Home Ranch begins major preservation effort
by Mark Reaman
The first conclusive step in a long process to conserve 6,000 acres of prime ranchland in Gunnison County became a reality with the completion of the 1,447-acre Trampe Home Ranch conservation easement (CE), on Friday, February 17.
This step is the first of three closings to eventually put the entire Gunnison Valley ranch into conservation easements that will keep the property open and in the ranching business.
This first step protects the Trampe Home Ranch headquarters and will result in Gunnison sage-grouse habitat being protected in perpetuity.
“This land has been the heart of our ranch for more than 100 years,” said Bill Trampe. “The meadows and pastures are the resource base for ranch production, and also provide habitat for Gunnison sage-grouse and other wildlife species. Conservation of our home place means this land is available forever for agriculture.”
The goal is to have the entire transaction completed by the spring of 2018. This first closing was focused on the Trampe Home Ranch parcel and that funding came about primarily through $3.8 million in a federal Natural Resources Conservation Service grant for protection of Gunnison sage-grouse habitat and additional funds from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO). Trampe Ranches donated 25 percent of the value of the conservation easement. The Nature Conservancy is the holder of the Trampe Home Ranch conservation easement.
“The Nature Conservancy is proud to be helping to conserve the iconic Trampe Ranch,” said The Nature Conservancy’s Colorado state director Carlos Fernandez. “The conservation easement will ensure that the Trampe property’s agricultural and natural values remain long into the future. We applaud Bill Trampe for his long-standing dedication to conservation in the Gunnison Valley.”
“Completion of the Trampe Home Ranch conservation easement provides the foundation for the rest of the project,” said Susan Lohr, The Trust for Public Land’s (TPL) consulting manager for the Trampe Ranch conservation easement.
“The NRCS Agricultural Land Easement program that protects private ‘grasslands of special significance’ was an ideal funding vehicle for the Trampe Home Ranch because of the habitat the ranch provides for Gunnison sage- grouse. It is the first of several pending projects using these NRCS funds, which come from the 2010 Strategic Grouse Initiative.”
“The Trust for Public Land is honored to help protect the Trampe Home Ranch,” added Justin Spring, Colorado director of land protection for the TPL. “It is the first step toward protecting one of the most significant ranches in Colorado.”
The second closing is expected to take place this coming summer, on the Trampe Ranch Jack’s Cabin meadow along Highway 135.
The third and final closing on the ranch is expected to take place in early 2018 and will complete the 6,000-acre transaction. The final phase will permanently protect 2,647 acres in the Upper East River Valley.