Two Weeks to Go and 51% Funded!

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Dawn breaks the darkness at Buffalo Peaks Ranch. photo by Sarah McLaughlin

We saw a sizable boost in Kickstarter pledges last week and we’re extremely thankful for the press coverage we continue to receive. Special thanks to all of you who have shared our project with your friends and contacts.  Everyone’s support and enthusiasm has energized our team and we’re excited for what is in store over the next 14 days.

Another big THANK YOU to everyone who tuned in and viewed our Kickstarter Live stream last Tuesday night. We hope to thank and converse with ALL of our backers at some point, ideally around a table in the Cook’s House, and at the workshops and events coming up this summer!

We have a mini-goal for the next few days. Join us to spread the word and get our campaign over 600 backers by next Tuesday

Kickstarter is an ALL-OR-NOTHING effort, and with the incredible support we’ve received thus far, we know we can make it! Who would you want to know about this project? Message our project link below to anyone else you know and follow up with those who you may have already shared our project with.

Project Link:

Inspiration can be born in an instant when we’re all working together!

In closing, we’d like to share a favorite book passage from Rocky Mountain Land Library Director and Co-founder Jeff Lee. The passage is taken from The Bottom of the Harbor by late legendary author, Joseph Mitchell.

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Mitchell, who died in 1996, was the great wandering and listening soul of New York City. True, you won’t find any of his titles at local Nature Centers, but his sketches of the urban scene shows us a writer immersed in his home landscape. From Fulton Fish Market to McSorley’s Saloon, Joseph Mitchell observed his given plot of land keenly and compassionately, like the ideal naturalist that he was. Back in 1992, his work, long out of print, was resurrected in a wonderful anthology, Up in the Old Hotel.

The following passage, The Rivermen, from Joseph Mitchell’s The Bottom of the Harbor touches on one’s relationship to the river and the city he inhabits. Cities around the world were founded on the banks of rivers and streams allowing humans to naturally network with one another along and with the river itself. This unstoppable, steady, yet often gentle flow can sculpt any landscape and has certainly shaped our thinking at the Land Library. The South Platte River has inspired the Headwaters to Plains network settling Land Library sites at Buffalo Peaks Ranch, Waterton Canyon, and in inner-city Denver.

Rivers and books each share the power to bring people together.

“I often feel drawn to the Hudson River, and I have spent a lot of time through the years poking around the part of it that flows past the city. I never get tired of looking at it; it hypnotizes me. I like to look at it in midsummer, when it is warm and dirty and drowsy, and I like to look at it in January, when it is carrying ice. I like to look at it when it is stirred up, when a northeast wind is blowing and a strong tide is running — a new-moon tide or a full-moon tide — and I like to look at it when it is slack. It is exciting to me on weekdays, when it is crowded with ocean craft, harbor craft, and river craft, but it is the river itself that draws me, and not the shipping, and I guess I like it best on Sundays, when there are lulls as long as a half an hour, during which, all the way from the Battery to the George Washington Bridge, nothing moves upon it, not even a ferry, not even a tug, and it becomes as hushed and dark and secret and remote and unreal as a river in a dream.”

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The South Platte River slowly ripples by, with Buffalo Peaks Ranch in the distance.

From the Hudson River to the South Platte, please SUPPORT all things global and local at the Rocky Mountain Land Library! 


Help bring books, people & programs to Colorado’s Buffalo Peaks Ranch. With your support we will transform a historic high mountain ranch into a residential library devoted to land, community, and the many positive ways we can all move forward together.

But first, CLICK HERE and you’ll find out much more. Learn how you can be an important part of this land-inspired, book-loving grassroots project!



“The egg of a sea bird, lovely, perfect, and laid this very morning.”


Over the next few days we’ll be highlighting the global reach of the Rocky Mountain Land Library’s more than 35,000 volumes dedicated to people and the land. Here is today’s timely post!

