Despite having no access to electricity or running water, the Buffalo Peaks Ranch at the South Park National Heritage Area in Colorado has been home to the Rocky Mountain Land Library (RMLL) since 2012. Enclosed by high mountain peaks that reach above 14,000 feet, this previously abandoned site is gradually coming into shape as the cultural library of the American west.
20 years ago, Jeff Lee and Anne Marie Martin met each other as employees at a Denver bookshop called Tattered Cover. Their shared passion for books led them to visit Gladstone’s, a residential library offering “book and bed” services in Flintshire, North Wales. Following this temporary excursion, they decided to begin their private collection for a potential library of their own.
The RMLL is the answer to their desire for a bookish escape into the wilderness and will house their treasured collection of 32,000 volumes. Ranging from natural science to cultural heritage such as mining practices and cowboy stories, the selection of books will cater to different audience groups. Whether you are a school student, a bookworm or a nature enthusiast, the rocky library will always be able to offer something of interest.
Since the Buffalo Peaks Ranch only became well-known after Lee and Martin’s lease signing in 2012, it remains in a relatively underpopulated region. There is no exaggeration, the view is spectacular no matter day or night. At dawn, streaks of orange and pinks collide only to eventually disappear with the rise of the morning sun. After dusk, darkness descends to show stars hanging over the night sky.
Image Courtesy of Claire Kendall on WordPress.com
Besides reading books with a breathtaking view, visitors can also join in activities such as drawing, gardening and photography along with professionals in workshops over the summer.
Currently, many of the weathered buildings still require some serious repair work before the space can be open to the public. In order to raise sufficient funds for their much-needed renovation, they set a target of $125,000 and urged donors to help them “transform an old cattle ranch in Colorado into a literary home on the range for writers, artists, and nature-lovers.”
This fundraising activity, known as the Kickstarter campaign, ended on April 7, 2017. It was so successful that not only did they raise enough donation in time to schedule a complete renovation for the main buildings, but they also earned additional funds for further improvement and maintenance. Now they will be looking into the placement of an outdoor earth oven, one that will allow groups of warm gatherings over freshly baked bread and pizzas.
Featured image courtesy of The New York Times