Community Agriculture Alliance: Land stewardship course |

Community Agriculture Alliance: Land stewardship course

Dale McCall
For Steamboat Pilot & Today

Stewardship, by definition, is an ethic that embodies the responsible planning and management of resources. When applied to owning property and land in Routt County, it is critical that all landowners understand the importance of land stewardship. And as our community continues to grow, it is every landowner’s, both new and existing, responsibility to care for their property. There is a rural saying that “good fences make good neighbors.” That is just one small part of being a good community member and responsible landowner.

Since 2004, Community Agriculture Alliance and CSU Routt County Extension have partnered to offer the Land Stewardship course in our community. The six-week course is based on curriculum from the Living on the Land-Stewardship for Small Acreages courses, produced by western states cooperative extensions. This year’s course is targeting new landowners and community members with 100 level or more basic course content. Additionally, real estate professionals who take the class can earn up to twelve continuing education credits.

Course topics include the following:

Grazing and ranching stewardship will be on-site at a local ranch with topics covering ranching in Routt County, grazing to manage lands and wildlife impacts on livestock and humans with local Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff.

• The water stewardship class will also be on-site at a local ranch to show course participants examples of irrigation and water management practices, including flood irrigation. Staff from the Colorado Division of Water Resources will also speak to the basics of Colorado water law, water rights issues and well permits.

Preparing for fire includes Colorado State Forest Service staff and education on creating defensible space. Representatives from the Routt County Wildfire Mitigation Council will share resources on preparing yourself, animals and your home in the face of fire.

Community stewardship conversations will focus on how to be a good neighbor, the basics of Colorado fence law and representatives from Routt County Planning Department to discuss the County Master Plan, zoning regulations and community visioning.

• The final class will include theRoutt County weed supervisor to cover weed management and resources, and local ranchers will be on hand to answer questions.

The six-week course is offered Wednesday evenings, beginning Sept. 15 through Oct. 20. For registration information and course fees visit or contact Michele Meyer at 970-879-4370.

One of the main reasons people visit and often move to the Yampa Valley is its natural beauty. The scenic landscapes and open spaces are a critical part of the fabric of the community. The fields of hay, grazing cattle or horses are idyllic and much loved. These working landscapes should not be taken for granted.

It takes all of us to support and value both land and community stewardship.

Michele Meyer is the executive director of the Community Agriculture Alliance.

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