Author: lposc


Public Comment Period Open

The Commission Wants to Hear From You!

As an accredited land trust with the Land Trust Alliance, we are please to announce we are applying for the renewal of our accreditation. We consider it a priority to fulfill the highest national standards for excellence and conservation permanence. Accredited land trusts must demonstrate fiscal accountability, strong organizational leadership, sound transactions and lasting stewardship of the lands they conserve.

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs. This includes public comment.

The Commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications. Comments must relate to how La Plata Open Space Conservancy complies with national quality standards. These standards address the ethical and technical operation of a land trust. For the full list of standards see

To learn more about the accreditation program and to submit a comment, visit, or email your comment to Comments may also be faxed or mailed to the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn: Public Comments: (fax) 518-587-3183; (mail) 36 Phila Street, Suite 2, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.

Comments on La Plata Open Space Conservancy’s application will be most useful by March 21, 2021.


Conservancy Receives Remote Monitoring Grant

Thanks to a generous grant from Keep it Colorado, we are excited to announce that we are able to monitor our conservation easements remotely this year. While on-the-ground monitoring is crucial to building and maintaining good landowner relations (and getting pretty property photos!), the pandemic has created obvious health concerns. We are excited to work with satellite imagery to gather a complete picture of our properties across southwest Colorado.

Read the full press release


Full Funding For LWCF

If you’re like us, you’re thrilled to have any opportunity to celebrate good news these days!

Today, the president signed the Great American Outdoors Act. Like any major legislation, it is not without its controversial points, but it will provide permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The LWCF was instrumental in our work with the Trust for Public Land to transfer the Hidden Valley property (pictured) to the USFS for permanent protection, providing $800,000 of the $1.1 million required to acquire it.

In fact, when the campaign to preserve Hidden Valley was underway in the early 1990’s, Rep. Ben Nighthorse Campbell’s office reportedly received more letters of support for this acquisition than any other LWCF project.

See how your representatives and senators voted.


Introducing Patrick Barker, LPOSC’s Executive Director

Patrick joined La Plata Open Space Conservancy in June after practicing law and, previously, working with a grassroots non-profit organization, since 2005, all in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.  Patrick most recently practiced law with Karp Neu Hanlon, P.C., focusing on water, real estate, oil and gas, construction, local government, and special district matters.  In Patrick’s non-profit work, which was done with Western Colorado Congress in the face of the early-2000s oil and gas boom and the prospect of renewed oil shale production in northwestern Colorado, he focused on improving surface owner rights in split estate situations and energy development policy.  Prior to relocating to Glenwood Springs, Patrick worked as a National Park Service ranger at Sequoia National Park in California; served as an environmental education volunteer with the Peace Corps in Lesotho, southern Africa; and in between those experiences, traveled extensively by bicycle throughout Africa and South America.

Although Patrick was raised in a small West Virginia town located along the banks of the Ohio River, his early exposure to West Virginia skiing and whitewater, and his affinity for sunshine and semi-arid climates, naturally drew him to the Rocky Mountain region.  Patrick, however, first obtained both his undergraduate and law degrees from West Virginia University.  When not working, and depending on the season, Patrick entertains himself through resort and backcountry telemark skiing; whitewater boating; wilderness backpacking; riding bicycles and motorcycles; reading history; and occasionally watching a college football game.

Patrick views land trust work as perhaps the best and highest professional calling for his skillset, knowledge, values, and energy.  He desires to utilize the same to help grow LPOSC’s staff expertise, its portfolio of conserved lands in southwestern Colorado, and its influence in the land conservation community, both within and outside Colorado.

As Patrick noted, “Although LPOSC has established a distinguished record of serving the public in southwestern Colorado by permanently conserving more than 30,000 acres of land with significant open space, wildlife habitat, or recreational value since its organization in 1992, LPOSC and all land trusts face significant obstacles in the years ahead as a result of many evolving factors.  I view the opportunity to guide LPOSC through those obstacles as both a challenge and a reward, and I am grateful that LPOSC’s Board of Directors, on behalf of all supporters of land conservation in southwestern Colorado, has entrusted me with this great responsibility.  By spreading the word about these obstacles to friends of open space whose energy we have not been able to harness to date, I’m confident that LPOSC will overcome those obstacles and thrive well into the future.”


