7th Annual Headwaters Hoedown

Tickets for the Headwaters Hoedown can be purchased through this link.

We'll be there - RAIN OR SHINE! 

If you live in the San Luis Valley, chances are that you love the open spaces and the beauty of our community’s working ranches along the rivers. At the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust, we feel the same way!  And as the community’s land trust, we feel very lucky to work with private landowners who want to protect their land for the future through our Rio Grande Initiative. 

So again this fall, we’ll celebrate conservation at our Headwaters Hoedown, on Saturday, September 23rd , from 1 to 5 pm at the lovely La Garita Creek Ranch in Saguache County. Please join us for a beautiful autumn afternoon on one of those special ranches!

The celebration is a chance to listen (and dance!) to the music of local favorites, Don Richmond and the Rifters, feast on great food by Pepita Catering, partake of the wine and beer, and explore the beauty and archaeological features on the ranch.  The whole family is welcome!

Please note that due to the overwhelming popularity of last year's archaeology tours, we are requesting that people register for the tours in advance if they would like to participate this year. This will ensure we can provide a high quality tour to all participants. While there is no additional charge for the tours, space is limited and we strongly encourage you to sign up early.


Included in your ticket price:

- A delicious meal!

- Wine and beer

- Archaeology Tour (please register in advance)

- Live music

- Access to the silent and live auctions



Directions to La Garita Creek Ranch, Saguache County:

From Del Norte: Drive north on 112 for about 3 miles, then turn left at the signed road to La Garita. Continue driving north on this road for 7 miles and then turn left onto Saguache County Road E39. Drive west down E39 for a mile until turning right onto a drive with a large gate that says "Spirit of the American West."

From 285: Drive on 285 to the intersection with Saguache County Road G, with a sign pointing to La Garita. Turn onto Road G and drive west for about 8 miles, passing the small town of La Garita, until Road G comes to a "Y" intersection with the dirt road 38A. Turn left onto the dirt road and drive south for 3 miles to another fork intersection. At the fork turn right onto E39 and drive west for about a mile until turning right onto a driveway with a large gate that says "Spirit of the American West."


Schedule of Events

1:00     Gates open, Archaeology Tour #1 departs (reservation required)

1:15       Archaeology Tour #2 departs (reservation required)

1:30      Ranch Tour departs, meal is served, Ron Richmond & The Rifters begin playing

3:00    Acknowledgements, Live Auction

4:00     Silent Auction ends

5:00     Event Ends



Alpine Achievers Serve Over 1,000 SLV Students

Here at RiGHT, we know that partnerships are what make so many worthwhile projects possible. Through the San Luis Valley Conservation and Connection Initiative (SLV CCI), we’re able to support groups like the Alpine Achievers Initiative (AAI) and their Backyard to Backcountry Program (B2B).  

The B2B program supports community-based youth engagement programs and environmental education programs, seeking to increase the capacity of existing environmental education programs and develop programming in areas where there is none available. During the 2016-2017 school year, AAI provided services to over 1,000 students via the 16 schools they currently serve and they are now reaching out to all SLV schools to offer B2B programs. See www.alpineachievers.org for more information.  

RiGHT is very grateful to be able to help support such important youth programs, and hopefully inspire the next generation of stewards for the land, water and resources of the Valley.

A core idea behind B2B programs is to help overcome barriers, such transportation, financial and time, that families identified as preventing them from getting outside. The program provides transportation to and from all B2B programs to ensure all youth are able to participate. In addition, by providing programs during the school day or through existing out of school programs there are no additional burdens on families to modify their schedules to get kids to programs.

AAI began in 2013 to meet the needs of under-served youth in Saguache County and has since grown to serve many other areas of the San Luis Valley (SLV). AAI's goal is to support what is best for ALL SLV youth and that cannot happen in isolation. They place a strong emphasis on partnerships, especially here where many groups operate with limited resources.  

“Collaborating makes us all stronger and more sustainable,” said Megan Straus, Executive Director.   

They are working with many other SLV organizations to enhance their existing environmental education programs, during the school day, after school, on weekends, alternative breaks and in the summer. AAI partners with at least 20 organizations in the SLV, ranging from school districts to Adams State University, the Conservation Districts, other youth programs, and many more.

Their B2B programs are designed to provide age appropriate programming that progress in complexity as youth move through grades K to 12. The two core results AAI seeks to achieve through their B2B Programs are:  

  1. To provide B2B programs to at least 1,000 kids in grades K-12 at least two times during the school year

  2. For kids that participate in over 6 days’ worth of B2B programs, to show an increase in Positive Youth Development factors, an intentional, pro-social approach that engages youth within their communities, schools, organizations, peer groups, and families in a manner that is productive and constructive; recognizes, utilizes, and enhances youths’ strengths; and promotes positive outcomes for young people by providing opportunities, fostering positive relationships, and furnishing the support needed to build on their leadership strengths.

RiGHT’s partnership with the LOR Foundation, Colorado Open Lands and Western Rivers Conservancy allows RiGHT to support these and many other great efforts in conservation, restoration, education and more across the San Luis Valley.  


2017 Cathy McNeil Conservation Intern

Hello! My name is Emilee Rowe and I am the 2017 Cathy McNeil Conservation Intern! I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico but I have spent a lot of my childhood visiting my family fishing cabin in the South Fork area. I am currently a Junior at the University of Oklahoma studying advertising and the impressive record of our football team. I have a love for writing and being creative, which has lead me to the creative world of advertising. On campus at OU, I am apart of the student-run advertising agency, Lindsey + Asp, which has allowed me to develop my passion for creative advertising even further. Outside the classroom side of life, I am addicted to running, playing golf and all things sports. There isn’t a game I wouldn’t love watching.

I grew up coming to the San Luis valley to learn to ski and fish in this beautiful scenery. My dad, a Monte Vista native, brought my family to the valley as often as he could, and I’m sure glad he did. From my early stages, I became obsessed with the endless skylines of mountains and the breathtaking mix of water in those mountains. Growing up in Albuquerque, I was surrounded by mountains, but none quite like San Juans or the Sangre de Cristos.

Which is why I am back this summer. I don’t quite get my mountain fix going to school in Oklahoma, so I went after them for this summer. Although I am not well versed in the world of land trusts or an expert on all things pertaining to the environment, I am very excited to learn more than any other advertising major would. I believe there is no information that is bad information so I want to learn as much as I can while I am here.

I look forward to being fully embraced in the valley lifestyle while learning about things that can really make a difference in people’s lives. Doing something impactful has been instilled in me very early on. My mom helped start a nonprofit in my hometown and brother spent many years working for a nonprofit in Utah. These people have shown me how important it is to do work that really matters, and I find work that matters in RiGHT. I am very excited to be apart of this change for a summer and I hope it leads me to meeting you along the way!

2017 RiGHT Wildflower Tour

This event was a huge success! You can see photos from the day by clicking here or going to our Facebook page.


Come join us for a morning of exploring the wildflower culture of the San Luis Valley! Happening July 15th from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM at the conserved Soward Ranch near Creede.

The tour will cover basics of wildflower identification as well as give people experienced in identification access to a special area. The tour will be led by wildflower expert and author of Flora of the San Juans, Sue Komarek. This year’s tour will also include special activities for kids! There is no cost to attend the tour and it is sure to be a fun event.

Space is limited, so please call to register today: 719-657-0800 or email katherineb@riograndelandtrust.org.