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The Trust Removes Development Threat from Independence Pass

September 2, 2020 – The Wilderness Land Trust has purchased a 19-acre inholding east of Aspen just off of Highway 82 in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. In the last three years, the organization has purchased two other inholdings totaling an additional 19 acres and with this most recent purchase, the Trust has removed the last remaining threat of private development in this area of the Collegiate Peaks.

This 19-acre parcel is visible from the road and along a popular hiking trail. Without protection, it was vulnerable to residential development, which would have disrupted plant and animal habitat and threatened access to the trail. With a generous matching grant from a local resident and contributions from the AABC, Alpenglow, BF, Independence Pass, Iselin and Oak Foundations, as well as numerous individuals in the Aspen area, the Trust raised the funds needed to acquire this critical property.

Purchasing this land is the first of a two step process. The Trust will now work with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to clean up the property before transferring it to public ownership. This work includes removing a metal roof, wood burning stove and other debris from in and around a cabin. Because the cabin is of historical significance, the log walls will remain. Once cleanup of the property is complete, the Trust plans to transfer the property to the USFS to be incorporated into the surrounding wilderness area.

“Our mission is to keep the promise of wilderness by acquiring and transferring private lands to public ownership that complete designated and proposed wilderness areas,” says Brad Borst, president, The Wilderness Land Trust. “The Collegiate Peaks Wilderness near Independence Pass is a special region known for its magnificent alpine landscapes. We are grateful for the generous support from local organizations and residents who jumped in to help us protect this piece of Colorado paradise.”

The Wilderness Land Trust is partnering with The Independence Pass Foundation to raise the funds needed to complete the transfer of this project. Individuals or organizations interested in helping can contact Kelly Conde at kelly@wildernesslandtrust.org or 206-842-1214.

The Wilderness Land Trust Earns National Recognition

August 21, 2020 – Americans strongly support saving the open spaces they love. Since our founding in 1992 The Wilderness Land Trust has been doing just that – protecting more than 52,000 acres to date. With three dozen active projects stretching from Alaska to Arizona, more wilderness is on the way.

To enhance our commitment to this work, we are pleased to announce the renewal of our land trust accreditation through the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. As part of a network of more than 400 accredited land trusts across the nation, our accreditation confirms our dedication to maintaining the highest standards in land conservation to permanently protect places like the Organ Mountains Wilderness in New Mexico, Collegiate Peaks Wilderness in Colorado, and many, many more.

To achieve re-accreditation, we provided extensive documentation on the Trust’s lands program and overall organizational management, and underwent a comprehensive third party evaluation. Having our accreditation renewed means the commission is confident The Wilderness Land Trust will continue to pursue its mission with the utmost professionalism.

Thank you for your generous investment in our work and please feel free to share this good news with family and friends. We are honored that you are a part of our organization.

Looking east from the Grandview Lode property

The Romance of Heart Lake

Aug. 23, 2019 — Last week we guided a group of 35 friends and supporters through the wooded shores of Castle Lake, where we hiked across rocky outcroppings and alpine meadows to the crystal clear waters of Heart Lake. The hike was a celebration of our recent purchase of the largest remaining private property within the designated Castle Crags Wilderness. The 637-acre property is home to a portion of Castle Lake, all of Little Castle Lake and a section of the Heart Lake trail.

WLT friends and supporters arrive at Heart Lake

Wilderness Land Trust friends and supporters arrive at Heart Lake

While we spent some time educating our group about the project, we were also fascinated by their stories. This pristine land has provided space for life decisions, healing, marriage proposals, hiking, and swimming with children and grandchildren.

Our work to save this land has just begun. We are actively fundraising the $365,000 needed to pay off our loan, insure the property and undergo the multi-year process to transfer this land to public ownership within the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

Please consider joining our efforts by donating or sharing this news with family and friends. We value your continued investment in protecting our nation’s unique wilderness heritage, and we couldn’t do it without you!

Readying a Property for Transfer

A stunning view is restored after the removal of a dilapidated cabin

A stunning view is restored after the removal of a dilapidated cabin

Aug. 9, 2019 — Some of the properties we purchase require a lot of work before we can transfer them over to public ownership, including the complete removal of unwanted man-made structures.

In 2017 we acquired the “Jumbo and Mt Vernon Lode” property – 38-acres along a popular hiking route in the Mount Baker Wilderness in Washington state. By doing so, we also inherited a cabin filled with old furniture, discarded equipment, a wood stove and lots of garbage. The cabin was highly visible on a ridge that boasts stunning views of the surrounding wilderness. It was also being slowly crushed by the weight of heavy annual snowfall.

Last fall we partnered with the Whatcom Land Trust to begin the tedious process of dismantling the structure and removing most of its contents via helicopter. Last week we visited once more to rehab the site and prepare for its eventual return to the wilderness. Personally, I think the view is much better now, don’t you?

Santa Lucia Flower

California Condor Trail Access is Permanently Protected

July 26, 2019 — Thanks to your generous support, we have successfully transferred our Trout Creek I and II properties to public ownership within the Los Padres National Forest. A small stream meanders through boulders

The two properties total 480-acres and border the Garcia Wilderness near Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo. Protecting this land ensures public access to the California Condor/High Mountain/Trout Creek trail. It also conserves vital habitat for mule deer, black bear, wild turkeys, Peregrine Falcon, mountain lions, endangered red-legged frogs and other wildlife.

We are also in the process of transferring a third property on this landscape, our Trout Creek III property near High Mountain Road, ensuring the public can access both the Garcia and Santa Lucia Wilderness areas. We look forward to sharing this success with you soon.

Thank you for your support and commitment to conserving wilderness for the next generation.