From one dollar to $10 million: The power of partnership
By Mark Reaman
The entire Trampe Ranch conservation project, worth more than $23 million, is being accomplished through donations ranging from a $10 million GOCO (Great Outdoors Colorado) grant to numerous online gifts through the Trust for Public Land (TPL) and Gunnison Ranchland Conservation Legacy web pages in the $25 to $50 range. The Trampe family is donating more than $6 million of conservation easement value.
Justin Spring of the TPL said individual private donations ranged from one dollar to a high of $250,000. Non-profit organizations contributed at many levels, with the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory coming in with the highest donation amount of $550,000.
The land will stay in the ranching industry and stretch from Gunnison to Gothic. Spring noted, too, that public funds were committed from every level of government: the towns of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte; Gunnison County; the state, through GOCO; and the federal government, through the Natural Resource Conservation Service.
GOCO’s $10 million grant was the largest single transaction grant ever awarded from the organization.
“GOCO is honored to be a part of this momentous project benefitting our state and its agriculture, its people, and its wildlife. Trampe Ranch represents the best of Colorado, which is why the project will receive our organization’s largest ever, single-transaction grant award of $10 million as part of our Protect Initiative,” said GOCO executive director Jim Spaanstra. “Our congratulations to Bill Trampe and Susan Lohr, who decades ago emerged as conservation visionaries and who have been so effective since in protecting incredible landscapes in the Gunnison Valley, including this stunning, iconic ranch.”
The town of Crested Butte has always been a supporter of open space in the area and the town has earmarked $1 million for the project. “This transaction represents 20 percent of the agriculture land in Gunnison County,” said Crested Butte mayor Glenn Michel. “For a town of 1,502 people to donate $1 million to protect ranchland and open space forever is impressive! That’s $666 for every person in our town and it shows how much we value open space, ranching, and our quality of life. Generations from now, residents and visitors will look back at this monumental achievement and enjoy the benefits of this collaborative effort.”
The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory understands the value of preserving the ranch and RMBL executive director Ian Billick said the scientists all appreciate what the Trampe Ranch provides, so the idea of contributing to the effort was a no-brainer.
“The Trampe family have always been generous and patient neighbors of RMBL,” explained Billick. “The northern ranching properties are adjacent to Gothic and have a huge impact on the ecological integrity of the East River Valley. The RMBL board identified keeping the properties in ranching as one of the most important things we could do for future generations of scientists and students. Furthermore, our community wanted us to put meaning to its importance by supporting the project at a level that was a real stretch for us and that inspired other funders to join us. This project will define the future of the valley and we are grateful to have had a chance to participate.”
The Crested Butte Land Trust also contributed funds for the project. “The Crested Butte Land Trust is delighted to support the Trust for Public Land on such a nationally significant project,” said CBLT executive director Noel Durant. “The Trampe Ranch preserves so many local values—from our ranching heritage to our clean mountain water and incredible views—and we are thrilled to serve as a funding partner based in this beautiful valley.”
TPL Colorado and southwest director Jim Petterson may have summed it up best when he said, “This project demonstrates the power of partnership and what can happen when great people, great organizations and a great community come together and invest in a shared vision.”