This past week, Montezuma Land Conservancy (MLC) continued its landscape-scale conservation in the Groundhog region by partnering with private landowners to protect 960 acres visible from Groundhog Reservoir. Located in an area still largely defined by working ranches, the B&B Lone Cone Ranch and Cattle easement adds to the nearly 14,000 acres protected in the Groundhog Region. The project was made possible by grants from Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Great Outdoors Colorado as well as the landowners’ generosity and foresight.
This conservation easement is the final piece in protecting the entire northeast corner of the private lands within the Groundhog Region. Together with two adjacent conservation easements, 5,719 contiguous acres are forever protected in this important and biodiverse region. This block of land protects over 7.5 miles of public land boundary (San Juan National Forest and Lone Cone State Wildlife Area), two working ranches, unparalleled elk habitat and migration corridor, countless miles of high alpine creeks and riparian habitat, endangered lynx habitat, and the headwaters of disappointment creek. This easement also protects the iconic views of the Lone Cone from Groundhog Reservoir that are critical to the fishing experience at Groundhog Reservoir.
In case you didn’t know, Montezuma Land Conservancy is a private non-profit organization located in Cortez. Since 1998, the Conservancy has partnered with local landowners to complete 84 conservation easements protecting over 42,000 acres of private land in Montezuma, Dolores, and San Miguel counties. Conservation easements are voluntary legal agreements that landowners use to protect important agricultural land, wildlife habitat, and scenic open space by limiting subdivision and residential development. Lands remain in private ownership and management, on the tax rolls, and public access is not required. Financial benefits can include reduction in state, federal, and estate taxes and continued agricultural property tax status. In certain cases, landowners may receive cash for protecting their land.
For more information about the Montezuma Land Conservancy, please visit www.montezumaland.org or call 970.565.1664