First president offers insight on our beginnings, future

In response to our invitation to participate in our recent strategic planning effort, Randy Woods, San Isabel's first president, sent a letter offering his insight into our organization’s history and graciously allowed us to share it with you.

Dear Linda,

I will, unfortunately, be out of town and unavailable to attend and participate in the upcoming planning session scheduled for Nov. 9. I do want you to know I greatly appreciate the invite, and I think it a wise move to solicit and engage past board members views and perspectives.

As one of the founding members, and San Isabel's first president, this invitation has caused me to reflect on past influences and my view of what the organization has become. First, might I say thank you to the current board and staff and my extreme gratitude to those who preceded you, but followed us. The organization has vastly exceeded what I envisioned, in physical scope and vision while keeping its primary focus on local and regional conservation.

My primary agenda in initially involving myself in this endeavor was – and still is – wildlife, both habitat and unencumbered migration, along with the beneficial consequences of viable, historic agriculture, open space, wise regulated growth and viewshed issues. In my view, the one common denominator in all of these issues and the applicable success of these issues is water. Protecting land, without protecting the water is, well, pissin' in the wind. Therefore, if you may, my input to any strategic session would be, simply, water.

If I may also state a few personal observations and acknowledgements, that may or may not be recorded for the organization's posterity, please humbly allow me. First, there would be no San Isabel Land Protection Trust (formerly San Isabel Foundation) without Pari Morse's dedication, participation and great work. I remember in 1995 when Pari, my wife, Sarah, and I attended the National Land Trust Rally in Carmel, Calif., shortly after we received our 501(c)3 designation. Wow were we ever clueless. That is when we first realized we had misnamed our new land trust the San Isabel Foundation. We garnered a lot of attention at the rally because people and organizations thought we were a "foundation" – with money.

Pari also broadened the organization and board with wonderful, diverse persons. John and Carol Barnett, Peggy Kavookjian, Vic Barnes and others. Pari (and Don) should be recognized as nurturing the organization from life support to viability. Also, at this year's (Art for the Sangres), I had a wonderful opportunity to speak with Charles Proctor at length. How fulfilling for me. We hugged goodbye as family should, and I couldn't help but reflect on his and beautiful Alice's contributions. My greatest leadership accomplishment came quite naturally when I realized that when Alice spoke, at any meeting or gathering, almost all else went silent for me as I focused on her unbiased, pure perspective, as if a bell were ringing. Vic Barnes and Paul Snyder brought their educated experience to my aid that lacked both. Peggy, whom I love as a sister, and John and Carol, whom I continue to grieve for, preceded your efforts and gave initial life to the vision of local conservation.

There are more I need to mention, and I did not intend to ramble, but the SILPT is as a child that I admire, now, from afar and again thank you all in the shared vision of ethical land conservation and the human family it can create and nurture. Certainly, good luck for the future.

Warmest regards,

Randy Woods

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