2017 Annual Report

Farewell to Rio!

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

The Bagwell Ranch is Conserved!

Brandon and Michelle Bagwell grew up here. They're raising their family here. And now, this ranch will be preserved, just as it is, forever. 


This beautiful 117 acre ranch is just a few miles east of Manassa and contains portions of both the Conejos River (pictured above) and the San Antonio River. It also has a lot of different habitat types on it, including dry uplands and wetlands. The Bagwells' passion for agriculture and the landscape in Conejos County is evident in any conversation with them as they talk about following in the agricultural footsteps of their parents.

Colorado Gives Day is on December 5th!

While most of the country participates in Giving Tuesday today, Colorado will be participating in the annual statewide day of philanthropic giving called Colorado Gives Day next week. But you can schedule your Colorado Gives Day donation today on our profile page on ColoradoGives.org and make a lasting impact on land and water conservation in the San Luis Valley!

Colorado Gives Day is a 24-hour movement and a chance to increase the value of your donation to RiGHT, thanks to the $1 Million Incentive Fund. Created by Community First Foundation and FirstBank, the Fund increases the value of every dollar donated proportionally. For example, if we receive 10 percent of the total donations made on Colorado Gives Day, we will receive 10 percent of the $1 Million Incentive Fund. 

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