Funded ProjectsCrested Butte Land Trust

November 6, 2013

— Submitted by Ann Johnston, Executive Director, Crested Butte Land Trust, October 2012

Through generous contributions from the Chris Mikesell Foundation, the Crested Butte Land Trust has been able to ensure that a diversity of conservation projects, to protect the landscapes that Chris so cherished, are possible.  

Thanks to the Foundation’s support, a very significant portion of the North Pole Creek, as it cascades through scree fields and spruce forests from 11,500 feet above sea level, is well on its way to becoming protected. 

Nestled between the Raggeds and the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, the North Pole Basin boasts lush spruce forests, incredible cascading waterfalls, and meadows filled with a dizzying array of summer wildflowers. 

Hiking the North Pole Basin with panoramic views of Treasury Mountain. -photo by DawnReeder

Hiking the North Pole Basin with panoramic views of Treasury Mountain. -photo by Dawn Reeder






We are sure that Chris would have very much enjoyed the trail to the North Pole Basin, and would have hiked beyond to climb Galena and Treasury Mountains, or Crystal Peak. From there, he would have been thrilled with the views of a handful of Colorado’s famous fourteeners, including Maroon and Pyramid Peaks to the northeast, and Snowmass Mountain to the northwest.

The Chris Mikesell Foundation’s generous support has also assisted with the preservation of 180-acres of Gunnison sage grouse habitat.  Owned by the Graham family, the former ranch is located adjacent to the Hartman Rocks recreation area, used by hundreds of Western Colorado State University students each year.   

And, the Foundation’s support is enabling the Land Trust to finalizing another segment of the Lower Loop trail system adjacent to the Town of Crested Butte. Here, hikers and bicyclists can travel through the Slate River Valley, home to the Slate River Wetlands Preserve. 

Because the success of every charity depends on public trust, the Crested Butte Land Trust prioritized operating with nonprofit excellence. We are proud to have been awarded national accreditation last month, from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.  The accreditation seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation. It recognizes organizations for meeting national standards for excellence, upholding the public trust and ensuring that conservation efforts, like those supported by the Chris Mikesell Foundation, are permanent.

Stewardship of nature also provided a sense of place and sense of purpose for Chris Mikesell. The Foundation’s 2011 and 2012 grants of $9,000 are given in tribute to this common passion.

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