Southern Plains Land Trust

A nonprofit organization

$806,309 raised by 734 donors

The Great Plains is one of the least protected areas on the planet. Yet, it holds great promise for rewilding, which is where the Southern Plains Land Trust comes in. We buy land to create wildlife refuges in the Southern Plains. It's that simple. Forever protected, urgently needed. 


"I am an ardent supporter of Southern Plains Land Trust and the work it is doing in southeast Colorado. The Southern Plains Land Trust, in the 21st century, is doing everything they can to restore the American Serengeti. It is really one of the most exciting conservation projects in the West, in our own time."
--Dan Flores, author of "American Serengeti: The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains" and "Coyote America"

"By successfully restoring the iconic wildlife and landscapes of the American Great Plains to southeast Colorado, SPLT has become the Southern Plains anchor for the American Serengeti. We are very proud to be an active partner in this visionary effort."
--Jonathan Proctor, Rockies and Plains Program Director, Defenders of Wildlife

"The Southern Plains Land Trust is one of the most efficient and effective non-profits in our region. For decades, this small group of talented individuals has proven that with strategy and hard work, thousands of acres of grassland habitat and countless animals can be protected for today and our future generations. Get involved today. It's awesome how much this group accomplishes."
--Lindsey Sterling Krank, Program Director, Prairie Dog Conflict Resolution for the Humane Society of the United States


SPLT's mission is to create and protect a network of shortgrass prairie preserves, which ensure a future for all native animals and plants.

Background Statement

The Southern Plains Land Trust (SPLT) was founded in 1998 by individuals who saw that prairie wildlife were constantly threatened by human disturbances and that native habitat was quickly vanishing. As environmental advocates, they wanted to do something that would have a real and lasting impact. Their solution was to pool their resources and buy land for the express purpose of protecting it for the wildlife. Some of the best opportunities to save existing prairie - then and now - are on the Southern Plains.

This first nature preserve purchased was Fresh Tracks: 1,280 acres in Baca County, Colorado. The name acknowledged the welcomed sight of wildlife tracks on the property. It also signified a new path toward land management on the Southern Plains, one where wildlife has intrinsic value. Since 1998, the land trust has continued to gain community support and grow. Fresh Tracks now extends across 2,560 acres of beautiful shortgrass prairie.

In 2013, the land trust experienced an exciting growth spurt with the purchase of Raven's Nest Nature Preserve (2,240 acres). Two years later, Raven's Nest doubled in size and is now 4,800 acres (or 7.5 square miles!). Raven's Nest includes a perennial stretch of Rule Creek, which flows to the Arkansas River, as well as a historic schoolhouse that we've restored, called Penrose School.

In 2015, we also acquired an 11,000-acre property we named Heartland Ranch Nature Preserve, a jewel in our prairie network. Today, Heartland Ranch is about 43,000 acres - that's larger than several countries! Bison have been returned to the land, shaping the ecosystem. Prairie wildlife, such as pronghorn, prairie dogs, burrowing owls, and horned lizards, thrive here. The grasslands and riparian areas are being restored and allowed to heal from past uses.

SPLT is dedicated to continuing our work to gain ground for prairie wildlife. While our land acquisition efforts began in Colorado, we are eager to expand the preserve network across all five states within the Southern Plains (Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas).

Join us in restoring the American Serengeti.

Organization Data


Organization name

Southern Plains Land Trust

other names


Year Established


Tax id (EIN)




Organization Size

Large Organization


P.O. Box 1016
Lamar, CO 81052

Service areas








Social Media