Leslie Kelly Thomas February 20, 1962 - June 15, 2020
It is with heavy hearts, we announce the loss of our dear friend and Board Member, Leslie Thomas, who passed away peacefully in Denver of rheumatoid arthritis complications.
Leslie was an invaluable RFVHC Board Member and will be sorely missed. She served with great distinction as our Special Projects Chairman of the Horse Council. Leslie used her writing talents, persuasive skills and perseverance to successfully negotiate agreements with government land managers to protect, restore and develop trails for horseback riders.
She passionately pursued grants and membership donations that made Horse Council’s projects possible. Her successes were many and included achieving official horse and hiker trail designations on local properties for horsemen to enjoy safely, most recently the Glassier, Sutey Ranch and the Crown Jewel Horse Trail.
She also encouraged coordination and promotion of trail safety education for the general public with radio ads heard throughout the valley about etiquette on the multi-user trails that are so popular in our valley
Leslie developed numerous relationships with our partners, Pitkin County Open Space and Trail (OST), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Wilderness Workshop (WW) Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers (RFOV), Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association (RFMBA), the US Forest Service (USFS) and the Eagle County Mid-Valley Trails Plan. She became true friends with these important land managers and participants and those relationships became a foundation for the success our Horse Council has achieved in the last few years.
Of top importance was Leslie’s drive to keep our organization moving forward and remaining true to our mission. We sincerely thank and honor her for her service.
A personal retrospective from Karin Reid Offield RFVHC President
She was so Proud
Leslie was so proud of the work that went into the Glassier Horse Trails and Parking Lot.
Leslie was grateful of the progress being made for riding on the John Denver / Wind Star Horse and Hiker Trail.
Leslie knew that the Crown Jewel Horse Trail was a program that would last for years, and that it would become an effort by the RFVHC supported by our government partners financially and by our membership. Each time we ride the Crown, we can tip our hats to thank Leslie for her hard work.
Leslie was a researcher, a hunter and gatherer of facts and reasons. At the beginning of each project, she always had a gut feeling of how and what could be said in a letter or at a meeting to bring about a result that would benefit the Roaring Fork Valley equestrians.
Leslie reached out and brought so many of our members into the RFVHC. One by one, mother, sons and family members she welcomed into the membership whether by a dollar or a five dollar bill or a twenty. The amount didn’t matter to Leslie – she wanted everyone involved.
Leslie fought for Cozy Point Ranch and the importance of making the upgrades the local community stable deserved. She created a 'Survey Monkey' for Cozy Point users that the RFVHC used to show the City of Aspen how valuable that equestrian center is in the Upper Roaring Fork Valley and to our local citizenry.
Leslie was a true partner in our RFVHC team. Her viewpoints could be changed, yet she stayed true to the vision that all of the residents in our valley – equestrians and otherwise could be well served, if all the partnering teams deal with each other fairly and with regularity. Communication, camaraderie, good humor and straight talk was Leslie all the way.
Written by Leslie.....
" I always have had a passion for horses and the wild undeveloped outdoors. Growing up overseas in Panama, I started riding jumpers, eventing, dressage and exploring trails in the jungle. My education is in biology, from Emory University and University of Georgia.
I came to Aspen to ski, and was hired as a wrangler for Moon Run Outfitters. Captivated by the rugged landscape, and independent, adventurous, friendly people I felt at home. Living in the Roaring Fork Valley for 30 years and raising a son here has been an ongoing adventure. Managing ranches, land stewardship, and horses has provided a life of education and interesting living, I am grateful for.
I am a volunteer and have served on the board for the children's organization, Roaring Fork Hounds Pony Club. Serving on the Roaring Fork Valley Horse Council board, allows me to give back to my community in an area I am passionate about."