values in the Estes Valley are Open Space and Scenic Resources, and Relatively Natural (Wildlife) Habitat. Several indicators are used to measure each of these values for any property under consideration.

Lower priorities, but still contributing to the overall scoring, are the conservation values of Historic and Recreational Significance. There are limiting factors that might detract from the conservation values of the property, and these are also considered in each property evaluation: property size; noxious weeds, or trash; distance from Estes Park; and potential access problems. Through this evaluation process, EVLT takes steps to ensure that each conservation easement that is accepted meets the standards of the Internal Revenue Service, the Colorado Department of Revenue, and the Land Trust Alliance.

The geographic area covered by the Land Trust extends from Drake and Glen Haven through Estes Park to the Wild Basin area — a distance of about 20 miles, and across to properties along Highway 36, Dry Gulch Road and Highway 34 toward Rocky Mountain National Park. The smallest easement is one acre, the largest 1,362 acres. Most of the EVLT conservation easements are on private property with access only through permission of the landowner. Occasionally, through the generosity of the property landowners, educational events and hikes are held on some of these properties.

A few EVLT easements are on public lands and can be accessed, including Hermit Park Open Space and Centennial Open Space at Knoll-Willows near downtown Estes Park. Also, Mrs. Walsh’s Garden is owned by the Town of Estes Park and publicly accessible. Whether you are enjoying the view or enjoying your feet on the ground, these easements are designed for your benefit as part of the public good.