The new RSL Ranch conservation easement embodies the rich qualities of the landscape in our area. It includes irrigated farmland, grazing land for cattle, and ponderosa forest for timber production. At the same time it includes important forest habitat for wildlife along with riparian habitat along Lost Canyon Creek and scenic views from an access road to the San Juan National Forest. Rick and Helen Lee, representing the current generation of the ownership RSL Ranch have partnered with Montezuma Land Conservancy, Great Outdoors Colorado and the Farm and Ranch Protection Program to conserve the core of this historic family ranch. The ranch has been in the family since 1874 and a portion of the property is registered as a Centennial farm. Rick Lee talked about how this family history led him to consider a conservation easement,
I cannot … bring myself to even consider breaking up and/or selling what I view as a family legacy that could never be replaced. Sometimes certain things transcend monetary issues or what might seem the most logical course at a given point in time. Hopefully, the easement will enable the flexibility of economics to help future generations maintain the land in its historic use and form. It will be a tool to possibly eliminate many temptations and pitfalls that can run concurrently with land ownership and life. It is our intention to encourage and enable good stewardship and preservation of an increasingly rare legacy with both public and private aspects for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations.
This new easement conserves 799 acres on Haycamp Mesa which are adjacent to an existing easement on 880 acres granted by RSL Ranch in 2008, together with a parcel of approximately 120 acres of irrigated farmland in the Montezuma Valley. The Haycmp Mesa portion is bounded to the north and northeast by the San Juan National Forest. It occupies the Lost Canyon Creek floor, upland forested slopes, and side drainages. One half mile of Lost Canyon Creek flows through the Property supporting important riparian communities. The majority of the property is a ponderosa pine/Gambel oak woodland, which is also a high priority habitat type.
The centennial farm portion of this easement is a productive agricultural property due to its deep loam soils combined with high priority irrigation rights. The property produces high quality hay and provides pastureland for livestock grazing.