Local conservation news brought to you by AVLT.  | Est. 1967 | 
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Happy New Year in Conservation

Brian Hightower addresses the crowd of supporters at the
Limelight Hotel on December 7, 2015. 

In a show of support unprecedented in AVLT’s 48-year history, the Roaring Fork Valley community (and in some cases, well beyond!) stood up for Marble Basecamp.  Donors and supporters – including Great Outdoors Colorado with a recent grant of a $273,000 – rallied to raise over $550,000 by Dec. 15 as needed for AVLT to acquire and protect this 47-acre property for an outdoor educational legacy nurtured by the Aspen School District since the late 1960s, and soon to be made available to other schools. 
Next, AVLT will move to purchase the property and prepare a management plan to guide its use by area.  A conservation easement to be held by our partners at Crested Butte Land Trust will ensure perpetual availability of the property for education, and protect its natural resources. Stay tuned for more developments, and thanks to each of you who participated in so many various ways to this effort! 
Congressional Gift to Conservation
In a strong bipartisan vote on December 18, Congress elected – after a decade in the works – to make the enhanced federal conservation easement tax incentive permanent!  This gives a tremendous boost to conservation across the country by increasing the federal tax deduction available to donors of qualified conservation easements retroactive to January 1, 2015.  Under the new law, a conservation easement donor may deduct up to 50% of their income (instead of 30%) and carry-forward the unused amount for 15 years (instead of five). In addition, qualified farmers or ranchers may deduct up to 100% of their income. To learn more, click here.  
In addition, the State of Colorado has ruled that nonprofits may claim valuable (and transferable) state tax credits worth up to $1.5 million for donating conservation easements, regardless of whether they have unrelated business income.  This is good news for the State that extends conservation options to a group of important landowners that have been left out in the cold before now.
AVLT’s campaign to Save Marble Basecamp and our year-end fundraising appeal (to keep the lights on and projects like Marble Basecamp moving forward!) were a whirlwind that kicked off in early November and concluded at year-end. We had calls, emails and letters every day from incredibly generous people who wanted to make a positive statement about the future of our valleys.
Among the calls was one from volunteer and former AVLT board member Cathy Porter. Cathy put her pen to work and helped us write “thank you” notes to hundreds of generous donors. Her care and timely attention were key in communicating to our donors their incredible impact in protecting Marble Basecamp and other beloved open spaces throughout the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys. Thank you, Cathyyour many volunteer hours made a huge difference to AVLT and our family of donors!
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” 
– Dr. Seuss
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