A combined Western Slope land trust plans to preserve more lands like these.

(Courtesy of Colorado West Land Trust)

More people. More development. More political pressures. 

And, now, a more powerful land preservation entity on the Western Slope to protect important lands in the face of all that.

The new Colorado West Land Trust, a union of the Mesa Land Trust and the Black Canyon Regional Land Trust, will focus on  preserving lands that many locals cherish and that are the big draw for new residents. Those lands include peach orchards, hunting grounds, recreational trails, mountain and canyon scenery and wildlife habitat. Preservation with conservation easements means those lands are taken out of the development game: they won't be turned into subdivisions or shopping malls.

The new Colorado West Land Trust covers most of five counties in western Colorado.

(Courtesy of Colorado West Land Trust)

The new trust currently shares 500 conservation agreements on 120,000 acres.  Those conserved lands aren't just pretty and fertile, according to a Colorado State University study. Number-crunching in that study shows that they also are an important driver of economic health.

Rob Bleiberg, the executive director of the new Colorado West Land Trust joins Nathan Heffel on Colorado Matters.