A 32,000-acre ranch will remain free of subdivisions - no small feat for property that straddles the border between Moab, Utah, and Grand Junction, Colo., an area being developed at a rate that's twice the national average.
landowner, who has asked to remain anonymous, has been working
since 1979 with a land trust in each state - Utah Open Lands and
Colorado's Mesa County Land Conservancy. Placing conservation
easements allowed the landowner to avoid giant estate taxes. Though
4,000 acres remain unprotected, the most recent easement of 3,000
acres means none of the property in Utah can be developed. Ranching
is expected to continue.
"I hope this sets a
precedent for other landowners to realize conservation is just as
much a property right as development," says Utah Open Lands
Director Wendy Fisher.
This is Utah Open Lands'
largest land preservation deal to date, she says, although it is
working to preserve eight other ranches, totaling 30,000 acres.
Says Fisher, "Regardless of political winds that are always
changing, these landowners are volunteering their land because it
makes sense economically, emotionally, and from an environmental