Executive Director position closed


La Plata Open Space Conservancy (LPOSC) is the Durango-based nonprofit land trust serving southwest Colorado. Since 1992, LPOSC has partnered with approximately 200 landowners and local governments to permanently protect nearly 30,000 acres of land. LPOSC’s mission is to permanently protect open lands that have significant agricultural, wildlife habitat, open space, recreational and/or historical/archaeological resources, for the benefit of the community and the general public.


The Executive Director is responsible for all aspects of LPOSC’s business operations including day to day functions, stewardship, fundraising, and management of the organization. The Executive Director facilitates easement and land protection acquisitions, functions as the primary spokesperson for LPOSC, ensures Land Trust Alliance (LTA) Standards and Practices and LPOSC policies are implemented in all aspects of  LPOSC operations, develops and tracks annual budgets, and is actively involved in fundraising and community outreach. The Executive Director is responsible for the supervision of the Development Director and the Stewardship Director and develops strategic work plans, priorities, and goals for these positions in support of LPOSC Mission. The Executive Director routinely reports to the Board of Directors, ensures the financial health of the organization, maintains LPOSC Accredited Status by LTA and provides leadership and technical support to the Board and staff. The Executive Director displays high standards of professionalism, cooperation, and integrity. In addition, the Executive Director is an integral and active community member who recruits, cultivates, and maintains effective and positive relationships with landowners, supporters, volunteers and members of the community. Executive Director also works effectively and collaboratively with the volunteer Board of Directors who are connected community members and professionals to achieve LPOSC’s Mission.

The Executive Director is a full-time position, who the at the direction of Broad of Directors and with input from other LPOSC Staff, works to identify, develop, and implement land conservation, stewardship, outreach, and fundraising strategies to accomplish annual revenue and strategic program goals established by the Board. The ideal candidate is experienced in land conservation, with a portfolio of experience demonstrating successful activities and campaigns to secure conservation easements, cultivate donor relationships, manage a non-profit organization, and bring enthusiasm and creativity to all aspects of the organization.


  • Bachelor Degree and five years of related professional experience commensurate with the needs of the position including land conservation, non-profit management, and fundraising.
  • Knowledge, experience, and passion for the mission of land trusts;
  • Working knowledge of the policies and tools of voluntary private land conservation and conservation finance in Colorado;
  • Strong organizational and communication skills to articulate LPOSC’s work in written and oral formats;
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically, develop and manage complex projects from to start to finish, adapt to changing circumstances, and meet deadlines;
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and implement budgets;
  • Demonstrated success in fundraising and experience working effectively and collaboratively with supervisory Boards, staff, volunteers, and land owners;
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat, Photoshop Elements, WordPress, SalesForce, and GIS;
  • Leadership, management, and administrative experience necessary to successfully organize, direct, and motivate staff, board, and volunteers to thrive in a team environment;
  • Experience working with landowners, government agencies, community groups and conservation partners to achieve shared objectives;
  • Finely tuned negotiation and collaboration skills; and
  • A valid driver’s license.


  • Starting competitive salary $60,000; to be negotiated dependent upon experience and qualifications.
  • Contribution to Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Group Health Plan.
  • 18 days annual paid time off (PTO), and nine paid holidays.
  • Simple-IRA 3% matching retirement plan.
  • Flexible Scheduling.


Please send resume, cover letter, and three professional references to with the subject “Director Application”. Applications will be accepted until Feb 15, 2018.


Snowdown Wine & Spirits Tasting


Snowdown Annual Wine & Spirits Tasting & Silent Auction

Date: Thursday, February 1, 2018

Time: 4:30pm – 8:00pm

Place: Mutu’s Italian Kitchen

It’s that time of year! It’s our Annual Snowdown Wine & Spirits Tasting & Silent Auction!

Purchase Tickets HERE.

