Celebrate America's Byways 25th Anniversary with a Scenic Fall Drive

Photo by Cathy Edwards ~ Douglas Pass aspens on the Dinosaur Diamond National Scenic and Prehistoric Byway.

Photo by Cathy Edwards ~ Douglas Pass aspens on the Dinosaur Diamond National Scenic and Prehistoric Byway.

Denver, CO, August 29, 2016  -  September is a favorite time of year to head out on a scenic drive and admire the Rocky Mountain's quaking aspen fall colors. While enjoying your drive, also celebrate that 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the National Scenic Byways Program created through the federal Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991. 

Our state offers an outstanding collection of 26 Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways, including 11 America's Byways®, 2 All-American Roads, 10 National Forest Scenic Byways, and 2 Bureau of Land Management National Back Country Byways. America's Byways® is the umbrella term used for the national collection of 150 distinct and diverse roads designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. 

To make things a little easier, Colorado Byways is collaborating with MyScenicDrives to provide more information for travelers. MyScenicDrives includes a feature to showcase electrical vehicle charging stations and help people plan when they might need a pit stop. The company also offers a road-trip planner that allows users to create an itinerary which can be printed or exported to a GPS device. Recently, MyScenicDrives has uploaded Guanella Pass and Cache la Poudre-North Park Byway to Colorado’s collection of Scenic Drives. Additionally, the Colorado Department of Transportation furnishes a Bicycling and Scenic Byways map which can be ordered online or picked up at a Colorado Welcome Center.

And since the earliest days of the automobile, driving for pleasure has always been one of America's most popular outdoor recreational pursuits. In more recent history, Coloradans and visitors also pursue bicycling byways as part of their recreational pursuit. That’s important, because Colorado Byways take us to outstanding historic and recreation destinations throughout the State, get us up close and personal with our unique environments, and remind us of our heritage.

For more information about the Scenic and Historic Byways, visit www.ColoradoByways.org.


Colorado's breathtaking scenic landscape boasts 26 scenic and historic byways, 42 state parks, 12 national parks and monuments, 58 mountain peaks that top 14,000 feet, 20 main street communities, 18 creative districts, and 3 national heritage areas.

Conservation Easements: Keeping Colorado, Colorado

Photo courtesy of the Trinchera Blanca Foundation.

Photo courtesy of the Trinchera Blanca Foundation.

Blog post by Amanda Barker, Executive Director, Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts

Colorado has a rich, proud heritage of working landscapes. Our productive farms, ranches, and abundant natural resources stretch from our prairie vistas to our mountain peaks. Coloradans – natives and newcomers, alike – are proud of our lands and we overwhelmingly support protecting them.

These working lands have drawn people to Colorado for hundreds of years and they will continue to do so for many years to come. But our state’s continued growth has led to an important balancing act between development and maintaining what makes Colorado, Colorado.

As Coloradans know, our state continues to grow. By 2050, the population is expected to exceed 9 million, nearly doubling the current number of residents and putting more pressure on our land and water. These pressures threaten the viability of our farms and ranches as well as iconic landscapes and scenic places. We see those threats becoming realities as family farms and ranches are sold into development, or lost due to financial hardships. 

There are, however, tools to protect our lands and our heritage. One of those tools is the conservation easement. It is an important tool for some, not all, landowners interested in preserving their private property rights and continuing a family legacy, or to protect natural areas. Private property rights mean that all landowners have the ability to do with their land and water as they wish, subject to applicable laws. As the Executive Director of the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts, we and the entire land trust community, are thrilled that private landowners across Colorado have generously conserved their properties for continued agriculture, wildlife habitat, and signature views using conservation easements. Members of CCLT have worked to protect nearly 2 million acres of land, keeping these lands productive and intact.

Conservation easements appeals to many of Colorado’s landowners with a voluntary and non-regulatory approach to keeping working lands working. Yet, conservation easements protect more than just the land – they help keep water on the land and in the region, too. This is an incredibly significant benefit as Colorado’s growth puts increasing demands on our water supply that is becoming scarcer. In addition to protecting water supplies, conservation easements provide tremendous economic value by supporting local economies, preserving important wildlife habitat for thousands of game and non-game species, and attracting tourists year-round.

Iconic properties with conservation easements like Greenland Ranch, Trinchera Blanca Ranch and the Hutchinson Ranch help balance urban sprawl, protect entire landscapes and enable farmers and ranchers to pass down their operations to the next generation. These conserved lands have worked to keep Colorado, Colorado ­– and these lands will be forever protected regardless of future growth. Conservation easements play an important role in shaping Colorado’s future.

