In December of 2010, Montezuma Land Conservancy took advantage of a special opportunity to build on the momentum of the Groundhog and Crescent Ranch conservation easements and further landscape-scale conservation with a 6,700-acre conservation easement on the Ivins Ranch. Identified as a high priority by the Montezuma Land Conservancy and Colorado Conservation Partnership (CCP), Ivins Ranch exhibits a large unbroken expanse of diverse relatively natural habitat interconnected to tens of thousands of acres of public lands. Ivins Ranch shares six miles of boundary with BLM and state lands, buffering important biological values on adjacent public lands. Conservation of the Ivins Ranch protects an interconnected landscape reaching from Lone Mesa State Park to McKenna Peak Wilderness Study Area north of Disappointment Valley.
The Ivins Ranch is the largest private parcel in the Groundhog-Glade area. Nestled in between South Mountain (9,478’) and Disappointment Valley (7,400’), its elevational gradient and topographic complexity create a variety of micro environments that support 13 major vegetation types on the property. In addition to its natural, landscape, and scenic values, Ivins Ranch is part of the agricultural fabric and heritage of our community. The property provides spring, summer, and fall range for the family’s fourth generation cow calf operation. The Ivins’ land ethic and careful stewardship are a model for natural resource conservation through agriculture; their decision to permanently protect their ranch continues the legacy and momentum created by the late Wilson Brumley’s decision to conserve Groundhog Ranch.
The Ivins Ranch supports the family’s fifth generation livestock operation which was started in the 1930s by DeAnn Ivins’ grandfather and great-uncles, the Adams Brothers. “There were four of them and they split up the ranch. This is the piece my grandfather got,” DeAnn Ivins states. When Ivins’ parents married in 1946, they committed to continuing the family’s ranching tradition. “We raised sheep,” Ivins said. “It was sheep all the time until I was a teenager. The ranch was our base and we had summer pasture on Lizard Head, Silverton, and all the way to Lake City. Then you couldn’t find herders anymore and the coyotes got bad and we started moving over to cattle. Four years after I got married we started running the ranch and now our son (Justin) does it. It has gone on for that long. Of the four ranches from when the Adams brothers split, we are the only one that is still a ranch like it was.” This heritage is behind the Ivins’ decision to conserve the ranch.
“It is hard to run a ranch on what we make off the ranch,” Ivins says. “The conservation easement is a really nice way to keep the ranch running as it is and not have to sell off pieces for development. We believe in conservation. There are deer and elk, bear and turkeys, and mountain lions up there. We want to keep it as it is and it is the best way in the world to raise children”.