OLT was founded by Neil and Terry Seitz in 2001, building upon the legacy of the Everson Ranch, Valley View Hot Springs, and the Orient Mine. Its founders, owners of Valley View Hot Springs for thirty-five years, knew that the resources of the northern San Luis Valley and specifically the environs surrounding Valley View were simply too valuable to be owned by any person. They needed to be put into trust for everyone, for all time. In 2009 and 2010, the Seitz' donated Valley View Hot Springs and the Orient Mine to OLT. Thus, they created the foundation for the protection of vast, uninterrupted landscapes against ever-increasing usage and development pressure, while preserving the natural, agricultural and historic values of the lands. With their guidance and member support, OLT increased this open space to thousands of protected acres.
Today, OLT's resources include:
- Open space shared among wildlife, agricultural livestock, and over 11,000 visitors annually
- Thousands of acres of protected lands with conservation easements held by The Nature Conservancy and Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife
- Free flowing natural spring water for soaking, drinking, heating, electricity generation, endangered fish habitat, and natural irrigation for OLT's Everson Ranch
- The Everson Ranch Education and Agriculture Center, a historic ranch homestead being transformed into a community center that models sustainable agriculture, conservation of natural resources, promotion of responsible alternative energy, wildlife habitat, historic preservation, open space, and is dedicated to education of all.
- Valley View Hot Springs, a beautiful, natural, historic hot springs village that provides a safe and natural place for people to discover nature and active conservation of natural resources, showcasing a thirty-five year history of low-impact, off-grid hydroelectric generation system (today produces 40 ~ 65kW), geothermal heating and cooling
- Historic Orient Mine and ghost towns showcased by a Colorado Historic Society self guided tour
- Over 250,000 Mexican Free-tailed bats, Colorado's largest migratory colony
- A strong community of dedicated members, with little more in common than the nature of being human
- Over 1500 annual members, donating an average of nearly $100 each and totaling approximately $150,000 per year
- A vibrant, creative and dedicated volunteer program
- Late 18th- and 19th-century historic structures with fascinating stories and heritage
- Flourishing partnerships with local stakeholders including governmental agencies such as Bureau of Land Management, U.S. and Colorado Forest Services, Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Saguache County Commission, local schools; regional higher education institutions including Colorado School of Mines, Regis University, Colorado College, Adams State University, Western State College, Colorado Mountain College; local ranchers and farmers; local businesses; local Valley View Hot Springs enthusiasts
OLT's community is non-exclusive and open to all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life. All that is expected of visitors is their commitment to our values of Recognition, Respect, and Responsibility. Membership is not required to visit. Coupled with an active volunteer program, costs are kept to a sustainable minimum, ensuring diverse access and inspiring tremendous charitable support.