Shaping the future of Vail Valleys landscape | VailDaily.com
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Shaping the future of Vail Valleys landscape

Lauren Glendenninglglendenning@vaildaily.comVail, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyThe Eagle Valley Land Trust works to protect open spaces, wildlife and the environment.
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Organization Name: Eagle Valley Land TrustExecutive Director: Cindy CohagenLocation: GypsumPhone number: (970) 524-0870Web address: http://www.evlt.orgHours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.Years in business: 26 the Eagle Valley Land Trust is the third oldest land trust in the state.What is the organizations mission and who benefits from its work?The mission of the Eagle Valley Land Trust is to preserve forever scenic vistas, open space, historic lands, waterways and wildlife habitat that represent the uniqueness of Eagle County for the enjoyment, education and benefit of all who live in and visit this special place.The ultimate beneficiaries of the Trust’s efforts are future generations who will live in and visit the Vail Valley. The work of the Trust is helping to ensure that the beautiful, open and green spaces we enjoy today will be here for our children and their children to enjoy decades from now.Where does your funding come from?Eagle Valley Land Trust is an independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that relies on gifts and grants from private individuals and foundations to sustain its operations.How many staff members work for you?The Trust is about team work. The three members of the management team are Cindy Cohagen (executive director), Jen Scroggins (associate director) and New New Wallace (director of marketing and development) each of whom has special skills and qualifications that together form an unbeatable synergy. The 13 members of the board of directors all provide invaluable time and talents.Anything else you’d like the community to know about the organization?The work of the Eagle Valley land Trust is important because we are, in a real and visible way, helping shape the future landscape of this region. We are working today to protect the qualities of this area that brought many of us here so future generations will be able to enjoy them. These include scenic vistas, wildlife habitat and migration corridors, ranches that are part of this region’s history and heritage, rivers and streams. These areas of focus for the Land Trust are inherent in defining the Eagle County lifestyle.The primary tool used in these efforts is a conservation easement that permanently protects the conservation values of a particular property according to Internal Revenue Service guidelines. An easement can only be undone through a court of law after a judge determines the property no longer provides conservation values. Easements stay with the property when the land is transferred to heirs or sold, thus further assuring the permanence of the conservation efforts.The Land Trust’s efforts are beginning to have a demonstrable difference. To date, the Eagle Valley Trust has helped to protect nearly 10,000 acres of open space. Of the 18 easements the Trust currently holds, 11 were donated, three were purchased and four were protected with easements when land was purchased in fee by third parties (e.g. Eagle County, Town of Vail). Ten properties allow public access; four areas are visible from Interstate 70 and an additional nine are visible from other area roadways. Eight are part of either the Eagle River or Colorado River watershed.The most significant project on the Trust’s 2009 project list is a 2,100-acre multi-party land exchange involving seven major parcels of land in the from Edwards to Eagle-Vail. When completed, this complex transaction will assure these lands are never developed, thus forever protecting significant wildlife habitat and migration corridors, natural green buffers in between towns and the scenic beauty of the mid-valley.In September 2008, The Eagle Valley Land Trust became one of the first 39 land trusts in the country to become a nationally accredited land trust. The Trust was awarded accreditation based on a rigorous external review of the governance and management of the organization and its systems and policies used to protect land.The accreditation seal is awarded to land trusts that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever.One of our goals is to inform and educate Eagle County residents on the importance and the mechanisms to preserve open lands forever. We encourage questions, suggestions and input. We are available to address individual land owners or groups interested in the possibility of conservation easements.The Eagle Valley Land Trust is hosting two educational sessions about conservation easements on Wednesday, Jan. 28. The first session, Nuts & Bolts of Conservation Easements, is at the Miller Ranch Community Center in Edwards, from 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. This is an intensive seminar for property owners and professionals. It will provide six continuing education credits for attorneys and five continuing education credits for realtors. The cost is $100 for professionals interested in continuing education credits or $50 (including lunch) for community members not seeking professional education credits. Seating is limited and advance registration and payment are required.The second session, An Overview of Conservation Easements: Are they Right for You? is a workshop for property owners interested in learning more about conservation easements. It will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Town of Gypsum. It is free, but reservations are required.

Contact Community Editor Lauren Glendenning at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com.


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