Crestone Eagle, September 2005:
County transfers lots to Crestone/Baca Land Trust for additional open space
by Kim Malville
At its meeting on August 16, the county commissioners transferred
51 lots to the Crestone Baca Land Trust to protect important
wetlands and riparian corridors in the Grants. This was an
historic transfer, which enables the Land Trust to expand
greatly its efforts to maintain the quality of the natural
landscape in the Baca.
White Wing Wetland
Part of the transfer gives the Land Trust ownership of 32
acres of an important area known as the White Wing Wetland,
located to the west of Heatherbrae Road between Camino Real
and Birch Road. The unusually high water table in the area
has made it an important grazing area for elk. The grasslands
and moist soil also support unusual plant and animal communities,
which have been identified by the recent biological survey
funded by a grant from the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
The Land Trust has been working to prevent development in
the area and especially to avoid any fencing.
Spanish Creek Wetland
The large pond that formed for two to three months during
the summer of 2005 at the crossing of Camino del Rey and Spanish
Creek is a remarkably rich biological habitat. John Sovell
of the Colorado Natural Heritage Program, who directs the
biological survey that we commissioned, reports an abundance
of animal and plant life in the wetlands, such as Brazilian
free-tailed bats, tiger salamanders, chorus frogs, Mountain
Plover, Wilson Phalaropes, and the San Luis Valley subspecies
of the northern pocket gopher (Thymomys talpoides agrestis).
The Land Trust has particular concern about the threat of
development and septic systems on the margins of this wetland.
Specifically, we wish to prevent any construction on Stallion
Trail, which would have negative consequences to the health
of the wetland. We are attempting to work with owners of lots
along Stallion Trail as well as those adjacent to the White
Wing Wetland to assist them in making trades for less fragile
land elsewhere in the Baca.
We are very grateful to the County Commissioners for their
interest in working with us to preserve wetlands, especially
during this time of tight budgets. Wendi Maez, Connie Trujillo,
and Jackie Stephens in the County administration played important
roles in facilitating this transfer. Locally, both Tamar Ellentuck
and Maggie Mesinger of the POA worked hard with us on this
We also are very appreciative of the support and encouragement
we have received from the current POA Board of Directors.
Tony Ross, Richard Enzer, Lee Mitchell, and Greg Griffin have
consistently backed our efforts to preserve and expand open
space in the Baca. Land Trusts across Colorado are struggling
to stay ahead of development. Funds for this kind of work
are scarce, and there are few Land Trusts in Colorado who
have benefited from this kind of enlightened support from
their county and local leaders.
to the Eagle!