The Land Library’s celtic roots run deep. For the past 30+ years, we have built a strong collection of books on the natural histories of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales — with a special emphasis on the Hebrides and Ireland’s western coast. As Saint Patrick’s Day draws near, we reached for one of our favorites: Atlas of the Irish Rural Landscape edited by F.H.A. Aalen, Kevin Whelan, and Matthew Stout.
This handsome atlas explores the rural landscape as a defining element of Ireland’s national heritage. Far more than a collection of maps, this book is thickly illustrated with photos, drawings, diagrams, and charts. An excellent text presents a narrative where layer upon layer of natural & cultural histories intertwine. Detailed descriptions are given of building styles, field and settlement patterns, archaeological monuments, villages, woodlands and bogs. Abundant maps open your eyes to Ireland’s glacial past, along with its rich heritage of stone circles, ring forts, sacred wells, Cistercian monasteries, and much more.

Also pictured above, from the Land Library’s shelves: The Natural History of Ulster by John Faulkner and Robert Thompson — the first comprehensive study of the natural history of Ulster Province in the north of Ireland.

Here’s just a brief sampler of other Irish books and authors that have found a home at the Land Library.


Off the southwest coast of Ireland, The Blasket Islands has produced a remarkable set of lyrical memoirs. They are books coming straight from native voices, and not part of a literary movement. Our favorite might just be Maurice O’Sullivan’s Twenty Years A-Growing, translated into English in 1933. E.M.Forster wrote the introduction to that edition, and to this day, his praise for O’Sullivan’s book seems pitch perfect: “…here is the egg of a sea-bird — lovely, perfect, and laid this very morning.

Also pictured above: Ireland: A Smithsonian Natural History by Irish naturalist Michael Viney — a well done and very comprehensive guide.

The Land Library has many books on Ireland’s flora and fauna, plus a special shelf devoted to the works of writer and cartographer Tim Robinson:


Tim Robinson has won two Irish Book Awards for his Connemara trilogy. Writing about Robinson’s two volume study of the Aran Islands, Michael Viney describes it as “one of the most original, revelatory and exhilarating works of literature ever produced in Ireland.


The English writer Robert Macfarlane has had a huge influence on the Land Library’s team. We’re also not aware of anyone else who catagorizes authors by rock type. Here is Macfarlane on Tim Robinson (pictured above):

Limestone has been blessed with two exceptional 20th century writers. The first of these is WH Auden, who so loved the high karst shires of the northern Pennines….The second of the great limestone writers is Tim Robinson. On the west coast of Ireland, in County Clare, between the granite of Galway and the sandstone of Liscannor, rises a vast limestone escarpment, pewterish in colour on a dull day, silver in sunshine….So begins one of the most sustained, intensive and imaginative studies of a landscape that has ever been carried off.

So here’s a question: Won’t there be people in the Rockies who will want to read the works of Tim  Robinson of the Aran Islands?

YES, we definitely think so.

Please SUPPORT all things global and local at the Rocky Mountain Land Library! 


The Rocky Mountain Land Library’s long-awaited Kickstarter Campaign is LIVE! Help bring books, people & programs to Colorado’s Buffalo Peaks Ranch. With your support we will transform a historic high mountain ranch into a residential library devoted to land, community, and the many positive ways we can all move forward together.

But first, CLICK HERE and you’ll find out much more. Learn how you can be an important part of this land-inspired, book-loving grassroots project!



Collateral Damage Along Ancestral Routes


“This is a book about the US-Mexico border wall and immigration policy, but more importantly it is about the land, wildlife, and people that have found themselves at the front lines of a turning point in North American history…” — from Continental Divide: Wildlife, People, and the Border Wall

We first wrote about this book back in 2012. It’s still the only book we know of that tackles the ecological implications of the single most dramatic part of the United States’ immigration policy — the ongoing construction of a wall along our border with Mexico. Krista Schlyer’s Continental Divide: Wildlife, People, and the Border Wall makes it clear what’s at stake in the borderlands. This region contains a number of rare ecosystems, some of the last undeveloped prairies on the continent, along with habitat and migration corridors for some of North America’s most imperiled species.

