A Crested Butte Local Business Feature
I am so pleased to feature The Crested Butte Land Trust and their Executive Director Noel Durant! I serve as the President of the Crested Butte Land Trust, and I highly support and stand behind this organization. Their mission is to preserve and protect “wide open ranch lands, breathtaking views, lush fields of wildflowers, and epic single-track” (www.cblandtrust.org). Additionally, they strive to work with the local community “to forever protect and steward open lands for vistas, recreation, wildlife, and ranching, thus contributing to Gunnison County’s unique heritage and quality of life,” (www.cblandtrust.org).
Crested Butte Land Trust Successes
Over the past 26 years, the Crested Butte Land Trust has completed 88 transactions, using $70 million to protect 6,293 acres (www.cblandtrust.org). You can view some of their tremendous successes here. Below are some highlights from their website!
- In 2014, the Crested Butte Land Trust successfully raised $2.8 million to save 108-aces on Snodgrass Mountain.
- In the summer of 2013, the Land Trust successfully raised nearly $2 million to purchase North Pole Basin, a special place with boundless beauty and conservation significance.
- The Crested Butte Land Trust led the effort to reclaim the Peanut Mine by cleaning up hundreds of tons of mine waste, restoring the site and protecting the environmental health of the Slate River Valley and the Town of Crested Butte.
- Since the early 2000’s, the Land Trust has focused its stewardship efforts in the Upper Slate River Valley, a seven-mile stretch from Gothic Bridge to Pittsburgh where the Land Trust protected peanut lake. The Land Trust is currently working to replace the Gunsight Bridge and restore its surrounding wetlands.
- In 2011, 391-acres of the Kochevar family land was acquired and permanently protected by a collaborative effort of the Land Trust, Town of Crested Butte, and the Trust for Public Lands in partnership with the Kochevar family. This resulted in the creation of the publicly accessible and very popular Lupine Trails.
About Noel Durant
Noel is originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he managed park development and urban land conservation projects as a Program Director for Trust for Public Land. He worked closely with a variety of city and non-profit partners to pursue further park and greenway investment in the Chattanooga area. Prior to that, Noel managed 3,500 acres of private land for natural resource benefit at the Lula Lake Land Trust, a watershed-based conservation organization in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. While there, he coordinated environmental education and research activities, and developed 34-miles of multi-use trail connecting to Cloudland Canyon State Park.
Noel began his conservation career with four years in fire management with the National Park Service. Additionally, he worked in prescribed fire management in King’s Mountain National Military Park. He later traveled west fighting wildfires as a crew member of the Alpine Interagency Hotshot Crew based in Rocky Mountain National Park. Noel graduated from Clemson University with a B.S. in Natural Resource Management. He is thrilled to join the Land Trust team to preserve the iconic landscape of the Gunnison Valley.
Interview with Noel Durant
I met up with Noel, and here’s what he had to say!
How did your passion for conservation develop?
I grew up with two passionate conservation-minded parents who took every opportunity to get my family outside. My earliest memories are of trail work days with my parents and their friends when they formed “The Friends of Rainbow Lake” to improve recreational access to a protected open space near my childhood home.
What is your favorite part about your job?
I love meeting people who share a passion for protecting the Gunnison Valley. We all have that first-time experience when we realize just how special this place is. I really enjoy connecting over these moments. The Land Trust is in the business of protecting these moments for future generations, and I take great pride in the permanence of our work.
What is your favorite project right now at the Crested Butte Land Trust?
My personal favorite right now is the replacement of the Gunsight Bridge. I love to geek out on engineering and construction projects, and this new bridge will be a very cool piece of engineering that will result in better access to our trails and a healthier Slate River!
What is your favorite part about living in Crested Butte? Why did you choose to live here?
There is a sense of the immediate wildness that surrounds our community and it influences everyday life in Crested Butte. Adventures of a lifetime are just out the backdoor, with everything from high country treks to a lunchtime ride on the lower loop. I think this sense of adventure combined with the very real heritage of ranching in our valley make Crested Butte a unique town, even in a state as iconic as Colorado.
What are your hobbies?
I have quite a few hobbies living in Crested Butte. In the summer, it’s mountain biking and fly fishing. I love bowhunting for Elk in September and October. Plus, I love skiing on the resort and on the easier backcountry runs in the winter!
What is one special thing our readers should know about the Crested Butte Land Trust?
The Crested Butte Land Trust is a community driven non-profit organization. The Land Trust has delivered time and time again on protecting what makes our community and valley such an incredible place to live, work, recreate. It helps us enjoy a connection to the natural world and our valley’s heritage. This means going out and protecting new land for conserving our natural resources and wisely managing the land we have already protected to ensure the next generation can enjoy the Gunnison Valley as we know it.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I hope your readers get out there and enjoy the conserved lands of the Crested Butte Land Trust. Plus, I also hope that they tell us about their experience! We love hearing stories of how our conservation efforts impact people’s lives. I hope they’ll stop by our office or drop us a line to share their stories!
To close, I’d like to extend a huge thanks to Noel Durant and the Crested Butte Land Trust! Overall, I’m so thankful to have shared about this wonderful non-profit organization. It was such an honor to serve as the President of The Crested Butte Land Trust. Finally, to learn more about the Crested Butte Land Trust, visit their website. Additionally, you can also contact them on this webpage, or visit their office upstairs at 308 Third Street, Crested Butte, CO 81224.
*Featured Blog Photo by Barbara Kauffman
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