The Trust for Land Restoration was pleased to receive the December 30, 2021 donation of 54-acres of wetlands and high-quality riparian habitat in Gunnison County near Marble, CO named the Marble Wetlands Preserve.
The circumstances by which this property came to be donated to TLR is rather unique. An anonymous donor had been working with Crystal Valley Environmental Protection Association (CVEPA) President, John Armstrong, for several years to find the right recipient organization to take the donation. The land includes a small mine-waste/slag pile left over from a smelter operation that ceased operation over 100 years ago, and Aspen Valley Land Trust (AVLT) had stepped up to take the property provided the liability issues associated with the slag pile could be mitigated. John brought in TLR and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to consult with the land trust, but as the December 31 deadline to accept the donation got near, AVLT decided it still wasn’t comfortable accepting the property as is, before the environmental mitigation recommended by CDPHE had been completed. At the eleventh hour in stepped TLR.
“This is exactly the kind of deal TLR was created to help complete. Problem solving and rapid response are our specialty, ” said TLR’s Pat Willits, adding that TLR’s goal in owning the property is to work with CDPHE to complete an approved cleanup of the slag pile sufficient to assure public safety, and then work with locals over the next six to 12 months to put the property into the hands of a long term owner, likely AVLT, the Town of Marble, Pitken County Open Space Dept, or the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife, making sure that public access is assured in a manner consistent with the environmental values found there.
TLR expects to incur costs while owning the Marble Wetlands Preserve that it will have to recover at some point, but, said Willits, “this isn’t about making money, this is about saving a priceless piece of Colorado for generations to come.” Donations can be earmarked “Marble Wetlands Preserve”.
You can learn more about the Marble Wetlands Preserve by clicking on the Aspen Journalism article below.