OSMRE / VISTA Team Projects

San Isabel Land Protection Trust


OSMRE / VISTA: Sean "Martin" Aksentowitz
Supervisor: Ben Lenth
Address: PO Box 124, Westcliffe, Colorado 81252
County: Custer
Voice Telephone: 719-783-3018
Email: ben@sanisabel.org
Web site: www.sanisabel.org
Congressional District: 3rd
Bureau: Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE)


San Isabel Land Protection Trust works with landowners to protect agricultural and forest lands, water resources, wildlife habitat and scenic open spaces, and to serve our community by facilitating parks and trails.

About the Surrounding Community

Gold and Silver mining was a main stay in Custer County from the 1800’s to the early 1900’s.  The Denver Rio Grande Railroad served the area between 1901 and 1937, helping the ranching community to become a vital industry before it diminished drastically.  In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, Custer County grew at a rapid rate, but primarily as rural subdivisions were created without a corresponding increase in locally-based businesses. Of the residents living in the zip codes served by the San Isabel Land Protection Trust, live 16.7% below the national poverty level.

Project Overview

This project supports rural economic development, environmental stewardship, and regional tourism by assisting the San Isabel Land Protection Trust in the development of projects and programs that promote the health of the land, and economic development compatible with a pristine landscape. This project addresses several components of these goals, including promoting good land stewardship and facilitating the development of public parks and trails. These activities strengthen the local economy through facilitating the local recreation and tourism industry, and assisting the economic viability of the agricultural economy by safeguarding the land’s fertility. The OSMRE/VISTA is working with landowners to identify restoration projects and connecting them with funding mechanisms by writing several grants towards for an ongoing restoration program. The project develops strong partnerships and works towards extending the tourism season, providing higher paying jobs, creating additional jobs, and thereby helping residents to become self-sustaining. In addition, the OSMRE/VISTA plays a key role in the development of the Bluff Park, through developing interpretive signs to provide educational opportunities for the public.

Sponsors and Partners

Town of Westcliffe

Cliffs Commercial District