Jon and Sharon Mulford

Who We Are: Small, Feisty, Persistent, Risk-taking and Effective


When Jon Mulford was an attorney in Aspen he negotiated several small land swaps with the Forest Service. He discovered that inholdings were creating problems in wilderness areas, which led him to founding of the Wilderness Land Trust in 1992.

Jon and Sharon Mulford WLT’s first acquisition was a 160-acre inholding within the  Indian Peaks Wilderness. Jon borrowed money and bought the parcel on faith. “Soon we had resold the parcel to the Forest Service and had the first significant money in the bank. It all started in Colorado.”

WLT soon instituted a priority system to rank inholdings and Jon was joined by his wife, Sharon, who applied her expertise in administration and finance.

“I learned that private lands in wilderness, nationwide, totaled several hundred thousand acres. I thought it would take only a few years to resolve the inholding issue, but soon realized that I had underestimated the problem.”

Mulford also set a tone for a small, feisty, persistent, risk-taking approach on the focused niche of turning private inholdings into wilderness. The result has been a highly effective track record for filling a critical conservation role that no one else seemed willing or able to do.

Twenty five years later, WLT has grown into one of the most respected and successful tools for conservation in the West, protecting and preserving valuable pieces of some of the most rare and iconic of our national landscapes.





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