Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

2013 Accomplishments

Organizational Capacity Building

  • Adoption of new Strategic Plan as a working document for Board and Staff to move forward with mission
  • Hiring of Development Director to work with OLT Board / Committees to create a Development Plan for funding programs and capital needs, grant writing, expand outreach to a broader constituent base and to increase engagement of volunteers and donors to help with fundraising needs based on the Strategic Plan
  • Increased outreach to and engagement of current OLT members and visitor prospects, including a thank you card campaign with honey stick featuring a local food producer as a Members Week-end thank you gesture
  • Increased volunteer participation and further development of Volunteer Host programs; special programs included fireside talks, Astronomy, live music nights and a song-writing workshop
  • Staff Training - Development Director attended Land Trust Alliance conference on topics ranging from fundraising to organizational / board development, capacity building & education and negotiating easements. Ranch Manager Mike O'Donal attended conference with the Savory Institute for Holistic Grazing
  • New staff members and volunteers trained in emergency CPR
  • Continued community outreach to the San Luis Valley by participation at Crestone Music Festival, Crestone Energy Fair, the Northern San Luis Valley Conservation Round Table and at water rights meetings / hearings in Denver on behalf of local ranchers
  • Increased interest by new visitors to OLT as seen in higher number of bat visits to Orient Mine and visitation at Valley View Hot Springs
  • Grant award of $10,000 from the Saguache County Sales Tax Fund for a fire truck that OLT has identified to protect not only its assets / lands but to be available to assist local fire companies as a first responder in nearby SLV fires should we be invited. OLT's experienced fire-trained staff will also conduct fire safety education seminars and possibly participate in controlled burns with the BLM and USFS.
  • Grants Committee and Resource Development Committee resurrected to explore funding opportunities for various OLT program needs - volunteers welcome!
  • "The Energy Detective" monitoring system installed and tested to guide conservation decisions and educate guests regarding electric usage
  • OLT website rebuild / redesign featuring stunning photos, navigation ease and updated reservation info, along with additional donor, volunteer, and program information


  • New outdoor electrical transformer installed below Main Bath House, addressing safety concerns around the old indoor transformer.
  • OLT's hydroelectric system ran without interruption for most of 2013 at an average of 50-55 kw production, providing OLT with more hot water for Apple Tree pools .
  • New, pre-built employee cabin placed on new foundation across from Welcome Center
  • Smoking Shed built for, well, you know... smokers (!) replete with fire-proof enclosed ashtrays, and a picnic table!
  • New Trading Post maneuvered into place near pavilion with promotion of local food products and coffee service
  • New staircase with rail installed in swimming pool, paid for by a private donor
  • Welcome Center upgrades completed including a new front desk made from Everson ranch cottonwood; local art and produce featured in common areas of Welcome Center
  • Overall electrical efficiency increased throughout OLT campuses by implementation of conservation measures and selected rewiring projects
  • Initiation of remote management systems for hydro-power system so that power generation and power use can be monitored in one location
  • All sub-surface data collected and sent to Bio -Habitat of Denver for preliminary design and interface with Dept of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) for mandated wastewater treatment plant upgrade
  • Vehicle sites B,C, D, & E leveled using fill from Apple Tree pools and new staff housing site
  • Tent sites surrounding OLT village improved by volunteers
  • No reports of bed bugs in any accommodations during 2013
  • Dead trees removed around Apple Tree pools and campsites
  • Everson Ranch
  • See related article by OLT's Ranch Manager


  • Worked with 5 Colorado School of Mines EPICS 2 Program student teams to design a solar cooker oven, a solar heater for OLT cabins, a speculative design for an underground reservoir for Swimming Pool outflow on which a greenhouse and permaculture system could be built; a penstock evaluation and an assessment of water loss at The Reservoir.
  • KIds' summer program and carnival held at Everson ranch that included arts and educational projects
  • Green Team Education program launched at OLT facilities that included the following learning experiences for students: customer service and inventory duties at the Trading Post, creation of an architect's model for ranch renovations and development of plans for an OLT education program fundraiser
  • Hosted a French Intern, Margaux Tachet, who helped with cattle movement, fencing tasks for holistic grazing program and conducted baseline data collection and development of monitoring plans for holistic grazing program.


  • Students of the High Altitude Permaculture advanced coursework group visited OLT campuses to explore the incorporation of permaculture system designs into OLT's future plans - at the hot springs village, on OLT grazing lands and at the Everson ranch
  • Successful accomplishment of trial holistic land management program at Everson ranch in conjunction with Arrowpoint Scottish Highland Cattle company of Buena Vista and neighboring rancher Linda Caldwell.
  • Participated in the Third Annual Worldwide Record for Skinny Dipping with 65 naked bods in the swimming pool on July 13, 2013! This event was sponsored by the American Association of Nude Recreation.


  • Streambank restoration accomplished at the Everson ranch meanders leading from the hydro plant to reservoir, decreasing water loss to the reservoir and pastures.
  • Field restoration project initiated at Everson ranch through animal waste management including 5 exotic black pigs, chickens, a llama and 6 horses.
  • Numerous stewardships projects completed by volunteers including the addition of steps in several hot spring pools, building of stairs at campsites, invasive weed removal, and removal of old fencing and building demolition at Everson ranch.
Last modified on Sunday, 01 December 2013 15:06

For the education, enjoyment, and well-being of current and future generations, Orient Land Trust: 
promotes a positive clothing-optional experience at all properties including Valley View Hot Springs, Orient Mine and Everson Ranch;
preserves the viewshed, including land acquisition; 
protects natural, wild, agricultural, and historic resources, in the northern San Luis Valley.