Celebrating 25 Years of Land and Water Conservation
- Noble Meadow
- Blair Ranch
- Beaver Brook Watershed
- Bergen Nature Trail
Mountain Area Land Trust (MALT) based in Evergreen, Colorado was founded in 1992 and in 2017 celebrates its 25th anniversary of land and water conservation. The mission of MALT is to save scenic vistas, natural areas, wildlife habitat, water resources, working ranches and historic lands, for the benefit of the community and as a legacy for future generations. MALT serves a 4,290 square-mile area in Colorado, roughly the size of Connecticut, which encompasses six counties including Clear Creek, Park, Gilpin, Teller and the mountainous regions of Boulder and Jefferson. MALT has protected 21,404 acres of land since its founding, including 15,347 acres conserved in 73 private conservation easements; 5,965 acres protected through facilitated public projects; and 92 acres MALT owned property as part of the 500+ acre Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area.
MALT’s major program areas include: (1) Conservation Easements; (2) Land Stewardship; and (3) Outreach and Education. MALT continues to grow voluntary land conservation agreements with both individuals and non-profit organizations thereby increasing MALT’s conservation impact. Currently MALT holds 73 conservation easements, with 5 additional projects expected to close in 2017. In addition, MALT pursues public projects that allow for new hiking, biking trails and outdoor recreation opportunities that provide access to thousands of acres of previously inaccessible public lands. MALT spearheads public projects and coordinates the participation of partners to pool resources and facilitate land purchases. The organization realized a major collaborative success in 2016 through a partnership with Great Outdoors Colorado, Trust for Public Land, Clear Creek County Open Space and Jefferson County Open Space. MALT negotiated the purchase of 108 acres with the intention of developing a new public hiking and biking trail that will connect to a network of existing and future trails traversing 12,000 acres of previously inaccessible areas. MALT’s role as a leader in collaborative public projects provides more conservation for more people.
In terms of Land Stewardship, MALT retains a full time seasonal Land Steward to annually monitor all of its conservation easements, and will do so in perpetuity, to ensure that the terms of the voluntary land conservation agreements are being met.
Finally in terms of MALT’s Outreach and Education programming, the organization will continue its work to expand and complete the Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area, located just west of Fairplay, Colorado. In 2013, MALT purchased 92 acres on this unique 13,000 foot elevation, high alpine area which is home to one of the largest standing groves of 2,000 year old reproducing ancient Bristlecone Pines, and is the site of more than 40 years of continuous alpine scientific research. Through a successful collaboration with a federal grant program from the South Park National Heritage Area, and a partnership with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, MALT has constructed a 1 ½ mile hiking trail on the property, and in 2014 launched a summer hiking education series of which Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area is a major focus. Since establishing the summer hiking series, participation in the program has increased 70% and the numbers of hikes offered has doubled. MALT’s future goals include the acquisition of additional acreage on Pennsylvania Mountain, construction of a driveway, parking area and trailhead kiosk and signage for safe public access, construction of an energy efficient scientific research cabin, and completion of a baseline inventory of the area to support a U.S. Forest Service Botanical Area designation. MALT envisions the creation of a 500+ acre natural area, to preserve and protect this sensitive region and its many unique biological and wildlife attributes.