Investment in the unique natural heritage that defines Colorado is a vital part of the mission of the Gates Family Foundation. By partnering with an unprecedented coalition of groups committed to the conservation of the rich cultural and historic legacy of the southeast region of Colorado, the Foundation is able to facilitate long-term stewardship of public and protected lands as well as invest in the sustainability of rural communities in this portion of the state.
The Palmer Land Trust, the Canyons and Plains heritage tourism development group, the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory, and Guidestone, along with The Nature Conservancy, the National Park Service and the Piñon Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition have all committed their time and resources to achieve a number of goals in the Lower Arkansas Valley. These goals include the establishment of a National Heritage Area; increasing land conservation and tourism development capacity; and the expansion of land stewardship and agricultural infrastructure. The Gates trustees have approved initial grants totaling $390,000 over the next two years to this integrated effort to protect important land and water resources at a landscape scale. Conservation of the area’s incredible working landscape and maximizing the economic and cultural impact of its heritage resources are keys to the future success of this region.