So what happens when you build a wall?

Mule deer and the border wall, Arizona

“A barrier like a mountain can create a desert. But what is the impact of the sudden arrival of a great wall within a desert that is experiencing rapid warming and prolonged draught conditions?” — Krista Schlyer

For more on this one-of-a-kind book, here’s a short film clip:

With Continental Divide, Krista Schlyer, wielding pen and camera with equal grace, takes her place as one of the staunchest advocates of the battered, contested, and sublimely beautiful territory we know as the US-Mexico borderlands.” — William deBuys

Green jays in the Audubon Sabal Palm Preserve, Brownsville, Texas.

“The wall now covers only about one-third the length of the border, undercutting the ecological integrity of the borderlands, but not fully severing it. What becomes of the natural communities of the borderlands depends on what happens next.” —Krista Schlyer

We’ll be writing much more about the global reach of the Land Library’s books in the days ahead. To learn much more about the Rocky Mountain Land Library and our wide-ranging collection, be sure to visit our current Kickstarter page!


The Rocky Mountain Land Library’s long-awaited Kickstarter Campaign is LIVE! Help bring books, people & programs to Colorado’s Buffalo Peaks Ranch. With your support we will transform a historic high mountain ranch into a residential library devoted to land, community, and the many positive ways we can all move forward together.

But first, CLICK HERE and you’ll find out much more. Learn how you can be an important part of this land-inspired, book-loving grassroots project!



A Kickstarter Campaign that will Bring Books and People to a High Mountain Ranch


It was just two summers ago when Buffalo Peaks Ranch’s bunkhouse (to the left) and the Cooks House (to the right) were in dire need of repair. Both had been untouched for more than 30 years.

Cook House

Our first summer of volunteer work focused on two very leaky roofs.

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Here are HistoriCorps volunteers laying down the last few shingles on the Cooks House.


By summer’s end both buildings had new roofs, just in time for another fierce South Park winter.


Last year we were back to rehabilitate all the windows, and give many fresh coats of paint to some very thirsty boards.

We’re very excited to report that we’ll be launching a Kickstarter Campaign on February 21st to complete the Cooks House. We’ll be working on the interior:


As you can see the interior is in good shape, but we need to bring water back to the Cooks House, along with installing the greenest energy system possible.

In the end, we will have two new lodgings for guests, a warm & wonderful kitchen, a large classroom space, and here’s something exciting, the ranch’s first library!


Someday soon this space will house a dedicated collection of Land Library books (perhaps the Native American Library). But for now, later this summer we’ll be shelving an assortment of great books that suggests the RMLL’s broad range of titles focused on people and the land. Books such as these:


photo by Michael Ciaglo

Stay tuned for much more on our Cooks House Kickstarter campaign, launching on February 21st!

To See the World Anew

“Why do so many of us have bookshelves bending under the weight of yellow-spined copies of the magazine? It’s simple: we cannot bring ourselves to throw away such beautiful things. We know what has gone into their creation.” — Nigel Holmes, National Geographic Infographics.


Here’s the latest addition to the Rocky Mountain Land Library’s always growing collection:  National Geographic Infographics, just published by Taschen.  This beautifully done oversize volume captures the top charts, diagrams, and maps from the National Geographic‘s past 128 years.


What a timeless resource for artists, scientists, naturalists, and lifelong learners of all ages!

8bb9ddebc3fffce8f05fe3d2e32313e2This hefty tome is divided into seven sections: History, The Planet, Being Human, Animal Worlds, World of Plants, Science & Technology, and Space.

