Ann Johnston – Protecting Crested Butte’s Spectacular Landscapes

Ann Johnston

Ann Johnston

Ann Johnston is Executive Director of the Crested Butte Land Trust (CBLT), a conservation organization that protects land in Crested Butte and Gunnison County, Colorado. Given the focused geographic area in which CBLT operates, Ann and her team must be creative and nimble, and they use a variety methods to protect a diverse array of landscapes, from large-acreage rural ranches to small in-town parcels. CBLT must also balance the competing priorities of Gunnison County’s various stakeholders—ranchers, hikers, bikers, skiers, businesses, and tourists, just to name a few. In an area of the West that is becoming more and more popular, CBLT’s work has never been more important.

I’ve long admired Ann’s ability to think outside the box and effectively execute her plans, so I was excited to get a chance to sit down with her in CBLT’s Crested Butte office. We had a fun conversation in which we discussed her personal connection to conservation, the challenges and opportunities of operating in such a tight-knit community, conservation success stories, specific methods for saving land, advice for aspiring conservationists, and much more– see below for a full list of the topics we discussed. Enjoy!


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Episode Notes

Topics Covered

4:15 – How Ann describes her work
5:20 – What makes Crested Butte Land Trust unique
7:25 – CBLT’s approach to conservation on a local level
9:20 – Challenges/Opportunities of working in such a tight-knit community
11:35 – Example of win-win conservation projects
13:30 – Snodgrass Trailhead project
18:35 – How Ann prioritizes projects
20:55 – What does “conservation” mean to Ann and CBLT
22:55 – The specific definition of “saving” land
24:30 – Why Colorado is the leader in land conservation
25:55 – Colorado conservation tax credit explained
28:20 – Ann’s personal background and connection to conservation
31:50 – Experiences that attracted Ann to conservation
33:30 – Ann’s love of surfing
36:15 – Advice to future conservationists
39:10 – Biggest opportunities in conservation
41:15 – Where conservation is going in the next 20 years
43:30 – One thing Ann would change about conservation
45:10 – Advice for future conservationists, part 2
47:25 – Book recommendations
48:50 – Documentaries
50:00 – Favorite locations in the West
50:35 – Favorite trails in Crested Butte
52:00 – Ann’s craziest outdoor experience
54:00 – Biggest challenge facing Colorado in the future
55:10 – Ann’s request of the listeners
55:50 – Connect with Ann and CBLT online

Information Referenced

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