I had the wonderful opportunity to join Nina Williams on a stewardship visit to one of the largest easements held by the Montezuma Land Conservancy (MLC) up in the Groundhog Glade area. Each year MLC performs a stewardship site visit to each of the 87 conservation easements now held by MLC.
On this beautiful blue sky summer day we visited the Brumley Ranch. This 4,000 plus acre ranch sits above Groudhog Lake with elevations up to 10,600 feet. The Brumley Ranch ranges from lush grass meadows to dense aspen and spruce forests with amazing views of Lone Cone to the north and all the way south to the Chuska mountains on the Navajo Nation.
The late Wilson Brumley had a vision to preserve this land and led the way for others in the Groundhog Glade area to choose to place their land in a conservation easement. The Groundhog Glade area now has almost 15,000 acres conserved, in five separate ranches, covering the entire northeast corner of the private lands in the Groundhog Glade area. Ranching remains strong in this area with plentiful summer grazing available.
As we moved from the grassy meadows to the dense forests we startled a small herd of elk and some healthy looking calves. The Groundhog Glade area has one of the largest herds of elk in Colorado as they migrate from the high elevations to Disappointment Valley in the winter. Lynx, bear, mountain lions and deer roam the high country here as well. The Groundhog Glade area is almost surrounded by over 100,000 acres of public land creating vast wildlife corridors and ensuring our local hunting heritage stays strong.
Conserving these lands forever is important to these landowners, the wildlife who roam here and to all of us who care about the future of land conservation here in this beautiful part of southwest Colorado.