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Contact: Kyle Patterson, Public Affairs Officer
Contact: Park Information Office, (970) 586-1206Yesterday, former Astronaut Vance Brand, his family, Rocky Mountain National Park and Rocky Mountain Conservancy officials celebrated the donation of the Brand’s 40-acre parcel of land to Rocky Mountain National Park.
The family donated the land to the Rocky Mountain Conservancy, the nonprofit partner to Rocky in 2019. In January 2021, Congress authorized the inclusion of this 40-acre parcel of land into the boundary of Rocky Mountain National Park. This bipartisan bill was introduced in 2020, by Senator Michael Bennet, Representative Joe Neguse, and former Senator Cory Gardner. The property is located adjacent to the eastern boundary of the park, and will enable the park to provide additional protection for the park’s high-elevation ecosystem. This parcel is a scenic, natural buffer between private lands and three popular trails: Estes Cone, Storm Pass, and Eugenia Mine Trails.
Vance Brand was born and raised in Longmont and attended college at University of Colorado and UCLA. He went on to become a Marine Corps officer, an aviator, a test pilot, an aeronautical engineer and an astronaut. He served as a command module pilot during the first U.S.-Soviet joint spaceflight in 1975 and as commander of three Space Shuttle missions.
Brand said about the donation, “To me the park is a wonderful place that must be preserved – and where possible expanded. The numerous hiking, camping, and (non-technical) mountain climbing experiences that I had there in my youth led me to purchase land along Rocky Mountain National Park’s eastern boundary in 1967. Over time my family has developed an appreciation of the natural beauty of the land and have encouraged keeping it as it is. I’m thankful that there were early national park enthusiasts like Enos Mills and Teddy Roosevelt who had the foresight to encourage establishment of Rocky Mountain National Park and our entire national park system. The National Park Service does a terrific job of maintaining our national parks. In short, my family and I sincerely hope that this donation to the national park will keep the land in its natural state for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations of Americans.”
Last updated: September 13, 2022