Great Outdoors Colorado - Habitat Restoration Grant Program

GOCO is pleased to announce our 2016 Habitat Restoration grant program which aims to improve and restore Colorado's rivers, streams, wetlands, and critical habitat, with $500,000 in available funding. Previous habitat restoration grants targeted riparian habitat, but the current program includes all types of ecosystem restoration and enhancement, from forests and grasslands to rivers and wetlands. If you are considering applying for one of these grants, please review the information provided here, including the application instructions linked on that page. Applications are available by request.

Please contact Chris Yuan-Farrell at cyuanfarrell@goco.org or 303-226-4511 to discuss your project and request an application. Applications are due September 23, 2016, and the GOCO Board will make award decisions on December 8, 2016.


Conservation gives landowning families a choice

By Erik Glenn and Jordan Vana

This reprints a guest column in the Sterling Journal-Advocate.
POSTED 06/08/2016 07:02:09 AM MDT

Erik and Jordan are board members of the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts.

Like much of Colorado, the Eastern Plains has a rich heritage of productive farms and ranches, many of which have been owned and operated by the same families for generations. These working lands grow our food, provide habitat for wildlife, and give residents and visitors spectacular views of Colorado's treasured landscapes.

These working lands face mounting pressures as Colorado's population continues to grow. By 2050, experts predict that more than 9 million people will call Colorado home, nearly doubling our current population and forcing landowning families and communities to make tough choices when it comes to land and water.

Polls show that Coloradans consistently and overwhelmingly support the conservation of natural resources, including private lands and ever-diminishing water supplies. Landowning families who voluntarily choose to conserve these resources generously help to safeguard the quality of life we all enjoy.

Conservation easements are one tool that landowning families can use to carry on their agricultural heritage and the countless benefits it provides for all Coloradans. For some, conservation easements make sense. For others, they do not. But we understand and respect that it remains the right of the landowning family to make that decision.

We understand that there have been issues and challenges with the conservation easement program in the past. Those issues have caused some landowners undue hardship and have made other landowners suspicious of conservation easements. We don't begrudge anyone for having legitimate questions. In fact, we appreciate the questions and believe that it creates an opportunity for a productive dialogue. However, we don't want to see a critical tool for ag land conservation and rural community stability to be dismissed because of misconception and misinformation.

The issues that have challenged the conservation easement program and landowners in the past have been resolved. Legislation passed in 2013 (at the request of the land trust community) prevents the state from challenging new conservation easement tax credits after they have been claimed. This provides important certainty to landowning families and will prevent a repeat of the past problems.

Land and water conservation are vital to ensuring that Colorado continues to be defined by its working ag landscapes, natural beauty and western heritage. From the Eastern Plains to the Western Slope, Colorado's land trusts look forward to working alongside landowners as they consider conservation as an option for themselves and their families.

For more information, please visit the Colorado Coalition of Land Trust's website at cclt.org, the Colorado Cattlemen's Agricultural Land Trust website at ccalt.org, and Colorado Open Lands' website at coloradoopenlands.org.

Erik Glenn and Jordan Vana represent the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts, Colorado Cattlemen's Agricultural Land Trust, and Colorado Open Lands.

Bob Randall new head of Colorado DNR

On June 6, 2016, Governor Hickenlooper appointed Bob Randall the executive director of the Department of Natural Resources after being the interim ED since February. He is a good friend to the Colorado land conservation community, and we look forward to working more with him in the future. Read the full press release below.

Office of Gov. John Hickenlooper

Kathy Green | kathy.green@state.co.us | 303-550-9276
Todd Hartman | todd.hartman@state.co.us | 303-513-3639

Gov. Hickenlooper appoints Bob Randall as executive director of Dept. of Natural Resources

DENVER — Monday, June 6, 2016 — Gov. John Hickenlooper today announced the appointment of Bob Randall as the executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. Randall has served as the interim director of the department since February 2016.

“Bob’s record of outstanding strategic decision making and his remarkable ability to work collaboratively with the diverse interests at DNR make him uniquely qualified for the job,” said Hickenlooper.  “With 20 years of experience in the field, he has proven to be an exemplary and committed steward of Colorado’s natural resources. We look forward to continuing the good work.”

