The Summit Foundation names Kim Dufty as Outstanding Board Member

The Summit Foundation has named Kim Dufty, president of the Continental Divide Land Trust, as Outstanding Board Member for the foundation's annual awards. She is pictured on Oct. 31.
Liz Copan /

FRISCO — The Summit Foundation has named Kim Dufty, president of the Continental Divide Land Trust, Outstanding Board Member for the foundation’s annual awards. Dufty joined the land trust in April of 2014 and has been the president for almost as long when she was elected in October of that year.

“But Dave Bittner actually beats me,” Dufty said. “He was a past president and when he went to his first meeting, he was on the agenda to become the next president. My six months was not the shortest.”

Conservation is a passion of Dufty’s. She grew up in Boulder and went to the University of Montana to pursue a degree in natural resource management with an emphasis in forestry. But most importantly, it runs in her blood. Her mother, JoAnn, would take the family on weeklong backpacking trips throughout the West and she joined the Continental Divide Land Trust in 1998. JoAnn served two, three-year terms before becoming a part of the emeritus board.

All the while Kim was her mother’s plus one at the various events, learning the ins and outs of the nonprofit organization’s mission of preserving natural lands and wildlife habitats. When JoAnn passed away in 2013, Kim knew she had to continue her legacy.

“When the opportunity came up to be on the board, I couldn’t say no.”

After college, Kim served two years in the Peace Corps in Papua New Guinea and continued her federal career with both the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management in Colorado, Wyoming, California and Nevada. “That’s my zen,” Dufty said. “My happy place is the outdoors.” Eventually JoAnn’s health started to fail and it was her love for her mother that brought Kim back to Summit County once Kim retired in 2012. “I moved just over the hill and was able to be in her life more.” Dufty said. “Because you never know how much long you have.”

Dufty was previously on the Literary Sojourn Board in Routt County and worked as a consultant for Alma’s Mosquito Range Heritage Initiative, but the Continental Divide Land Trust was her first board presidency and largest undertaking. As the unpaid volunteer president, it was her duty to help the trust’s one employee manage the day-to-day business.

Dufty was nominated for the award by her fellow board members, spearheaded in an effort by Cecile Warner and Mary Jane “MJ” Wurster. Though the board no longer exists, having recently merged with Colorado Open Lands, the award is a capstone that recognizes Dufty’s hard work with the organization and its 25-year history.

Soul of the Summit philanthropy awards

Award winners 
• Outstanding Philanthropist: Howard and Sue Carver
• Outstanding Board Member: Kim Dufty
• Outstanding Business: Omni Real Estate
• Outstanding Citizen: Dr. Walter G. Briney
• Outstanding Educator: Chris Hall
• Outstanding Professional in a Nonprofit: Noelle Sivon
• Outstanding Volunteer: Mary Anne Johnston
• Outstanding Youth: Summit High School Mountain Dreamers
• Outstanding Youth Mentor: Aaron Landau and EVO3
• Community Collaboration: Youth Empowerment Society
• Spirit of the Summit: Mark and Deb Spiers

“It’s pretty overwhelming for that group of people to say I’m the one,” Dufty said.

Colorado Open Lands was founded in 1981 and Dufty believes that the nonprofit has the resources and vision to carry on the land trust’s mission. For instance, the two are working on an easement by Whole Foods Market in partnership with the town of Frisco and the Army Corp of Engineers.

“Open Lands has a specialist that’s dedicated to dealing with permits with the Army Corp of Engineers,” Dufty said. “This is why we signed the paperwork to merge with them. … Open Lands is going to be able to do things in Summit County that Continental Divide Land Trust could have never done. It’s a good thing. Our 25 years of effort is in a good place.”

The land trust will likely go down in history as one of the key partners in the relocation of Colorado Highway 9 by the dangerous Leslie’s Curve and Iron Springs easement.

“That’s our crowning achievement,” Dufty said. “The county got more acres for the easement, the bike path is amazing, the highway is much safer and that’s the partnership we help represent — to help protect forever. Now you get to ride along the lake shore and the wildlife tunnel is the old bike path that goes underneath the highway.”

Having attended the Summit Foundation’s annual award ceremony for roughly 20 years, Dufty is grateful for the group’s recognition.

“The Summit Foundation and this county, out of all the counties I’ve live in in the West, this is the most giving county I have ever lived in. It is true philanthropy. … It’s not just money. It’s action and passion that supports the money.

“The Summit Foundation is amazing in that they give us the opportunity to recognize what makes this community unique and special,” Dufty said. “It’s pretty amazing. It’s an inspiring evening, and that I’m one of the people on the stage is a little overwhelming.”

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