In late 2014, Montezuma Land Conservancy (MLC) continued its momentum in preserving the scenic viewshed along the San Juan Skyway by completing a 240-acre conservation easement. Located at the northern edge and the highest elevation MLC has worked at within the Mancos Valley Program Area, the property known as Horse Creek Ranch is the 25th conservation easement in the region that surrounds the town of Mancos. This project builds upon approximately 4,300 acres, thirteen miles of riparian habitat, and numerous iconic working ranches and farms that are protected by MLC conservation easements in the immediate area. The project was made possible by grants from Great Outdoors Colorado, CDOT, and our local Montelores HPP.
The Horse Creek Ranch conservation easement will assure that 240-acres of important summer pasture remain available for agricultural use permanently. The property, which is bounded on the south by half a mile of its namesake creek and to the north by Silver Creek, is a riparian refuge from the surrounding high desert. On top of its important agricultural value, a permanent spring fed pond, numerous seasonal ponds, wetlands, wildflower glens, and a creek that runs year-round lends itself to the high quality wildlife habitat this property provides for bald eagle, black bear, elk, mule deer, mountain lion, the endangered lynx, and wild turkey.
Conserving this property also protects one of the reasons so many people come to Southwest Colorado – our incredible views. Horse Creek Ranch is just south of the La Plata Hogback and highly visible from the San Juan Skyway as well from the town of Mancos. MLC has spent much of the last decade protecting strategic properties along the Skyway. To date, landowners have partnered with MLC to protect 1,800 acres directly along the San Juan Skyway and thousands more within its viewshed.