Prior to the interim Randall was responsible for advising the executive director on the development and execution of the Department's policy, legislative, operational and communications initiatives and has played instrumental roles in numerous DNR projects, ranging from new regulatory standards at the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to shaping Colorado’s approach to natural resource management on federal lands. director role, Randall served as the deputy executive director since 2010, and assumed the additional role of chief operations officer in 2014.

“I am honored and humbled by this opportunity, and am privileged to work alongside a remarkable staff of professionals throughout the entire Department, the people who are at the heart of our agency’s success,” Randall said. “I’m excited to carry on with the important work we do to manage and protect Colorado’s natural resources for people today and those who will depend upon the legacy we leave.”

Prior to joining the state, Randall served as a staff attorney for Western Resource Advocates and for Trustees for Alaska.

He serves on multiple boards including the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Board, Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs and the Natural Resources Damages Trustees Council.

Randall earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri and a Juris Doctor from Lewis & Clark, Northwestern School of Law.

The appointment is effective immediately. 


Colorado Forest Legacy Program - Now Accepting Applications


Federal Fiscal Year 2018 FundingThe Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) is accepting Forest Legacy Program (FLP) proposals from Colorado landowners. The program authorizes the CSFS or USDA Forest Service to purchase permanent conservation easements on private forestlands to prevent those lands from being converted to non-forest uses.

The program provides an opportunity for private landowners to retain ownership and management of their land, while receiving compensation for unrealized development rights. More about the Forest Legacy Program.

Application Deadline
Applications must be received by mail no later than 4 p.m. on Friday, July 29, 2016.

Colorado FLP Application Packet for 2018 Funds
Application and Instructions (122 KB PDF)

Seminar with IRS: Valuation of Donated Real Estate, Including CE's

The IRS will be in the Denver Metropolitan Area
to present 1 of only 2 National Offerings of the IRS Seminar in 2016

Valuation of Donated Real Estate,
Including Conservation Easements

August 18, 2016
8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Ramada Plaza Denver North
10 E. 120th Avenue, Thornton, CO80216

Sponsored by: Northern Colorado Association of Real Estate Appraisers “NCAREA”

  • The Law – Federal Tax Code and Regulations related to Real Estate Donations
  • Valuing Interests in Real Property
  • Market Analysis/Highest & Best Use
  • Responsibilities of Appraiser, Taxpayer, and Charity in completing IRS Form 8283
  • Mock Testimony presentation in the afternoon with Cross Examination and Re-direct of Expert Witness Real Property Appraiser in Tax Court
  • Q and A with IRS lawyers and IRS appraisers         

Read learning objectives and full list of topics here.


  • Lou Garone, MRA,SRA,AI-GRS, IRS Senior Appraiser, LB&I
  • Katheryn Houston, IRS, Director of Field Operations North Central
  • Mary Greco, IRS, Territory Manager, Large Business and International (LB&I)
  • Sara Barkley, IRS, Manager, Office of Chief Counsel
  • Miles Fuller, IRS, Senior Counsel, Small Business/Self Employed (SB/SE)
  • Frank Molinari, IRS, SRA, Team Lead LB&I
  • Lee Ormiston, President Colorado Coalition of Appraisers, Educator, Certified General Appraiser

FEE:  $255 (includes electronic seminar handouts, continental breakfast, and lunch)


Click here to register!

Course approved for 8 hours of CE for Colorado Appraisers and Realtors. Course is pending for 8 hours of CLE (Continuing Legal Education) for attorneys.   Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming have indicated they will accept this course for 8 hours of continuing Appraiser education (CE) credits. 

COMaP launches new version and interactive website!

COMaP (the Colorado Ownership, Management and Protection dataset) has undergone a major update at CSU's Colorado Natural Heritage Program (CNHP). The work was supported by a Conservation Excellence grant from Great Outdoors Colorado, and CCLT has been a partner to the database upgrade and online mapping interface.

Colorado State University has a good writeup on the COMaP update here.

COMaP is the most comprehensive map of protected lands in the state. The new COMaP has significantly updated federal and state lands (which make up almost half of the state) and an additional 355,000 acres of lands conserved under easements are now in COMaP compared to v9. For more information about map updates, check out their update log here.

We are excited to announce the newly revised map and website
You no longer have to use GIS software to use this valuable resource!

The ongoing updates and services to this database will be supported with subscriptions. Please consider subscribing for these benefits:

  • Access to the latest protected lands data through an online map
  • Use the interactive map to view and identify protected lands, query the map and download spreadsheets, overlay your files (kml or shp) or add comments and draw polygons on the areas you know best. This is especially useful for non-GIS users.
  • Access to a suite of data files from the data download center
  • Download the geodatabase and layer files to build your own maps and custom analyses, or serve the COMaP map service from your website. This is especially useful for GIS users.

