YVLT is excited to announce the completion of our latest conservation easement: Glas Deffryn Ranch on the Yampa River!
If you have ever traveled along Routt County Road 14 – the “gateway” to Stagecoach Reservoir State Park and the surrounding residential community – then you know firsthand what an idyllic stretch of Routt County it is. YVLT’s new ranchland preservation project marks a significant step forward in keeping this landscape connected by connecting an unbroken 5-mile “conservation corridor” along the Yampa River watercourse (bordering RCR 14) comprised of conserved properties and public lands.
Take a look at YVLT’s conservation corridor (click to enlarge):
Landowners Steve and Pam Williams have long wished to see their 207-acre ranch permanently preserved, and today their dream has finally become a reality. Glas Deffryn Ranch consists of two holdings; 86 acres on the Yampa River upstream from and bordering Stagecoach Reservoir State Park, as well as an additional 121 upland acres where the ranch and its agricultural operations are headquartered. The Williams’ purebred fold of Scottish Highland cattle can often be seen roaming the property’s open pastures.
“We truly appreciate the expertise and tremendous support we have received from Yampa Valley Land Trust, Routt County PDR, GOCO and the Gates Foundation to help us realize the dream of keeping this small ranch we have cobbled together over the last 18 years as one entity into the future for the benefit of agriculture, wildlife and the natural view shed long after we are gone,” Pam says.
Great Outdoors Colorado, Routt County (through its Purchase of Development Rights Program), and the Gates Family Foundation provided funding for the conservation easement on the 86-acre riverfront parcel. The 121-acre holding received funding from Gates Family Foundation, as well, allowing the Glas Deffryn Ranch conservation easement to move forward. Both transactions were complemented by a generous donation of value from the landowners, in addition to contributions from YVLT supporters. Further, the Vernon Summer Revolving Loan Fund assisted with transactional costs.
Approximately .75 channel miles of the Yampa River bisects Glas Deffryn Ranch. Adding to its conservation significance, the 86-acre riparian parcel borders both Stagecoach Reservoir State Park and Iron Springs Ranch, a 640-acre riverfront property also under conservation easement with YVLT (which is contiguous with the 99-acre, YVLT-conserved C-Cross-C Ranch on the Yampa River). Collectively, these lands form a conserved river corridor spanning five consecutive channel miles along the Yampa’s watercourse, providing landscape-scale environmental protection and safeguarding the stunning rural vistas that characterize the Stagecoach area (see it on the map, above).
Glas Deffryn Ranch is notable not only for its scenic qualities, but also for the quality wildlife habitat that exists there. Nearly 70 percent of all species in Routt County rely on riparian environments at some stage in their life cycles, and over 200 migratory and resident bird species have been documented in the Stagecoach area. The 207-acre property provides important habitat for grouse, great blue herons, sandhill cranes, bald eagles, mule deer, elk, moose, bears, mountain lions, and more.
The Yampa River is truly the lifeblood of Northwest Colorado. Its protection is critical not only for today, but for the future of this great region. YVLT will continue to look for opportunities to safeguard this vitally important resource, along with working ranches, open lands, and critical wildlife habitat throughout Northwest Colorado. To date, YVLT has conserved over 55,290 acres across 75 conservation easements in Northwest Colorado, with a focus on the Upper Yampa River Valley in Routt County.
YVLT would like to thank the people and organizations that made the Glas Deffryn Ranch conservation easement possible: Great Outdoors Colorado, Routt County, Gates Family Foundation, YVLT supporters, and Steve and Pam Williams.