$50,000 Grant Awarded to San Isabel by GOCO

The Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board awarded a $50,000 grant to San Isabel Land Protection Trust on Monday to conserve Huckleberry Hills Ranch in western Pueblo County.

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The grant is from GOCO’s new conservation easement transaction costs grant program, which provided over $200,000 to help landowners place conservation easements on their land. A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement with landowners that permanently conserves their property, removing the threat of future development.

Huckleberry Hills is a 500-acre property in Pueblo County adjacent to the San Isabel National Forest. The ranch contains 1.5 miles of the South Muddy and Huckleberry Creeks, and its iconic barn has appeared on the cover of the Rye phonebook for many years.

Protection of this ranch will provide habitat for endangered and threatened wildlife, continue local, sustainable agriculture, protect the water supply for people and wildlife, and preserve scenic views along Highway 165.

The project adds to the 200,000-acre stretch of undisturbed forest across the Wet Mountains and marks the completion of a decade-long vision of the land trust and landowner.

While many conservation projects are completed in Colorado without GOCO’s assistance, closing costs associated with placing a conservation easement on a property can be a barrier for landowners wishing to conserve their property. To be eligible for the program, landowners were required to donate the entire value of the conservation easement for the project.

Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway, which runs as Highway 165 for a mile along the ranch, also provided funding for the project

For the last 21 years, San Isabel Land Protection Trust has helped to protect over 40,000 acres of important working ranches, agricultural and forest lands, water resources, wildlife habitat, and scenic open spaces throughout southern Colorado. San Isabel is a nationally accredited 501(c)3 non‐profit, non‐political conservation organization working with landowners to protect land, water, and wildlife while there is still time.

Janet Smith

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