Since its inception in 1951, The Nature Conservancy has been working with communities, businesses and people from all walks of life to protect more than 92 million acres around the world. The Nature Conservancy is a private, non-profit, conservation organization that works in communities to protect our last great places. The organization practices a non-confrontational, collaborative and science-based approach to conservation. Our goal is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.
In Colorado, The Nature Conservancy has helped preserve more than 426,000 acres and has estabilshed thirteen preserves statewide. The Nature Conservancy's historic Carpenter Ranch and scenic Yampa River Preserve are located in our beautiful Yampa Valley.
Nature Conservancy of Northwest Colorado
The Nature Conservancy of Northwest Colorado
The Carpenter Ranch serves as the centerpiece of the Conservancy's efforts to conserve the natural, historical and agricultural heritage of the Yampa Valley. With many ranches but few small private holdings, the Valley is a great place for the Conservancy to pursue landscape-scale conservation efforts.
The Nature Conservancy's Carpenter Ranch
PO Box 955
Hayden, CO 81639
Workshops at the Carpenter Ranch
River to Ridges - Conserving the Yampa River Valley
Along the Yampa River, a globally unique forest of narrow-leaf cottonwood, box elder, and red-osier dogwood is home to bald eagles, river otters, and over 100 species of birds. Above the river lie meadows that represent some of the most productive and historically important ranchland in the state. Even higher, rolling sagebrush and oak hills provide crucial habitat for Colorado's remaining Columbian sharp-tailed grouse and greater sage grouse, as well as winter habitat for the second largest elk herd in the state and a significant population of mule deer. While still largely intact, this landscape is becoming increasingly threatened.
The Yampa Valley community has a long history of working together to address threats to the rich biological, cultural and agricultural heritage of the area. The goal of the Yampa Valley River to Ridges project is to build upon the many years of collaborative efforts in the area to conserve wildlife habitat and ranchland from the lush river corridor to the sagebrush uplands - from the river to the ridges.
As part of the River to Ridges project, the Wolf Mountain Ranch project aims to permanently conserve up to 6,300 acres that:
- Provide critical habitat for Columbian sharp-tailed grouse and sandhill cranes.
- Support miles of a globally rare river forest corridor.
- Represent historically and econommically important ranchlands.
- Preserve historic views important for the local economy.
- Buffer the already preserved Carpenter Ranch.
The most immediate and pressing opportunity in this overall effort is conservation of up to 6,300 acrese of the Wolf Mountain Ranch. The project lands are ecologically significant and contribute to the region's economy by protecting a scenic rural landscape that greets visitors and is well known to the valley's residents. The project would address many of the important agricultural and riparian priorities on 12 miles of the Yampa River between Milner and hayden. Overall, the project will have a significant impact on the riparian and upland conservation needs of the Yampa Valley. This opportunity may never come again.
To accomplish the first part of this multi-phase effort - a conservation easement over a critical section of 1,900 acres accross the river from Carpenter Ranch - The Nature Conservancy is working with partners to secure significant public funds to support the Yampa Valley efforts. In order to leverage these public funds, as well as the landowner's significant donation to the project, the Conservancy musts raise a minimum of $400,000 in private funds by summer 2005 to make this first phase of Wolf Mountain - and subsequent phases - a reality.
The Nature Conservancy is grateful for the enthusiastic project support expressed by the following groups:
- US Bureau of Land Management
- Yampa Valley Birding Club
- Yampa Valley Land Trust
- Yampa White Wetland Focus Area Committee
- Yampavian Ranch
- City of Steamboat Springs
- Routt County Commissioners
- Town of Hayden
- Yampa River System Legacy Project
- Community Agriculture Alliance
- Leadership Steamboat
If successful, the River to Ridges project will achieve landscape-scale conservation in the Yampa Valley. It will benefit valley residents by protecting in perpetuity both historic ranchlands and vital habitat for important declining species. This project is truly an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy in the Yampa Valley.