Please visit the COMaP website to learn more about the service and how you can use it to support your work. Here's a handy brochure with more information for you and your organization. Questions? Email CCLT or email the COMaP project team at CNHP.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife 2016 Funding - Request for Applications

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is currently accepting applications for conservation projects.

Colorado Wildlife Habitat Protection Program

Application materials for land protection and public access through CWHPP are online on the CPW website. Applications are due Tuesday, May 31, 2016. For further information on the program, please contact Matt Lucia (CPW Land Protection Specialist) at (303) 291-7269 or matthew.lucia@state.co.us.

Colorado Wetlands for Wildlife Program

Applications for wetlands restoration and enhancement projects are also online at CPW. Materials are due Friday, June 17, 2016. For further information, contact Brian Sullivan (CPW Wetlands Program Coordinator) at (303) 472-4306 or brian.sullivan@state.co.us.

TRCP Celebrates Three Champions of Habitat Conservation and Sportsman's Access

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At its eighth annual Capital Conservation Awards Dinner last night, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership celebrated three honorees building a legacy of support for fish and wildlife on Capitol Hill and across the country: conservation philanthropist Louis Bacon, Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), and Senator James Risch (R-Idaho).

The gala event, held at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C., and emceed by political commentator S.E. Cupp, brought together policy-makers, conservation advocates, and outdoor industry leaders.

Bacon received TRCP’s 2016 Lifetime Conservation Achievement Award after more than two decades of supporting efforts to conserve threatened habitat, protect open spaces, and safeguard clean water through The Moore Charitable Foundation, which he founded in 1992.

In his opening statement last night, TRCP President and CEO Whit Fosburgh extolled Bacon’s remarkable work with former Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to create the 170,000-acre centerpiece of the Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area, the nation’s 558th unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System, and the efforts of all the honorees to embody Roosevelt’s words: “The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets, which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value.”

Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy is one of great environmental success, but conservation success today requires as much, or more commitment than in Roosevelt’s time, when tens of millions of acres of natural wildlife habitat could be set aside with the stroke of a pen,” said Bacon. “Conservation success today is also about tackling the issue of environmental justice. We must guarantee that all citizens have access to clean water and clean air as well as access to the outdoors that we all love.

Sen. Heinrich and Sen. Risch were presented with the 2016 James D. Range Conservation Award—named for TRCP’s co-founder, a conservation visionary, and presented to one Democrat and one Republican each year—for their dedication to protecting what sportsmen value in Congress.

As he accepted his award from Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Heinrich lauded the overwhelming bipartisanship of last week’s Senate vote to pass sweeping energy modernization legislation including big conservation benefits for fish and wildlife. “Marble halls and concrete are certainly not my natural habitat, but I’m motivated to be here and ensure that the outdoor experiences I’ve enjoyed all my life are possible long after I’m gone,” said Heinrich.

In his time as senator, Risch has co-sponsored legislation designed to reauthorize key conservation programs and put an end to fire borrowing, and as governor of Idaho, he was instrumental in creating the state’s roadless rule—a fact highlighted by Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), a 2013 honoree who presented Risch with his award. “We can accomplish conservation in America if we all come to the table and enter the collaborative process with a spirit of goodwill,” said Risch.

Learn more about the TRCP’s Capitol Conservation Awards.

Learn more about Louis Bacon, the Moore Charitable Fund, and their important conservation work here in Colorado.

Post Conservation Excellence conference updates!

Thank you for joining us at Conservation Excellence 2016!

The conference was a huge success - packed with a record-braking 266 attendees! Thank you for attending, presenting, and sponsoring an incredible event. Participants found the conference topics insightful and beneficial for their organizations and professional development as the accolades below reveal:  

"Excellent! Best conference yet."

"It was an eye-opening and educational conference for land trusts looking the intersection of issues around water and land."

"The speakers were excellent and I found the sessions full of useful information."

"I loved the roundtable discussions."

Click on the photo to view a gallery of photos from Conservation Excellence 2016.

Presentations and Handouts

Conference speaker PowerPoints have been posted to our website. You can find them here.

Thank you to our sponsors!

CCLT would not be able to put on a conference of this scale without the generous support of our sponsors. We were able to offer four full scholarships to attendees this year, and hope to expand the scholarship program next year!

