As a sign that she's here in Sheridan to stay for a while, Claire Hobbs recently acquired a German shepherd puppy.
“I've wanted a dog for years,” she said in an interview this past week at the Sheridan Community Land Trust offices on Main Street. “But I wanted to be someplace permanent before I got one.”
Hobbs figures she's found that “someplace permanent” in her new role as communications and development associate for the SCLT, where her job will be to assist the nonprofit organization with events, fundraising and raising public awareness of what the SCLT does.
She talked about the SCLT's mission and how she hopes to assist with its goals.
Hobbs said her current project is working on the Biketober Fest, a run/walk/mountain bike event set for Oct. 12. She says that's going to be a really big event, with proceeds benefiting the land trust. She'll also be heading to New Orleans next week for the Land Trust Alliance Rally 2013, scheduled Sept. 16-19.
Hobbs worked for the Southern Appalachian Highland Conservancy, a land trust in North Carolina, before majoring in English and geology at Appalachian State University. She describes herself an an avid hiker and backpacker, and said her move to Sheridan has been an easy transition because, she added, “I've always lived in mountains.”
After the Appalachian Highland Conservancy, she said, she worked in 2001 for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, which covers a territory 85 miles long, from Georgia to Maine. At that time, she said, she lived in West Virginia, about 60 miles from Washington, D.C.
Hobbs said a boyfriend in Buffalo is at least partly responsible for bringing her here. She explained, “I came to visit (him) for a month last summer, and I fell in love with this area.”
Her duties with the Land Trust will include marketing via email and Facebook. Among her goals is “to get more people excited about our work.”
The community land trust was organized in 2005, the result of a 2004 Sheridan Community Assessment – a joint venture of the Wyoming Rural Development Council and the city of Sheridan.
After 850 Sheridan County residents were interviewed, and more than 200 written comments were received, Sheridan Mayor Dave Kinskey and County Commissioner Terry Cram met with several organizations to discuss the possibility of a land trust. Nine community organizations submitted letters of support for the concept.
Volunteers of America donated the first conservation easement – a portion of VOA's WYSTAR property bordering Little Goose Creek – to the SCLT. The next milestone was achieved when SCLT, working with Sheridan Heritage Inc., obtained Wyoming's first Historic Preservation Easement on the Sheridan Inn.
The SCLT is Wyoming's third local land trust. Land trusts were earlier formed in Jackson and Pinedale.