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Conservation Agreement Protects 780 Acres In Unaweep Canyon

West Creek Ranch, Unaweep Canyon
Josh Duplechain

A new conservation agreement will permanently protect a 780-acre working ranch in the heart of Unaweep Canyon. 

Mesa Land Trust worked for three years to make the deal happen.  

Ilana Moir with the trust describes why the nonprofit wants to preserve West Creek Ranch, which is along the Unaweep-Tabeguache Scenic Byway.

"This property is beautiful, but it also has really great conservation values in terms of wildlife habitat," Moir says. "Big game species migrate off of the Uncompahgre Plateau and Glade Park down into the canyon the during winter." 

She says the trust has preserved about 3,000 acres in the area near Highway 141.

The organization credits grants it received from Great Outdoors Colorado and the Federal Highway Administration’s National Scenic Byways Program with making the arrangement possible.

Moir says when the trust does a conservation agreement the owners keep title to the property.

"The land trust just owns the development rights of the property," she says.

Moir says through contracts with private landowners, the trust conserves more than 65,000 acres in Mesa, Montrose and Delta counties and in Grand County, Utah. 

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