The Central Colorado Conservancy announced its newest and largest conservation project in the history of the organization – Forever Chaffee – in a press release this week.
This monumental effort to connect and protect rural lands in the heart of Chaffee County is a collection of three easements nestled between the Arkansas River and Collegiate Peaks Byway (U.S. 285) from Buena Vista to Salida.
“Forever Chaffee will connect and protect lands that are critical to preserving our rural way of life, supporting working lands and families, and conserving the vast ecological resources of Chaffee County’s private lands,” said new executive director Adam Beh. “This collaborative project is one of the many exciting things that drew me to accepting my new role in leading the Conservancy.”
The project will protect nearly 2,000 acres on the Centerville, Tri-Lazy W and Arrowpoint Cattle Co. ranches in rural Chaffee County.
Each parcel supports working agricultural families, as well as protecting wildlife corridors that connect the forests of the Sawatch range to the banks of the Arkansas River and the wild lands of Brown’s Canyon National Monument.
“Our goal is to protect these lands, their resources and uninterrupted views so that future generations can enjoy them just as we do today,” Beh said.
“When we offer incentives for private landowners to conserve land through easements, we can both provide security for working families to continue stewarding the land, as well as conserve the diversity of natural resources that results from that stewardship.
“Whether you love our valley for its working agricultural lands, our magnificent herds of deer and elk, or our river for its life-giving water and recreation opportunities, the lands included in Forever Chaffee will help protect the quality of life and rural sense of place that we all enjoy on a daily basis,” he said.
All three parcels included in Forever Chaffee are also ranked as high priority in the Collegiate Peaks Scenic and Historic Byway Conservation Plan, Beh said.
In addition to their scenic qualities and agricultural importance, these lands are highly ranked due to the essential habitat they provide for wildlife species such as the imperiled Lewis’s Woodpecker, Bald Eagle, bobcat, mule deer, pronghorn, elk, and mountain lion.
“Conserving these three properties is important to agriculture in the valley,” said Conservation director Lucy Waldo. “Arrowpoint Cattle Company and Tri Lazy W Ranch are working cattle operations that contribute to our local economy. The Centerville Ranch is also leased by a local rancher and ties local water rights to the eased lands.”
Contact Conservancy executive director Beh at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to help protect what we all love about Central Colorado by supporting Forever Chaffee, donations can be made by calling 719-539-7700 or by stopping by the Conservancy office at 128 E. First St., Salida. Donations can also be made online at centralcoloradoconservancy.org