Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



A growing desire to protect significant open spaces from unwanted or unnecessary development has given rise to private, non-profit organizations called land trusts. I and trust staff on a local or national level seek to develop cooperative strategies with landowners, developers, and politicians in locating open spaces to protect. There are sixty-three counties in the state of Colorado, and local land trusts operate in thirty-two counties. Land trusts are more likely to be located in counties where there is a higher percentage of college graduates over the age of 23 and have a higher median household income. Counties without local land trusts are located mainly in eastern Colorado, and have significantly lower rates of college graduates over age 25 and median household income. Local trust staff employ legal, biogeographical, and socioeconomic data to work with federal, state, and private entities to locate habitat "gaps" that need protection. Many of these gaps exist on private and state land in non-trust counties where cattle ranching and farming predominate. Landowners in these regions often have negative perspectives regarding wildlife and land protection. Local and national trust staff work on changing attitudes primarily through the use of flexible conservation easements that protect threatened species and habitats while allowing landowners to maintain traditional lifestyles.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Land trusts -- Colorado Open spaces -- Colorado



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University