Great Outdoors Colorado Awards San Isabel $382,700 grant to conserve Huerfano County Ranch

San Isabel Land Protection Trust (San Isabel) was recently awarded a $382,700 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO). The money will go toward the purchase of a conservation easement on 2,051 acres of Redwing Ranch in Huerfano County.

 

Redwing Ranch Huerfano County Aerial2

Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Redwing Ranch boasts hay meadows, ponds and wetlands, and piñon-juniper forests, punctuated with striking rock outcroppings. This ecologically diverse ranch offers important wildlife habitat to mule deer, elk, black bear, mountain lion and numerous other species. Over a mile of the Huerfano River runs through the center of the property providing important refuge for a variety of birds, fish, and amphibians, in this water scarce region. Recreationalists and other visitors benefit from the majestic and scenic beauty the ranch offers while on their way to Mount Lindsey or the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Redwing Ranch is privately owned ranch with no public access.

“As a wildlife biologist”, states Christy Wyckoff, owner of Redwing Ranch, “I witness the direct and devastating impact of subdivided ranch lands fragmenting wildlife habitat and populations every day. As a kid who grew up on a ranch, I also know the beauty of a crop ready to harvest, the majesty of wide open spaces, and the depth of our national history with agriculture. By placing a conservation easement on Redwing Ranch I am contributing a piece to the larger quilt of protected lands across the Colorado landscape. I am also entirely confident that generations from now will celebrate the forward thinking and incredible benefits of conserved land including watershed and viewshed protection, intact wildlife habitat and populations, and the maintenance of our agrarian heritage.”

Redwing Ranch Huerfano County

To permanently conserve the property, San Isabel will need to raise an additional $350,000 in matching funds. In order to do this, they will apply for a grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service Agricultural Lands Easement Program. The conservation easement will ensure that Redwing Ranch will remain forever intact as a productive agricultural property, with its numerous historic water rights tied to the land.

“San Isabel has been a wonderful, local partner, Wyckoff shares, “expertly helping me navigate the process of protecting the ranch with a conservation easement. I look forward to a long partnership with San Isabel as we steward and improve the lands that we love.” 

Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers and open spaces. GOCO’s independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts, and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created when voters approved a Constitutional Amendment in 1992, GOCO has since funded more than 4,500 projects in urban and rural areas in all 64 counties without any tax dollar support. For more information, visit goco.org.

San Isabel Land Protection Trust is a nationally accredited 501(c)3 non-profit, non-political conservation organization working with landowners to protect their land and water in Custer, Fremont, Pueblo, and Huerfano Counties. Since 1995, San Isabel has protected 4,838 acres with 15 conservation easements in Huerfano County and nearly 40,000 acres total throughout their service area, including 174 water rights, and approximately 61 miles of stream frontage with 129 conservation easements that permanently protect precious land, water, and wildlife. To join San Isabel or to learn more, please visit: www.sanisabel.org

Kristie Nackord

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