|1/24/2013||Land Trust tells of conservation easement on Texas Creek Ranch|
San Isabel Land Protection Trust is pleased to announce the permanent protection of 600-acres of the Texas Creek Ranch with a conservation easement.
Texas Creek Ranch, one of the premier cattle ranches in the Wet Mountain Valley with fertile hayfields and pastures, senior water rights, and picturesque location close to Westcliffe, is one of the Valley’s oldest productive ranches dating back to the 1870s. Now owned by Larry and Ann Gerdes, the property was previously owned by Bill and the late Smokey Jack.
Now leased by Rusk Ranches for their cattle ranching operations, Texas Creek Ranch is also part of a larger project that has been taking place in the Valley since 2002 – the Wet Mountain Valley Ranchland Preservation project. The WMVRPP is a collaborative effort of local ranchers, San Isabel Land Protection Trust, and other conservation organizations to protect more than 12,000 acres of working ranchland in the Wet Mountain Valley. In addition to the excellent agricultural productivity of the property, Texas Creek Ranch also boasts important ecological and scenic characteristics. With nearly 1.7 miles of Texas Creek running through the property, as well as several ponds, the property offers excellent wildlife habitat.
“Texas Creek Ranch was a very important project for San Isabel and our entire community,” stated Executive Director Ben Lenth. “This ranch, like many in our Valley, was vulnerable to development, particularly through current pressures on water rights holders to sell surface water rights for downstream industrial or municipal uses. When water is sold off the land, productivity plummets and subdivision becomes more likely – which impacts the quality of life for our entire Valley. The property has been in continuous agricultural use for 140 years and is an essential part of our ranching heritage. We are incredibly fortunate for the generosity of Larry and Ann Gerdes with their donation of a conservation easement, as this land and water will remain protected, forever.”
According to ranch owner Larry Gerdes, “Since purchasing Texas Creek Ranch in 2010 we have come to meet many of the fine people in the Wet Mountain Valley and to share their love for the beautiful land and its extraordinary vistas. We were happy to hear that the former owners, Smokey and Bill Jack, shared that love. It was an easy decision for my wife, Ann, and me to ensure that the beauty of this wonderful ranch and it’s neighboring property be protected under a conservation easement.”
Founded in 1995, San Isabel Land Protection Trust (SILPT) is a 501(c)3 non-profit accredited land trust that protects ranch, farm and forest lands, wildlife habitat, scenic views for public enjoyment, and historic resources throughout Custer, Fremont, Pueblo, and Huerfano Counties. To learn more about SILPT please visit www.sanisabel.org
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