Giles Toll (Left) and his brother Henry Toll celebrted their family gift/sale to WLT with a visit to the James Peak Wilderness Area in 2002. The photograph was taken by the Forest Ranger who handled the exchange.
In Colorado, Indian Peaks and James Peak would not be wilderness areas today if not for the largesse of the Toll family and their partnership with The Wilderness Land Trust.
"Wild lands are so precious," says Toll. "It's such beautiful, delicate, wonderful country that desperately needs to be preserved. We need to save these lands for future generations, and we need to do it now or we'll lose the opportunity."
Colorado pioneer Charles H. Toll had amassed land holdings around the state in the late 1800's. When Giles, a dedicated mountaineer, recognized that one of his grandfather's inholdings was adjacent to the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, he acted. "When we would ask him about the future of the land, he would say, 'Well, we've got a lot of incredible scenery, and I'm not sure what else we have.' We all knew it had to be preserved."
In 1994, a year after the Indian Peaks Wilderness acquisition, Giles and Henry approached Jon Mulford on behalf of their family with another inholding. This 1,320 acre parcel in the James Peak area, which would be designated as Wilderness in 2002, stands as one of the largest parcels WLT has ever conveyed in the wilderness system.
"One the Forest Service had gotten the land, that made James Peak possible as a Wilderness. It's really fine what the Wilderness Land Trust does."
To Giles Toll, wilderness conservation had high value, not only for esthetics, but for relationships on the trail. "Mountaineering eliminates all the facades. At the trailhead, everybody's title drops. The mountain environment encourages honest, meaningful conversation in a special way. And then there's the obvious, incredible beauty and the pleasure of being outdoors and active."
The Wilderness Land Trust remembers Giles Toll as a forward-thinking conservationist. We celebrate his life and his contribution to Colorado wilderness, a legacy for all.
James Peak Wilderness
"I tried before to do it myself - to get land directly to the Forest Service - but it took five years. Jon Mulford (at The Wilderness Land Trust) made it very easy to convey."
- Giles Toll
The Wilderness Land Trust
PO Box 1420, Carbondale, CO 81623 phone: 970.963.6068 fax: 970.963.6067