Conservation Easements Offer Land Protection

Conservation Easements

Conservation EasementsFor many ranchers, conservation easements are a way to obtain needed cash for their operations without selling pieces of land.


About 40,000 acres of open space are protected by conservaton easements in Routt County. The easements are held by nonprofit organizations such as the Yampa Valley Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the American Farmland Trust.


The Yampa Valley Land Trust holds conservation easements for almost 25,000 acres. About 90 percent of the land the organization works with has some agricultural component.


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Holding On: Facing Building Pressures, Few Ranchers Live as Their Ancestors Did

Green Creek Ranch

Green Creek RanchTwenty years ago, Bill Gay could look up from feeding cattle on his Pleasant Valley ranch and see neighbors doing the same chore.


Early one morning last winter, Gay’s nephew, Todd Hagenbuch, was feeding cattle in the same pastures. He stopped and watched as the headlights from his neighbors’ trucks and sport utility vehicles wound through the snow-covered fields of the South Valley on their way to work. It dawned on him that he, his uncle and his grandmother, Elaine Gay, would be the only ones left in the valley for the day.


It’s almost lonelier than it would have been back then. ~Todd Hagenbuch


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