The Middle Park Conservation District (MPCD) is a political subdivision of the State of Colorado formed under the Colorado Soil Conservation Act of 1937. It is located high in the western slope of the Continental Divide at the headwaters of the Colorado River in Grand and Summit Counties. The average elevation is 8,000′ and above. The topography is characterized by rough, steep sloping mountains, gently sloping to rolling mesas, and valley bottoms dissected by numerous creeks and rivers. Most lands adjacent to these drainages are flood irrigated pastures and hay meadows, although some of those lands are succumbing to development.
Middle Park, in its entirety, is approximately 1,592,000 acres in size (~1,196,000 in Grand and ~396,000 in Summit). The MPCD boundaries include approximately 1,170,000 acres (~774,000 acres in Grand County and all of Summit County’s ~396,000 acres). According to 2017 estimated population figures by the US Census Bureau, about 15,321 people live in Grand County and about 30,585 live in Summit County.
District Employees & Board Members
NRCS, CSFS, CSU Extension
Landownership in Middle Park (Grand and Summit combined):
|71%||Federal Government (USFS, BLM, NPS)|
|7%||Residential, Commercial, Planned Development|
|6%||Other Natural Resources/Conservation Easements/Backcountry/Open Space/Recreation|
The Middle Park Conservation District promotes the conservation and wise use of land, soil, water, air, wildlife and related natural resources through education, program administration, and technical assistance for the benefit of all residents in Grand and Summit Counties.
The Middle Park Conservation District will be a recognized and respected leader in the community by fostering natural resources conservation, sustainable land use and cooperation among government officials, non-governmental groups, developers, community organizations and associations, landowners and the general public through education, technical assistance, and planning.
Middle Park Conservation District provides technical assistance through NRCS; provides information about funding opportunities available to landowners; and, when funds are available, the District provides cost-share programs for on-the-ground projects. The District also facilitates educational activities for local students and adults via workshops; classroom visits; publications; and quarterly newsletters. Finally, the District sells grass seed, tree seedlings, tire tanks, and polyacrylamide (PAM) to landowners to aid in their conservation efforts.
History of Conservation Districts & MPCD
The following summary is provided to you by the National Association of Conservation Districts (http://www.nacdnet.org/about/districts/history). Dust Bowl Photo By: Chris Johns, NatGeo, Getty Images
“In the early 1930s, along with the greatest depression this nation ever experienced, came an equally unparalleled ecological disaster known as the Dust Bowl. Following a severe and sustained drought in the Great Plains, the region’s soil began to erode and blow away, creating huge black dust storms that blotted out the sun and swallowed the countryside. Thousands of “dust refugees” left the black fog to seek better lives.
On Capitol Hill, while testifying about the erosion problem, soil scientist Hugh Hammond Bennett threw back the curtains to reveal a sky blackened by dust. Congress unanimously passed legislation declaring soil and water conservation a national policy and priority. Because nearly three-fourths of the continental United States is privately owned, Congress realized that only active, voluntary support from landowners would guarantee the success of conservation work on private land.
In 1937, President Roosevelt wrote the governors of all the states recommending legislation that would allow local landowners to form soil conservation districts. The movement caught on across the country with district-enabling legislation passed in every state. Today, the country is blanketed with nearly 3,000 conservation districts.”
The Middle Park Conservation District (MPCD) was formed by a group of ranchers from Grand and Summit County initially met at Jerry’s Cafe on February 9, 1956, to discuss the formation of a soil conservation district. Then, on August 12, 1957, the certification of organization was issued by the Secretary of State and was recorded with the County Clerk and Recorder of both Grand and Summit counties.
Since then, our focus has expanded to include smaller landowners who may not be ag producers. The District is under the operation of a locally elected 5-member Board of Supervisors and is required to obey the regulations of the Colorado Soil Conservation Act (as overseen by the Colorado State Conservation Board). MPCD employs one District Manager/Executive Director and one District Conservation Technician (DCT). The District’s funding comes from the state’s Direct Assistance Fund; grants; and the sale of grass seed, tree seedlings, tire tanks, and polyacrylamide.