The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation worked with it partners and a private landowner to protect an additional 237 acres of elk habitat in northern Colorado. The property represents the third phase of conserved lands between RMEF and the Flying Diamond Ranch. When combined with previous work by the RMEF, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife on the Flying Diamond Ranch in Routt County, 1,928 acres of the 3,095-acre ranch are now permanently protected.
“This transaction is a testament to the continuing commitment to elk, elk country and conservation by the Adams family,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. “Thanks to their cooperation and passion, this conservation work permanently protects the agricultural, wildlife and habitat values of the property.”
The ranch is a year-round cattle operation that lies just a few minutes outside of Steamboat Springs off State Highway 131 on the high northern ridges of Thorpe Mountain in the Yampa River Valley. The newly protected lands are highlighted by a mile of Oak Creek, floodplain pastures, Gambel oak and sagebrush. More than 200 cow-calf pairs graze on the ranch during the summer months. The ranch also provides summer and winter range for elk, and habitat for black bear, mountain lion, bobcat and mule deer. Wildlife species of concern on the property include the Columbian sharp-tailed grouse, the greater sage grouse, and the northern leopard frog.
Since this conservation easement prohibits any subdivision or development, it protects a ‘million dollar’ vista at the southern entrance to the Yampa Valley.
“The Adams family is proud to participate in the conservation of open space that has long been a vision of the residents of Routt County. We thank the Purchase Development Rights Program (PDR) and the Board of County Commissioners for choosing the Flying Diamond Ranch for this conservation effort,” said John Adams.
Rural subdivision currently encroaches the property from the east and the north while conservation easements are already in place to the west and south. Other neighboring protected land includes parcels held by the Bureau of Land Management, two state wildlife areas, a state park, and four private ranches with conservation easements protecting an overall area of more than 17,000 acres.
Partners in the Thorpe Mountain conservation easement include the residents of Routt County, the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust, the Purchase Development Rights Program, and the Board of County Commissioners.
RMEF’s mission is to enhance the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage. That holds very true in Routt County alone where RMEF funds totaling $146,596 conserved or enhanced nearly 26,000 acres of land since 1988. Statewide, RMEF and its partners completed 572 conservation and hunting heritage projects with a combined value of more than $147 million since 1987.
Logo courtesy Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation