A Note from Our Director

It seems to me extraordinary luck that my daughters’ early years are taking place here in an aspen grove on a protected ranch in the Wet Mountain Valley.

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Lucy Lenth (age 4) skiing on Humboldt Peak Ranch - Protected with a conservation easement held by San Isabel

In one way, we’re caught in time, enjoying life in one of the last great ranching valleys in Colorado. But society is changing so incredibly fast that I cannot help but believe we are all on the brink of something remarkable.

2015 will be San Isabel’s 20th anniversary. For these first two decades, the land trust has been driven and defined by what we don’t want – rapid subdivision, agricultural dry-up, the loss of wildlife habitat and our heritage. These are important reasons to act, and our work is far from done. However, as we look towards our future, San Isabel would like to be driven by what we do want.

What does a vibrant future look like, and how do we get there?


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A Vibrant Future - Photo credit: Preservation Photography

How can the land trust position itself to facilitate dialogue and action that will serve us moving forward?

Some of Colorado’s greatest tensions are between urban and rural communities. Water, our most precious natural resource, is right at the center of this tension. Everybody wants the same thing: enough water to support our lifestyles and industries, to maintain what we have and provide for what we need into the future.

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Photo credit: Dan Ballard Photography

What urban municipalities and industries don’t seem to understand is that when they buy water from Colorado agriculture, they are severely damaging rural communities. I can’t think of a private property rights decision that has more impact in our region than the purchase of agricultural water off the land.

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Billington Ranch - Photo credit: Preservation Photography

Urban and Rural Colorado are interdependent – we need each other, for food, for commerce, for our love of the state. Land trusts seek to be a resource to both urban and rural communities interested in land, how we live on it, and what potential lies ahead. San Isabel wants to continue these dialogues, and our actions are picking up speed.

The time for conservation is now, and our current conservation easement projects cover over 3,000 acres in three counties, with very significant water rights. We are having ongoing discussions with dozens of families. This summer we completed a conservation analysis of our region and have identified our conservation priorities, so we know who we need to talk to and what we need to do. We continue to invest in outreach and fundraising so we may bring more conservation to fruition. We are poised for success, and can’t do it without your help.

Thank you for being part of this community,

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Ben Lenth

Executive Director

Ben Lenth

Posted in News


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

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