The questions in the back of the minds of the fine staff, board and volunteers of Estes Valley Land Trust (EVLT) are reflected here:
Henry David Thoreau once implored: “Who are we. Where are we?” He was on to something. What will we be as individuals or society if we allow the degradation of our land’s biological richness, agricultural productivity, and elemental beauty? If we are reflections of the places where we live, what will become of us if we exist in landscapes of fear, pollution, monotony, and lost promise? John Burghardt Wright, Rocky Mountain Divide: Selling and Saving the West
We each come to conservation in our own way. Some come by an epiphany and recognition of a sacred space, some come by intellectual analysis and some come by a fighting spirit born from acknowledging how rapidly we are destroying cherished lands and landscapes.
The Millennium Group is grateful to serve an organization filled with people who have come to conservation with passion and intelligence. EVLT is a private, nonprofit organizer whose primary mission is to conserve the scenic beauty and wildlife habitats of the Estes Valley through voluntary legal agreements (conservation easements) with landowners. EVLT focuses on the tangible purpose of protecting and restoring land with the belief that the government cannot save enough natural spaces and individuals must fill the voids.
Their purpose and mission are stated simply and eloquently:
OUR PURPOSE: For generations, people have recognized that there is something special in the Estes Valley—something not found elsewhere, something intimately linked to the pristine beauty of the area’s natural landscapes. The core purpose of Estes Valley Land Trust is to preserve those special qualities of This Beloved Place so they may continue to bring a sense of awe to our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren … forever.
OUR MISSION: The mission of Estes Valley Land Trust is to preserve and protect open space, valleys, wetlands, streams, ranch lands, and wildlife habitat in the Estes Valley and surrounding area. Lands adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park and the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest are of special concern.
The Millennium Group feels honored to work with EVLT and also pleased to count as clients some of their rigorous volunteers. While EVLT has a remarkable board, staff and active volunteers, it is their Executive Director, Mary Banken, Erica Goad, their Stewardship Coordinator, and their Administrative Assistant Jan Swaney that we interact with the most. We have built their website, designed their logo and now manage their IT. It is refreshing to work with these intelligent women and our admiration for them is fierce as we witness their challenge of managing a workload of over 155 land parcels under conservation protection covering 9,600 acres.
Land trusts have been around since ancient Roman and English times, and they are core to the beliefs of many Indigenous people worldwide. Their role in American history has been robust and fueled by rigorous public debate, political agendas, and the unending work of volunteers and Native Americans who refused to quit. EVLT’s history reflects this rigorous and arduous pattern since its founding in 1987 and it was run entirely by dedicated volunteers for 25 years. Now they are accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance.
EVLT was nationally accredited in 2008 as one of a prestigious first group of 39 to be awarded this designation. EVLT’s recent February 2014 Reaccreditation means EVLT is among the first 16 land trusts to achieve renewal. Accredited land trusts are authorized to display a seal indicating to the public that they meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. The seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation that EVLT deserves to wear with high honors.
We urge all our clients in Northern Colorado to become acquainted with EVLT and in turn, urge landowners to assist them in their mission to maintain the majesty of our landscape for perpetuity.
Explore EVLT online.
Read or re-read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, the book that created the public awareness that nature was vulnerable to human intervention.
Learn about The American Conservation Tradition and the Land Trust Alliance and the Land Trust Alliance