In January 2004, the Wyoming Rural Development Council, with the City of Sheridan, conducted a Sheridan Community Assessment. Approximately 850 citizens were interviewed and over 200 written comments were received. Citizens were asked to identify Sheridan’s major problems and challenges, Sheridan’s strengths and assets and what projects they would like to see completed in 5, 10 and 20 years.
Sheridan Mayor Dave Kinskey and County Commissioner Terry Cram believed that the results of the Community Assessment should be put into action. To test the public waters, Mayor Kinskey and Commissioner Cram met with a number of organizations to present the possibility of a land trust, identifying how it might operate and what could be accomplished. Certainly there were many questions, but in the end, nine community organizations submitted letters of support for the concept.
Since its creation, SCLT has benefitted from strong leadership from its Board of Directors. In 2006 SCLT hired Dave Paullin as the part-time interim Executive Director. Dave brought 30 years of U.S. Fish and Wildlife experience to the position, as well as a vast knowledge about conservation easements. Under Dave’s guidance, the Board of Directors forged ahead on a number of potential projects, 2 of which resulted in easements being donated to SCLT. Volunteers of America was the first to donate a conservation easement, which is now held by SCLT on a portion of their WYSTAR property bordering Little Goose Creek. The next milestone was achieved with Sheridan Heritage Inc., which resulted in Wyoming’s very first Historic Preservation Easement, held by SCLT on the Sheridan Inn.
SCLT continues to work with several property owners for easement donation/purchase and is always investigating new opportunities to acquire additional easements that support SCLT’s multiple community goals. With the recent hiring of a full-time Director, SCLT is now in a position to capitalize on many conservation-related projects. The history of SCLT is really just beginning!