In 1927, a visit to Bob Ostertag's family ranch in Bailey, Colorado was an all-day affair. After church on Sunday, Bob's great-grandparents and their two children would load up the car and make the long drive up the hill from Denver to Park County to visit their property. Dressed in their Sunday best, the family would enjoy a picnic in the meadow next to the rippling sounds of the South Platte River while enjoying the sweeping views of Mt. Bierstadt and the Chicago Peaks.
Fast forward 90 years and four generations, and Bob's family tradition of weekend visits to the 290-acre ranch continues.
As a young boy, Bob recalls spending his weekends learning how to milk a cow, bale hay and mend fences by working alongside his parents and grandparents. He remembers many days spent along the river having stick races and learning how to fish. He vividly recounts his mother's insistence that every structure on the ranch have "red roofs and red trim" and the toil involved in painting all of them.
When Bob had a family of his own, weekend trips to the ranch with his two daughters continued, as did the tradition of "red roofs and red trim," and many humorous family bonding experiences with OSHA approved safety red oil based paint. Bob's girls spent their weekends with family learning about ranching, playing along the river, participating in 4-H and gaining an appreciation for their grandparent's passion for the land.
In 2001 Bob's mother's passed away, but her vision of "keeping the view forever" lives on. In 2013 Bob and his family worked with the Mountain Area Land Trust (MALT) to put a Conservation Easement on the family ranch that honors his mother and her vision and traditions. "The decision to place the land in conservation was an easy one. It was important to us to honor my family's wishes to forever maintain the 'purity of the meadow' and mountain views, and to protect the wildlife habitat of the elk, deer, bear, mountain lions and all of the creatures that live in Mother Nature's neighborhood."
Bob's story is quintessentially Colorado – the story of a family legacy, working ranch and a love of the land passed from generation to generation. Bob and his family are passionate about honoring the stewardship of this land by conserving a mile long stretch of mountain views, meadow and river for generations to come.
In 2016 Bob joined MALT's Board of Directors. "I am a huge supporter of non-profits, and MALT is an example of a great community organization that conserves the beauty and 'wow' factors in our state. As a Conservation Easement landowner, a board member and a MALT donor, I feel like I can give back and help create a legacy of land and water conservation, and honor Mom's tradition."
For 25 years MALT has worked to ensure that our mountain views, pristine rivers and streams, wildlife habitat and historic lands are conserved forever. But we can only do it with the help of those who share our love for Colorado.