Why do we conserve?
Conservation isn’t a new concept. We turn off lights when we leave a room, are careful with our water use, and drive fuel-efficient cars. But what about land conservation? What about conserving the places that grow our food, clean our water, inspire our adventures, and nurture our souls? That’s what Colorado Open Lands does every day. We work across Colorado to ensure that the land continues to support Colorado’s outstanding quality of life.
Colorado offers some of the most breathtaking views in the country. Even when privately-owned land is conserved, it is many times protecting the iconic viewscapes that we all cherish – wide open views that might otherwise turn into highways, houses or strip malls. We expect three million more people in our state by 2050, making land conservation more important – and more urgent – than ever before.
Colorado hosts a stunning variety of native animals and plants. While our state does have public lands, conserving private land is the ONLY way to ensure animals like pronghorn, elk, deer, and bears thrive. These animals need intact migration corridors, and much of this habitat is on private lands. Land conservation also ensures that vulnerable species like the Gunnison Sage-grouse survive here, the only place where they are found in the U.S.
Land conservation is a valuable tool to maintain healthy waterways at a time when our water supply is becoming more fragile. Modern irrigation practices can improve water use so that much of our river water is “used” by different farmers and ranchers an average of six times before it flows out of Colorado. Without irrigated lands, Colorado’s semi-arid climate could not produce food, and our $1.9 billion angling industry would dry up.
Agriculture is critical to our state’s economy. Yet, Colorado loses on average 690 acres of farmland every day. That’s the equivalent of losing an area the size of Rocky Mountain National Park every year. But, it’s getting harder for local farmers and ranchers to stay on their land. Land conservation can help young or new farmers and ranchers continue to work the land and provide abundant local food for our growing population.
Visit Colorado Open Lands’ website to learn more about why land conservation is so important, see recent projects, and support our critical work.
Header image, Scenic Views image, Healthy Waterways image, and Local Food image generously provided courtesy of John Fielder.