Rio first came to the San Luis Valley after meeting RiGHT's founder, Cathy McNeil, skiing at the Wolf Creek Ski Area in the late 1990s. Their shared interest in conservation resulted in Rio moving to the Valley to work with RiGHT and developing conservation programs.
Her passion for land, water and our community has been endless and we've all been the beneficiaries. Rio coordinated the Rock Creek Heritage Project, which helped protect over 8,000 acres south of Monte Vista and then worked with RiGHT on the Rio Grande Initiative, which focuses on land and water protection along the Rio Grande, Conejos River and their tributaries.
Much more than acres protected though, Rio is a visionary for the future of the Valley and a connector, connecting people, ideas and projects to one another. In our totally objective opinion, the Salazar family and Adams State University couldn't have picked a better person to direct and lead the emerging conservation efforts of the Salazar Center.
"All of RiGHT's extraordinary conservation work is only possible because of all the people who welcomed me to the San Luis Valley, who helped me learn, who have helped RiGHT protect a great deal of land, water, wildlife, and agriculture, and the generations of families that have cared for this very special place.
Though the Salazar Rio Grande del Norte Center at Adams State University, I look forward to finding new ways to support RiGHT and our many conservation partners to continue to do important work across the Valley. I will forever be grateful to Nancy Butler, the RiGHT staff and Board, and the many partners we've worked with. And there's much more to be done! Collectively, I believe that we have all the resources, knowledge and committed people to give future generations their chance to be stewards of the Valley, too!" - Rio de la Vista