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Colorado: Conservation easement on 15,000-acre Moffat County ranch to protect critical big game winter range

Pronghorn antelope foraging in sagebrush habitat near Gunnison Colorado. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

GOCO, feds and state pitch in on major conservation deal

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A new conservation easement on the 15,000-acre Tuttle Ranch in Moffat County will help protect important wildlife habitat and winter range while allowing ranching operations to continue.

The ranch encompasses sagebrush steppe, foothills grassland and pinyon-juniper woodlands, with habitat for greater sage-grouse and critical winter range for elk, mule deer and pronghorn.

The conservation easement was purchased from the RSH Land Company LLC, with a combination of funds from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and lottery-funded Great Outdoors Colorado. Continue reading

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Colorado: Landscape-level preservation eyed in San Luis Valley to protect wetlands, riparian corridors & wildlife

Federal land managers are working with locals to develop a far-reaching conservation plan for the southern San Luis Valley.

Effort focusing on voluntary conservation easements and collaboration

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is taking some first steps toward a large-scale preservation effort in Colorado’s San Luis Valley that could ultimately protect up to 530,000 acres of wetlands, riparian corridors, and important upland habitats through voluntary conservation easements.

The agency recently held public meetings to get input from landowners and other stakeholders in the region, helping to formulate the framework for a locally-led, voluntary, cooperative partnership that will also help preserve traditional land uses.

“This project represents another opportunity for the Service to partner with the people of the San Luis Valley to protect this important landscape for both wildlife and the people that have worked these lands for generations,” said regional USFWS director said Steve Guertin. Continue reading

Conservation easement protects Snow Mountain Ranch

The YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch includes habitat for rare Colorado animals and a network of popular hiking trails. Click on the image for a larger view.

Preservation deal eliminates development potential, ensures continued operations at popular retreat center in Grand County

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — At a time when youth camps around the country are closing or being sold and nonprofits are facing a challenging fund raising climate, state, federal and local officials came up with a creative solution to ensuring continued operations of the YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch in Grand County.

Using $5 million from the Forest Legacy program, $1 million from the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund and $3.4 million donated land value, the partners retired potential development rights on about 2,800 acres at the Snow Mountain Ranch with a conservation easement that eliminates any potential subdivision and development on the Snow Mountain Ranch’s 2,786-acre backcountry. Continue reading

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