2018 marks the 24th LPOSC Snowdown Event. We anticipate a packed house, full of wonderful supporters in Mutu’s to sample and celebrate! Guests will enjoy sampling carefully selected varietals of wine by Animas Wine & Spirits, and craft spirits from local and regional distilleries (Durango Craft Spirits, Honeyville Honey House Distillery, Woods Mountain Distillery & Peach Street Distilling), along with local foods from Sunnyside Meats and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

Responding to community requests, LPOSC once again focused its silent auction and raffle on “quality of life” items that connect LPOSC supporters to land conservation. From a llama guided day hike with lunch provided, to an Alpacka Raft, to fly fishing on private conservation easements – the auction and raffle should have great energy and be are a fun way to support LPOSC in its work.

LPOSC would like to thank our event sponsors for making this year’s event possible:

Gold Level Sponsors: Bank of Colorado, Jerry & Karen Zink, Kennebec Construction, LPEA, Maynes, Bradford, Shipps & Sheftel, and Tafoya Barrett & Associates.

Silver Level Sponsors: Animas Wine & Spirits, Compton Cattle Company, ImageNet Consulting, Intelligent Investment Management, Priority Financial Partners, RMBA Architects, Reynolds, Ash & Associates Architecture & Engineering, Russell Engineering & Planning Inc., Steve & Jeannie Wheeldon, and the Strater Hotel.

Bronze Level Sponsors: Amber Johnson with Durango Land & Homes,  Colorado Water & Land Law, Durango Electrical Services, ImageNet Consulting, Jay Short Insurance, Jayne’s Corporation, and Oxford Asset Management.

Supporting Businesses & Donors Include:  2nd Avenue Sports, 4 Corners Riversports, Adam Reeves, Alpacka Raft, Andrew Gulliford, Animas Wine & Liquor, Backcountry Experience, the Bartig-Small Family, Bedrock Packs, the Brown Family, Carver Brewing Co., Durango Party Rental, Fresh Off the Press, the Fossel Family, Gardenswartz, Glacier Club,  Jeff Jessing, Jeff McGarvin Photography, John Fielder, Karyn Gabaldon, King Cage, Kroeger’s Ace Hardware, Leland Holiday, Monique Holiday, Mutu’s Italian Kitchen, Native Roots, the Nordic Center, Osprey Packs Inc., Parelli Natural Horsemanship, Osprey Packs, Pathfinder Chiropractic, Pine Needle Mountaineering, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, SKA Brewing, Sunnyside Meats, Tafoya Barrett & Associates staff, Toh-Atin Gallery, Williams & Hall Outfitters.

Purchase Tickets HERE.



In The News

Mining claim in Weminuche Wilderness donated as open space

Durango Herald, December 25, 2017

Land will be protected from future development

A 10-acre mining claim in the Weminuche Wilderness will now be protected as open space.

According to Amy Schwarzbach, executive director of La Plata Open Space Conservancy, members of the Alder family, formerly of Durango, inherited the patented mining claim from their grandfather.

When he passed, Schwarzbach said the family wanted to place protections on the land to prevent any development on it, especially because of its location in the Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado’s largest wilderness area, and nearby proximity to the Animas River.

As of Thursday, the land now belongs to the La Plata Open Space Conservancy, Schwarzbach said. Ultimately, the nonprofit would like to see the land folded into the San Juan National Forest and the Weminuche Wilderness.

Read more HERE.

In The News

BP donates nearly 200 acres near Bayfield as open…

Durango Herald, December 24, 2017

Donation part of agreement with state to offset oil and gas impacts

BP American Production Company has donated nearly 200 acres near Bayfield to be preserved as open space, said Amy Schwarzbach, executive director of La Plata Open Space Conservancy.

The land, now placed in a conservation easement, encompasses about 187 acres off County Road 523 near the HD Mountains. Schwarzbach said the property is important winter habitat for wildlife, especially for elk and mule deer.

BP has contributed nearly 450 acres to conservation efforts, Clanton said, including 250 private acres BP assisted with in 2011. The land recently donated as a conservation easement is owned by BP.

Read more HERE.