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Know the West

Utah ranch to remain whole

  The historic Dugout Ranch bordering Canyonlands National Park in southeast Utah will be purchased by The Nature Conservancy to prevent its possible development into recreational properties. The Conservancy has a one-year option on the ranch and will need to raise $4.62 million in the next year to complete the transaction.

The ranch, northwest of Monticello, Utah, in San Juan County, is at the gateway of the park's Needles District. It has been owned and operated for the last 31 years by Robert and Heidi Redd, descendants of the pioneering Charlie Redd family. Like many rural families with large landholdings, the Redds needed to divide the family assets. The couple was divorced and their children grown and sale of the spectacular property appeared likely.

"Once a ranch like this is divided there's a greater risk of its being sold off in smaller pieces and that would be tragic," said Robert Redd at Salt Lake City ceremonies announcing the sale. "We don't feel we're really losing a ranch, rather the whole state and country is gaining one."

The Dugout controls 5,167 deeded acres and has leases on 250,000 acres of BLM and Forest Service lands, mostly on the west slope of the Abajo Mountains. The Conservancy says it plans to continue operating the property as a working ranch and preserve under the management of Heidi Redd for at least 10 years.

*Larry Warren