Preserving a piece of paradise

Photo credit: Caroline McLean

Photo credit: Caroline McLean

Yesterday, when I was walking along Peanut Lake road, I saw a blue heron flying to its nest and it made me smile. Place lise the Slate River Wetlands make Crested Butte a special place to live – a place where we can slow down and connect with nature our families and our community.

With your gift we are able to safeguard the natural beauty that meant so much to Chris, including the wetlands and forests that make up the Slate River Valley. Your gift in his memory gives us the bandwidth to protect other special landscapes that we are currently working on, like the Snodgrass trailhead, and will be a lasting tribute.

The goal of the Snodgrass Trailhead Project is not only to secure the trailhead, but also to preserve a 93-acre meadow that is blessed with abundant wetlands and wildlife habitat.

It has been quite a wild ride trying to conserve this special piece of land. The parcel was slated for development and recently received a serious offer from developers. But we seized an amazing opportunity. It is because of you and your support of the Land Trust that we were able to spend time with the landowner to craft an agreement that benefits the towns of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte, the ski area, and a local ranching family who use the land for grazing. Once conserved it will remain a community treasure for generations to come.

Other trail work projects include:

  • Enhancing the Lower Loop trailhead and parking lot, which gets really muddy during spring run-off.
  • Improving signage so that everyone can explore and enjoy all the spurs off the Lower Loop trail, like the Budd trail and the KB connector.
  • Designing a new single track trail on the property you helped conserve last fall in the Slate River Valley, to extend the lupine trail. The trail will balance recreation with the grazing needs of ranchers.

Another exciting project underway is the community farm new Crested Butte South called the Alpenglow Farm. The first phase of this unique partnership between the Land Trust and Mountain Roots Food Project begins with the planting of a 3-acre learning garden.

The learning garden will be planted with several altitude-adjusted berries, herbs and wildflowers. It will include a small kitchen garden displaying what would be necessary to feed a single household. It will be exciting to help this new project take root.

— Submitted by Ann Johnston, Executive Director, Crested Butte Land Trust, June 2014

Stewardship of nature also provided a sense of place and sense of purpose for Chris Mikesell. The Foundation’s 2013 and 2014 grants of $18,000 are given in tribute to this common passion.

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