Since the early 1980’s, the Rocky Mountain Conservancy has assumed a leadership role in acquiring many important parcels on land, both in Rocky Mountain National Park and the adjacent Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest, and transferring the land to these federal agencies for permanent protection. In order to quickly respond to acquisition opportunities from willing sellers, the Conservancy seeks to maintain a viable land protection fund.
The Conservation Corps provides a unique service-learning experience for college students interested in natural resource conservation. For eleven weeks, crews work side by side with park and forest service professionals in Rocky Mountain National Park and with the Forest Service, building and maintaining trails, restoring natural habitat and learning from expert researchers and staff.
The Conservancy places six crews of six students each in the field under the supervision of Rocky Mountain National Park and Forest Service staff. Student crew leaders and assistants gain knowledge and the responsibility needed to develop critical leadership skills. Crew members are challenged to learn new skills, find creative solutions, broaden their perspectives and achieve goals they never thought possible. Throughout the summer, they are exposed to career opportunities while protecting and preserving our natural and cultural heritage. And the sheer amount of stewardship work accomplished over a season is impressive. Last year, the Conservation Corps refurbished 135 miles of trail and restored numerous historic structures within the park.
For many, hiking the more than 350 miles of scenic trails in Rocky Mountain National Park is the ultimate wilderness experience. For others, strolling the crushed gravel handicapped-accessible walkways is the best way to share the scenic wonders of the park with family and friends. Whether a gentle stroll or a rigorous climb, trails in the park are valued for the access they provide to some of the most magnificent places in Colorado.
Due to the wear-and-tear of high visitation, trail repairs and improvements are in constant demand in the park. Our much-loved trails require ongoing attention to keep them safe and in good condition to protect park resources and ensure visitor safety. The Rocky Mountain Conservancy continually raises funds for numerous trail improvement projects to help the park with its priority projects, making trails more distinct, safer, and beautifully crafted to protect the resources for years to come.
Passing the stewardship of Rocky Mountain national Park to our children is a task as big as our signature mountains. With the support of donors and members, our goal is to build and maintain a connection between children, nature and the park. Through the Next Generation Fund, the Rocky Mountain Conservancy captures the hearts, minds and funding necessary to secure the future of the educational programs at Rocky Mountain national Park. To meet those challenges, there are two parts of the next generation fund: a working fund which provides more than $500,000 in donations annually for program support, and building an endowment fund that will eventually support these programs in perpetuity.
The programs supported by the Next Generation Fund include:
- The Conservancy’s Conservation Corps
- Rocky’s Junior Ranger Program
- RMNP’s Heart of the Rockies Environmental Education Program
- Youth- and family-oriented publications and exhibits
- Park internships and fellowships
- Conservancy internships and fellowships
- Youth and family programs through the Conservancy’s Field Institute