Keeper of the Keys

2020 Keeper of the Keys Call for Nominations

What does it mean to be a Keeper of the Keys? Did you know that the reference to Keeper of the Keys can be traced to the word Concierge? The word Concierge is French and literally means “Keeper of the Keys.” During the middle ages, concierges were prominent in castles as they kept the keys to the castle rooms and ensured that visiting nobility had everything they needed during their stay in the castle (1).

A Keeper is defined as a protector, gamekeeper, warden, or custodian, and Keeper of the Keys has ancient references to having the authority to unlock sacred knowledge. Finally, for all you Harry Potter fans, the Keeper of the Keys at Hogwarts was none other than Rubeus Hagrid.

In the Black Forest, the tradition of the Keeper of the Keys began in 1960. The “Keeper of the Keys of the Forest was started to honor early members of the community for their service to Black Forest” (2). This tradition continues with the annual selection of a Black Forest resident that is active in promoting and preserving the seven keys that make the Black Forest special. The ‘Keys’ represent the things we hold most dear to our life in the Black Forest:

Wayne Rusk, the first Black Forest Keeper of the Keys
    • Storms and Blue Skies
    • The Changing Beauty of the Trees and Meadows
    • The Storehouse of Wildflowers
    • Birdsongs and Music of the Waters
    • Squirrel Nests and Small Animal Homes
    • Deer Trails and Antelope Playgrounds
    • The Spirit of Neighborliness

It is now time to begin the process of selecting the next Keeper of the Keys for the Black Forest. Candidates must have been a resident of the Black Forest for at least ten years, and they must have demonstrated leadership and service in activities that enhance the quality of life in the Black Forest. (This could be environmental, lifestyle, educational, or community enrichment.) Persons nominated will be honored during the Keepers Potluck Dinner which is tentatively scheduled for August 9, 2020. The person elected as the next Keeper of the Keys will be recognized during the Black Forest Festival Parade, currently scheduled for August 15.

To nominate a potential Keeper of the Keys, please submit, in writing, who you wish to nominate, along with the reasons for your nomination, and any other items of interest. The letter must be signed and should include your phone number, in case of a question. Please send nominations to the Black Forest Community Club, PO Box 88034, Black Forest, CO 80908, attn: Keeper Committee. Nominations can also be submitted via email to All nominations must be received by June 25, 2020.

Past Keepers and anyone interested in helping with the Keeper of the Keys annual recognition, please contact Tiffany Coles at

(1) Sourced from
(2) Information provided by Gwen Burke who compiled a history of all the Keepers