Gold Sponsors

BackOffice Thinking is a leading nonprofit consultancy with clients in over 30 states. BackOffice has particular expertise in helping land conservation, public garden, and other environmentally focused firms with their database, website, analytics, and fundraising tools. BOT is the proud developer of LOCATE - the Salesforce Application for Land Trusts.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy's Colorado chapter is celebrating 50 years in the state in 2016, and is proud to have helped protect one million acres and 1,000 river miles across Colorado.

The Trinchera Blanca Foundation, the Colorado affiliate of Louis Bacon’s Moore Charitable Foundation, is committed to protecting and improving the land, habitat and quality of life in Colorado’s San Luis Valley and the surrounding region.

The Denver Foundation - call for proposals to support wildlife preservation

The Denver Foundation is pleased to issue a call for proposals to support animal welfare or wildlife preservation. The Lauren Townsend Memorial Wildlife Fund was established in 1999 by the family of Lauren Townsend, a vibrant and inspiring young woman who was a class valedictorian and co-captain of the girls’ volleyball team at Columbine High School. Lauren was one of 13 victims killed in the shootings on April 20, 1999.

Organizations that need funding for a specific project and smaller nonprofit organizations are particularly encouraged to apply. Agencies that have received awards in the past are welcome to apply again. Please see the attached for details. Applications are due on, or before, May 27, 2016. No email or electronic applications will be accepted. 


DRE Hires New Conservation Easement Program Manager

On April 13, Division of Real Estate Director Marcia Waters announced Mark Weston has been hired as the next program manager of the conservation easement program.

Mark is a long-time conservation easement appraiser and until the present ran a private appraising practice, Mark S. Weston, Ltd. He has been extensively involved in the leadership of the Colorado land conservation community, including as a past CCLT board member, board president, and past Conservation Easement Oversight Commission member.

Mark will start on May 2, 2016. Natalie Lutz continues to serve as Acting Program Manager until Mark starts, so inquiries should be directed to her. 

CCLT welcomes this news and looks forward to working hand in hand with Mark on addressing program issues to see the CE program benefit committed Colorado landowners and families as it should. There is opportunity for us to reset the direction of the program and move forward stronger than before, and CCLT embraces this opportunity!

Lise Aangeenbrug, Executive Director of GOCO, to depart mid-May

UPDATE:  Jim Spaanstra from GOCO Board of Trustees and with the The Law Firm of Faegre Baker Daniels was named the Interim Executive Director of GOCO on April 7.

A message from Lise on March 21, 2016 to the community:

"It with very mixed emotions that I tell you I am leaving as Executive Director of Great Outdoors Colorado for a new position as Executive Vice President of the National Park Foundation.  

I am excited about the new challenges and my new role helping lead the National Park Foundation (NPF) at a critical time for our nation’s national parks.  The National Park Service will commemorate their centennial this summer and NPF is in the midst of a large campaign to bring attention and resources to a park system that is a national treasure serving 307 million visitors annually, and prepare it for its second century.   Please check out their Find Your Park campaign if you want to know more: http://www.nationalparks.org/   OR   http://findyourpark.com/

At the same time, I will be leaving an organization I’ve been a part of for 17 years.  I originally started with GOCO when it launched in 1993 until 2001.   I returned as its Deputy Director in 2007 and was selected as its Executive Director in 2009.  During my tenure as Executive Director, GOCO awarded almost $400 million in grants and adopted a bold new strategic plan and initiatives focused on protecting land, connecting people to parks, trails and nature, and inspiring the next generation to get off the couch and out the door from the backyard to the backcountry.  

I am blessed and honored to work alongside an incredible group of people on the GOCO Board and staff – past and present.  I am forever appreciative of the many wonderful grantees and partners across the state that brought in great ideas and projects, andI am deeply proud of all we’ve accomplished together and know GOCO will continue to do great things for the people, nature, and wildlife of Colorado.

GOCO is unique in the nation and its grants make Colorado a better place to live, work and play.  Because of GOCO, Colorado will always have land for agriculture, places for people to connect with nature, and places for wildlife to thrive.  And, Colorado’s children and families will always have places to play and trails to bike and hike.  There is more to do and Colorado needs GOCO more than ever.  

I will stay at GOCO through part of May to ensure a smooth transition for the Board and staff with a new leader.

-          Lise

Lise Aangeenbrug, Executive Director, Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO)

303.226.4520  (direct)  www.GOCO.org"