Trust Our Land: Making an impact this Earth Week
Trust Our Land
If there’s one thing that unites Eagle County’s diverse communities, it’s a love and pride for our home. Yet “home” has as many definitions as people you can ask to define it.
To some Eagle County residents, it’s our vast open spaces, Western ranching heritage, and scenic vistas that make it feel like home. To others, it’s our recreational amenities — rivers, mountains and trails — open and available for enjoyment. To others, it’s the wildlife we share it with or the small town, close-knit community. The underlying theme, though, is place. The physical and geographical layout, mixed with the presence of a distinct ecological scene, is the foundation of the home in which our people have formed a community.
To many, our tiny Eagle County-shaped rectangle of Earth, just 1,6922 miles (.00003% of Earth’s land surface), is everything. It’s home; it’s vacation; it’s childhood; it’s adulthood; it’s retirement; it’s paradise; it’s calming; it’s exciting; it’s whatever you make it. Earth Week (this week), is our opportunity to double down on our appreciation for our home.
The first Earth Day in 1970 was a worldwide awakening — one of the first widespread efforts to raise awareness around environmental and ecological issues that sprang from a newfound understanding of how our species impacts all others. Not just climate change, but also deforestation, pollution and unsustainable consumption of resources. The original movement led to a blossoming of environmental and conservation initiatives at the local, state, national and international levels.
One such initiative was the land trust movement in the United States. Just 11 years after the first Earth Day, the first class of accredited land trusts, including the Eagle Valley Land Trust, were founded on a simple principle: that permanently conserved land is a public good. 42 years later, there are over 1,370 land trusts across the country that protect over 56 million acres (3% of land in the lower 48 states). Locally, the Eagle Valley Land Trust protects 13,540 acres across 38 properties.
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To celebrate our home, Eagle Valley Land Trust’s 42nd trip around the sun, and to build momentum for conservation projects on the horizon, we’re launching another Earth Week with Eagle Valley Land Trust in collaboration with some of our partners. It’s a week of conservation, connection and camaraderie. We’re kicking off our 2023 Community Land Connection Series with a variety of free programs in partnership with Todd Winslow Pierce’s Eagle Valley Wild, the Eagle Valley Outdoor Movement, local birding extraordinaire Jerry Fedrizzi, Ethnobotanist Lynn Albers, Eagle County and Colorado Mountain College.
We’re also launching the first volunteer restoration project of the year to restore and revitalize the Gypsum Campground and Community Boat Launch. Last year, a fire sparked west of the Town of Gypsum and burned approximately 95 acres before being contained, leaving the Gypsum Campground and Community Boat Launch damaged. The blaze also revealed trash and debris that had previously been covered by vegetation. Now is our chance to help clean up and restore this much-loved area. Learn more and sign up at EVLT.org/earthweek.
Time to make an impact
Earth Week, which coincides with the changing of the seasons and the opening of several trails countywide, is the perfect time to get outside to enjoy the benefits of protected land in our community — the protected land that you helped make possible.
There’s no one way to celebrate Earth Week, but we encourage you to try something, big or small, for our community. Lend an ecological hand; make a donation to your favorite local conservation or environmental organization like The Eagle River Watershed Council, Walking Mountains Science Center, or Eagle Valley Land Trust; take a walk and pick up trash; calculate your ecological footprint; enjoy a picnic in a protected open space, talk to your friends about why trail closures are important for wildlife, or brush up on your trail etiquette. It’s up to all of us to ensure that we protect and care for our home for our own well-being, for wildlife, and for the well-being of all future generations to come.