Historian Wallace Stegner got it right when he wrote that “cooperation, not rugged individualism, is the quality that most characterizes and preserves” the West. Reminders of this surround us. Parents and children ride bikes at Lunch Loop on trails constructed by volunteers across land purchased through community fundraisers. Fruit-growers enter into conservation agreements with your local land trust, ensuring future harvests. Ranchers partner with the land trust to protect habitat that forms critical migration corridors for elk and mule deer. These are but a few examples of the power of cooperation and how it shapes our future.We have taken this lesson to heart and over the past year, Mesa Land Trust and Black Canyon Regional Land Trust have explored how we might cooperate to increase our impact and better serve our region. We are pleased to announce the creation of Colorado West Land Trust, a new umbrella under which we will work together to conserve the region’s landscapes and connect our friends and neighbors to the natural lands that surround us.The region we serve together, from the San Juan mountains to the Bookcliffs, from the state line to Blue Mesa Reservoir, encompasses the best of Colorado. Our high alpine peaks, desert canyons, fertile irrigated valleys, and wildlife-rich rivers define our region and make it a great place to call home. But today these lands and waters face unprecedented threats. According to our state’s projections, millions of new residents are headed to Colorado. We must act today to conserve the lands we love for future generations. Colorado West Land Trust aims to do just that. I invite you to read about our work in the following pages and ask you to support our efforts. Only by working together can we conserve the magnificent landscapes that surround us.
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