Vail Daily column: Land conservation, partnerships, and you
Ryan Summerlin August 29, 2014
A community is made stronger by its members’ ability to work together in partnerships. As the new director of Eagle Valley Land Trust, one of the things that attracted me to Eagle County was the amount of collaboration that takes place here.
Whether it is a group of real estate developers partnering to make their vision for a well-planned community amenity become reality or Eagle Valley Land Trust partnering with landowners to conserve their private property, this community understands the value of coming together.
Did you know that you are already a key partner in land conservation? Because you value clean water, outdoor recreation, wildlife habitat and scenic beauty, the state of Colorado and Eagle County, by the majority of your votes, have created funding sources to encourage protection of environmentally important land within our community.
Your investment in your government is being used to protect important waterways from water pollution, recreational areas you visit with your family, historic ranch land along your commute, wildlife habitat that provides biodiversity and scenic areas that restore your spirit.
This isn’t just happening in Eagle County, it is happening all over the state and beyond. In fact, your federal government has responded by carefully creating tax incentives that promote land conservation across the country.
Eagle Valley Land Trust helps protect your investment. Private property owners have access to the funding sources and incentives if they partner with Eagle Valley Land Trust to conserve a substantive portion of their property from development. It is the mission of Eagle Valley Land Trust, and a legal obligation of the land trust, to uphold the conservation desired by the private property owner, forever! If the landowner will not partner with a land trust, then they will not have access to the funding sources and incentives.
Local governments also have access to these funding sources and incentives if they partner with Eagle Valley Land Trust. That’s why Eagle County has partnered with Eagle Valley Land Trust to conserve important properties, often providing new recreational opportunities right in your backyard. Your county commissioners and town councils have sought our partnership to safeguard your tax dollars and your investment in the conserved land. As with its private property partners, Eagle Valley Land Trust is legally bound to forever protect the important riverways, trails, wildlife habitat and scenic areas protected by your county commissioners and town councils.
Not only are these programs responding to everyone’s desire for clean water, accessible trails, wildlife habitat and scenery, but they are also serving your economic interest. With Eagle County’s outdoor recreation and tourism-based economy, protecting these important lands is good business because it preserves our rural character, the underlying reason you invest in your community and the reasons visitors keep coming here.
It is because of your support that Eagle Valley Land Trust has the opportunity to partner with private property owners and local governments to protect important sources of clean water, recreational access, wildlife habitat and incredible scenery.
Successful open space conservation requires a community that values these things and knows how to come together in meaningful partnerships. As the new director of Eagle Valley Land Trust, I look forward to serving you, continuing the great work of the land trust and partnering with private property owners and local governments on projects that support business interests, and uphold the values, of our community.
Jim Daus is the executive director of the Eagle Valley Land Trust. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the work of your local land trust, visit www.evlt.org.