Hank Alderfer is well known for his love of the history of our mountain area and its residents, and his lifelong devotion to volunteer activities, for which he has received numerous awards and recognition.
In any talk with Hank about his life in Evergreen, his parents, Arleta and EJ will come up. Hank's knowledge of the history of the mountain area, which he artfully shares with us all in his “Yesteryear” column in the Canyon Courier, comes naturally from Arleta who was the Evergreen High School Librarian and from EJ who ranched the area. They moved to Floyd Hill in 1936 near the Beaver Brook Watershed, and later to the Alderfer Ranch on Buffalo Park Road where Hank was raised.
Through leasing of property, the Alderfer family controlled up to 1,000 acres of land at the height of ranching activities. They operated the Alderfer Ranch until 1988 when they sold much of their property to Jefferson County Open Space, donating a portion. That, along with additional land purchased by JCOS, would become the 242-acre Alderfer/Three Sisters Open Space Park.
Throughout his childhood at the ranch Hank rode horses all over the mountain area and became intimate with the land. As a result he contributed critical information to Jefferson County Planning and Zoning in the creation of the Evergreen Area Community Plan (The Plan), which provides a comprehensive guide in the residential and commercial growth of Evergreen. Hank is responsible for the identification of the elk calving areas in The Plan, among many other contributions. Hank knows trails: wildlife trails, social trails, trail connections and where trails should go.
His vast knowledge of Evergreen contributed to the formation of the Evergreen Trails Plan, developed while he was on the Evergreen Park and Recreation (EPRD) Board where he served for 16 years.
Dan Lincoln, who served on the Board with Hank, said that it always seemed that Hank was the President of the Board when he was there. He added that it’s always intriguing to work with Hank, who tells great stories and frequently digresses. Hank hated disagreement and worked terribly hard to reach consensus on the EPRD board. As president he felt he didn’t need to vote unless the Board was split 2-2, which happened infrequently because of his efforts at building agreement.
Hank’s gentle manner and agreeable nature helped, along with his knowledge of the Evergreen area, to contribute to his strong relationships with mountain area ranchers. These relationships provided the basis for many of the land conservation successes of the Mountain Area Land Trust (MALT), of which Hank was a founding member and Board member from 1992 until 2010.
Mel Andrew, also a longtime board member of MALT, calls Hank the “latch-string” for MALT. (Many ranch houses had solid gates which could not be opened from the outside unless the owner put out the latch-string to a welcomed guest.) Through Hank’s credibility and connections with landowners, MALT’s land specialists are welcomed at many area ranches identified by Hank and thousands of acres are protected forever.
Hank has preserved Evergreen’s past through sharing his knowledge of the Evergreen area. He has restored historic homes in his construction business and shared with homeowners the stories that accompany their properties.
He has volunteered years of time to land conservation in the Evergreen area. Perhaps the criteria for the 2010 Leader of the Year Award best sum up Hank’s contributions. The award was given to him as “someone who has demonstrated creative and innovative solutions to community issues in the mountain area.”
The list of Hank’s accolades and volunteer activities is long. Among them are:
- Spokesperson for the Colorado Timber Association in the 1980’s
- Evergreen Volunteer of the Year Award - 1990 Mountain Area Land Trust Stewardship Award - 2002
- Board Member of the Jefferson County Historical Society during its formation and for the first 8 years
- Jefferson County Historical Commissions Hall of Fame - 2007
- Gene Sternberg Community Vision Award in 2006
- Board Member and President of Evergreen Park and Recreation District 1986-2002
- Board Member and President of the Bear Creek Cemetery 1970-present
- Board Member of Mountain Area Land Trust 1992-2010
- Evergreen Leader of the Year for 2010
Hank is married to Barbie Alderfer.
See also: Community Pays Tribute to Hank Alderfer, Nov. 30, 2016