“This is the most beautiful place on Earth. There are many such places. Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary.”
In 2015, after spending only six years outside of Colorado, I was called home; in truth, my heart never left. Growing up, many of my friends showed excitement to graduate and leave Steamboat Springs, CO. While I too was excited to explore, I always knew that Routt County was my one true home.
In a time when our peers and the media are constantly bombarding us with images of travel and exploration, it can be challenging to convince oneself that it is okay to stay put. For years I had to remind myself that my grandparents, who grew up one mile down the road from the place that they would live out their adult lives, were every bit fulfilled. While this thought has helped me find peace with who I am, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust provided me with an opportunity to put meaning behind my strong desire to be home and allowed me to meet others who felt the same way.
Like many current and past employees of CCALT, I came to the organization through a part-time internship position. I was drawn to CCALT because of the immeasurable impact that it has had in Routt County and because the individuals who pointed me in the direction of the organization were some of the warmest and most genuine people I had ever interacted with. Over the past five years I have learned that my first impression was nothing short of a perfect representation of CCALT. It took me only a few short weeks to discover that the community I had stepped into was one that not only understood my love of place but held a similar sentiment for the landscapes of Colorado and communities that surround them.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to put into words all that I have learned during my time with CCALT. I was able to help conserve places that I have cherished for most of my life, discovered that absolutely no one works harder than a rancher, and most importantly learned that we can all find common ground in a love for the land. I will carry with me my many experiences and new skillsets as I step into the next chapter of my career as a business owner and will forever cherish some of the projects that I was able to accomplish alongside the incredible CCALT team.
The dedication and stewardship efforts of the many landowners and industry partners I have met during my time at CCALT has been inspirational. The efforts of these individuals helped motivate me to start a business that will allow me to deepen my skillset in natural resource management and serve those who serve the land. Lost Ranger Wildfire Mitigation Services was established in 2022 and will provide wildfire mitigation and natural resource management services to the communities of northwest Colorado.
To the CCALT team, landowner partners, and everyone else in the conservation community, THANK YOU for the opportunity to make a career out of giving back to the people and places that raised me, shaped my ideals, and made it impossible for me to find home anywhere but the Yampa Valley.