La Plata Open Space celebrates legacy of land-protection superstars.
There’s a big difference between wanting to protect the land and being able to make it happen. The litany of legal lingo and financial mine-fields littering the path to land protection can be daunting, if not downright impossible to overcome.
The key to taking the leap is having the right guide, someone who knows their way around that burning ring of regulatory fire. Even better is an entire organization of guides dedicated to making land protection a priority.
For the past two and half decades, the La Plata Open Space Conservancy has helped private landowners and municipalities across the Four Corners protect thousands of acres of open space, including almost 2 percent of La Plata County alone.
With the conservancy’s 25th anniversary on the horizon, Executive Director Amy Schwarzbach felt it was time to celebrate the heroes – the guides – who made it all possible.
“The influence those individuals have had is heroic,” she said.
Inspired by Crested Butte’s Peace Museum Colorado, which honors “Peace Heroes” in the community each year, Schwarzbach created “Conservation Heroes.”
One of the first people she thought of was the conservancy’s founding executive director, Katharine Roser.
Not only did Roser serve as the conservancy’s executive director for 18 years, she helped form a statewide organization to protect open space called the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts and was involved with the creation of Great Outdoors Colorado, a program in which lottery revenues are used to protect or create parks and open space.