And there are many eye-opening surprises along the way:


The recent work of National Geographic artists are well represented, but some of our favorite images come from the oldest, dustiest of the yellow-spined treasures:


From natural history to the daring “futuristic” Mercury space capsule design:


National Geographic has long helped us all see the world anew:


Stay tuned for more Land Library new arrivals in 2017!

See you on Thursday Night!


The Puritan Pie Factory in autumn, a wonderful photo taken just this past weekend by super volunteer Wendy Campbell. Thanks to Wendy for taking a break from the hard & gritty work, to capture the Pie Factory in transition!

Come join us this Thursday night as we celebrate the Rocky Mountain Land Library’s new inner-city Denver location, the last piece of the Headwaters to Plains Network that includes South Park’s Buffalo Peaks Ranch, and our Waterton Canyon Library. For the past many weeks, volunteers have been cleaning, and clearing space in Denver’s Puritan Pie Factory for the first few Land Library books to arrive:


The Pie Factory’s major themes will be nature in the city, urban homestead topics, and kids and nature — with plenty of books on the natural and cultural heritage of the American West.


Eventually we’ll erect over 125 bookcases donated to the Land Library by the Tattered Cover Book Store. But on Thursday night you’ll see us display books using whatever is on hand at the Pie Factory:


Water will always be a big theme at all the Land Libraries along the Headwaters to Plains Network. Here’s a few that have found a temporary home in a claw-foot bathtub.


So many great books — it’s hard to pick just one to feature!

Click here for more information on this Thursday’s Pie Factory Pop-up, plus how you can get a ticket ahead of time, or at the door! 


There will be food, drink, music, and of course, lots of books and lots of pie.

Thanks again to Wendy Campbell for her wonderful photos, and to all our amazing event sponsors:  Aurora Water, Billy’s Inn, Chelsea Green Publishing, Davis Graham & Stubbs, Denver Water, Hopwares, and North County restaurant.

The Story of the Land, from Headwaters to Plains


You can sense the change of season at Buffalo Peaks Ranch. But just as the summer winds down at the Land Library’s headwaters site, we have exciting news to report back here in Denver. The Rocky Mountain Land Library will soon be opening it’s third place-based learning center at Denver’s old Puritan Pie Factory, located in the historic Curtis Park neighborhood. This urban branch is designed to help connect people to nature — not the distant natural history of our nearest National Parks, but the nearby nature of the neighborhoods where we all live.


The Puritan Pie Factory at 26th & Champa.

We have two city-inspired collections that we are anxious to share, namely a Kids Nature Library (with thousands of books on bugs, birds, bats, and more), along with (what we’re calling) an Urban Homestead Library, featuring books on nature in the city, with many volumes on green-living, including hundreds of titles on edible landscaping, urban farming, beekeeping, raising chickens, and much, much more.

With thousands of books as an inspiring resource, the Purtian Pie Factory will be home to workshops and classes, nature clubs and activities for kids, neighborhood gatherings, plus artist & craft studios. If the community has a creative need, we would love for the Pie Factory to help fill it.

For instance:


Some of our favorite books are on seeds (really!). Along with seed books, we’ll be setting up a Free Seed Library, much like this wonderful photo from the Manitou, Colorado Seed Library.



How about a Teaching Kitchen for both kids & adults? Over the years we have noticed that the intersection of food & land is a perfect place to feel those connections we all have to nature and the land! (This fun photo is from the Organic Teaching Kitchen in New York).

Thanks to the visionary owners of the Puritan Pie Factory, so much is possible! Over the next few weeks & months we’ll all be learning more about the Pie Factory and the Curtis Park neighborhood. Who knows what new ideas and programs will emerge as we explore this amazing opportunity together!

Many of us are especially excited that the Pie Factory is already part of Denver’s Beat Tour. Just next door to the factory is the site of Neal Cassady’s boyhood home.


We’re already stacking up our Beat books, everything from Jack Kerouac’s On the Road to Gary Snyder’s Riprap Poems!


Let there be Pie! From Headwaters to Plains, from South Park to Curtis Park: