Nationally-renowned author Terry Tempest Williams visited Steamboat Springs last year and came away impressed by the scope of land conservation in the Yampa Valley.
“I really have to honor this community,” Tempest Williams emphasized. “Coming into this valley, you know that this open space is hard-won.”
Terry Tempest Williams has published a number of well-received environmental books, columns and articles. She appeared on Ken Burns’ PBS series on National Parks and has received a number of prominent awards, including the Robert Marshall Award from The Wilderness Society (their highest honor given to an American citizen).
With so many competing land uses in Routt County, Tempest Williams is absolutely right about about our community’s conservation efforts: open space is hard-won in the Yampa Valley. For nearly 25 years – and made possible only with your support – YVLT has worked to permanently protect over 55,290 acres across Northwest Colorado by way of 75 conservation easements. Many of these complex real estate transactions are years (or even decades) in the works.
Fortunately, the citizens of Routt County have made protecting open space a priority with the voter-approved “Purchase of Development Rights” program, which has assisted with funding and matching funds for the acquisition of conservation easements on over 40,000 acres since it was first approved by voters in 1996. Tens of thousands of additional acres have been conserved with the assistance of other funding entities, including Great Outdoors Colorado, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and various private foundations. Further, nearly all land conservation in Routt County and Northwest Colorado is supported by a generous donation of conservation easement value provided by the landowners themselves.
“Tempest Williams offered high praise for Routt County’s will to preserve thousands of acres of ranch and farm lands by providing tax dollars to help fund conservation easements,” wrote Tom Ross in the Steamboat Pilot & Today.
This community’s dedication to land conservation is visible to residents and visitors alike, and it even plays a critical role in preserving our local outdoor recreation-based economy. Take a look at YVLT’s conservation projects map, below, to see how far we have come in just under 25 years (click to enlarge):