Vail Daily column: Journey into the wild American West | VailDaily.com
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Vail Daily column: Journey into the wild American West

Hiking series participants enjoy finding the rare Harrington penstemon.
Hiking series participants enjoy finding the rare harrington penstemon. |

Dig your hands into the dirt. Feel it between your fingers. Wash it away in the cool stream nearby. Relax. Play. When was the last time you did that? What favorite place was that … and does it still exist?

Eagle Valley Land Trust is hosting several experiential journeys this summer that will change the way you perceive our distinctly Western landscape. Over 7,600 acres of pristine habitat, important recreational access, and scenic agricultural land in our community, some of your favorite places, have been permanently conserved by the Land Trust for the benefit of people like you.

Immersing yourself in the natural beauty of our wild Western landscape will nurture your desire to protect your favorite places even more. Mark your calendars and contact Eagle Valley Land Trust at 970-748-7654 or http://www.evlt.org/life to sign up. Space is limited.



Ranching heritage tour returns

Talking to a rancher will change the way you relate to the land around you. You will be moved and have a deeper appreciation for the landscapes, ranches, rivers and wildlife habitat around you. This year, the Eagle Valley Land Trust Ranching Heritage Tour will be held on July 16. We’ll visit two iconic private ranches that few will ever get to set foot on: Bair Ranch at the western edge of Eagle County, and Luark Land and Cattle Co. above historic town of Burns along the majestic Colorado River Road.



There are fewer working ranches in Eagle County each decade because of population growth, development pressure, and the long hours and hard physical labor ranching requires. As society increasingly desires locally produced food and fiber products, the ranching families that remain in operation today are an inspiration.

Ranchers and farmers arguably have the strongest connection to land and the strongest stewardship ethic. A rancher near Burns told me that when she looks out her window, she sees something no one else sees … her dad everywhere, working the land with her for decades. The blood, sweat and tears that cemented that family to the land is like nothing most of us can imagine and the result is magical — a scene so beautiful that it can only be experienced, not described.

Listen to the inspiring stories of these ranching families. We’ll provide a relaxing, gourmet lunch as you gaze across the Luark family’s ranch to the Colorado River Valley and the Gore Range. Standing on the terraced sheep pastures of the Bair family’s ranch, you will be mesmerized by the magnificent walls of Glenwood Canyon. Thanks go to Eagle County for providing buses and the Eagle County Conservation District for sponsoring this event.



Farm-to-Table Dinner and Dance

Question: Does your food come from the grocery store? The answer is “no.” It comes from farms and ranches. The nearer, the better.

Join Eagle Valley Land Trust on Aug. 25 at an exclusive, private ranch in Lake Creek for a celebration of local food, great wine, and music under the stars. The Lake Creek Valley is a gem that few get to experience this close. To reinvigorate your connection to the land, our evening will start with a talk about the plants and animals of the Lake Creek Valley and an optional short hike. Savor a gourmet dinner of food produced in our community and region from farms and ranches all with the personal stories of connection.

By supporting local agriculture, you help ensure a fresh and sustainable food supply. Your food is likely to be more fresh and will require less energy to transport to your table. This is your chance to connect to the land through your palate and kick up your heels with some of our local ranching celebrities.

EVLT Summer Hiking Series

Hiking changes our relationship to the land as well. Join the Land Trust on one of its monthly hikes on land that has been permanently conserved. Hikes will be Saturday mornings and will focus on native plants and animals in each location. The hikes are free and open to the public. Contact Jessica Foulis, stewardship manager, at jfoulis@evlt.org or 970-748-7654 for more information and to reserve your spot.

The old saying goes, “land, they aren’t making any more of it.” If we care for the land, well, the land will take care of us. Eagle Valley Land Trust permanently protects working ranches, scenic landscapes and recreational access for our community to enjoy today and ensures the beauty and wildlife will be here for future generations to enjoy as well. Come out and enjoy this distinctly Western landscape with us this summer. It will change your relationship with the land.

Jim Daus is the executive director of the Eagle Valley Land Trust.


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