40 Stories in 40 Weeks: Lazy H Ranch

Original story by Sharon Sullivan

Just beyond the beautiful North Fork community of Paonia lies nearly 4,200 acres of prime high mountain rangeland, irrigated pasture, and particularly rich and diverse wildlife habitat along over three miles on both sides of the North Fork of the Gunnison

In the spring of 2011, this ground was on the market and aggressively priced to sell and relieve ...

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40 Stories in 40 Weeks: Past Shapes the Present in Plateau Valley

For Land Trust board member Max Stites, conservation gets personal. Max traces his Plateau Valley roots back four generations. Over the last decades, Mesa Land Trust has completed 31 conservation agreements, protecting over 14,500 acres of Plateau Valley ranch land and wildlife habitat. Protected acreage includes irrigated pastures and migration corridors utilized by elk, deer, and other wildlife species.

We are delighted that Max has generously shared his family’s story with us:

Heber Young and John Stites were big rawboned young men ...

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40 Stories in 40 Weeks: The Ouray North Corridor Trail

By Sharon Sullivan

The Ouray North Corridor Trail (also known as the Uncompahgre River Walk Loop) was created in 1999. The 18 conserved acres includes a two-mile loop along the river with a bridge linking the two sides. Exercise stations, playgrounds, benches and picnic tables along the trail draw townspeople and visitors alike.

The conserved property also provides access for kayakers and recreationists who want to float the river. During the winter, Ouray County Nordic Council volunteers groom the trails for cross-country ...

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40 Stories in 40 Weeks: Preserving Fruit Land for Family Farms

By Sharon Sullivan

On a sunny September morning, Al Ruckman shares his bounty with a visitor to his East Orchard Mesa farm–a handful of blackberries from the patch near his house; a ripe peach plucked from the orchard just beyond the front pasture. A box of newly harvested tomatoes, cucumbers and jalapeno peppers sit in the barn ...

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40 Stories in 40 Weeks: Anna Roehm Lawson and the Heart of a Family Ranch (2010 Reprint)

By Pam Childers

One hour from Grand Junction and 15 miles west of the Glade Park Store, a metal gate leads to the original log cabin home of Anna Roehm Lawson, who has lived on this land since she was ten days old. We are greeted by a friendly young hound and an elderly dachshund. Anna is already busy in the kitchen, talking on the phone. She welcomes us into the newest addition to the multi-sectioned log home.

We are joined by ...

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40 Stories in 40 Weeks: A North Fork Memorial to Land and People (2003 Reprint)

Mesa Land Trust and the Mesa County Community Separator Area project are happy to announce the recent completion of their sixth conservation easement in the Grand Valley’s buffer zones.

In July, Betty Cordova placed a conservation easement covering her beautiful 39-acre farm on J Road in the Fruita Community Separator. The Cordova farm is currently planted in corn and is located adjacent to two other already-protected properties in the Fruita buffer zone, the Dixie Williams Ranch and the Basher horse farm. ...

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40 Stories in 40 Weeks: A North Fork Memorial to Land and People (2011 Reprint)

“1894 – As long as grass grows, spring wind blows and water flows the land will nurture us and we will nurture the land. These acres are dedicated forever to conservation by the Norman Kehmeier family.”

On July 4, 2011, members of the Kehmeier family gathered back on their land from far-flung corners of the world to dedicate a stone memorial with a plaque carrying the words quoted above.

The land has been in the family for over a century (thus the ...

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40 Stories in 40 Weeks: Section of Riverfront Trail Acquired on Conserved Property (2006 Reprint)

(Press Release Reprint: Sept. 2006)–The Mesa Land Trust and Colorado Riverfront Foundation last night announced the acquisition of a critical section of trail right-of-way along the Colorado River east of 32 Road. The right-of-way runs along ¾ of a mile of river frontage and will become a key portion of the trail extending east from Corn Lake State Park to Palisade. No date has been set for trail construction, and the property will not be open to the public until ...

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40 Stories in 40 Weeks: The Shavano Valley Rock Art Site

By Alecia Phillips, Former BCRLT ED

Earlier in 2014, Black Canyon Regional Land Trust partnered with The Archeological Conservancy (TAC) to place the Shavano Valley Rock Art Site into conservation – an important step in the perpetual protection and management of this superb cultural site west of Montrose.

The 42-acre parcel contains extensive Archaic through historic Ute period (1000 BC – 1900 AD) petroglyphs, and has been at the center of western Colorado rock art research since the early 20th century. TAC ...

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40 Stories in 40 Weeks: Choosing Conservation (2001)

Original story and photo by Leigh Fortson.

“I wouldn’t be a very good neighbor if I had to live in a subdivision,” Dixie Williams admits as she gazes over the 200 acres of ranchland that her father bought when she was a child, some eighty years ago. “I’d still loan you a cup of flour, but I’m grateful that I don’t have to and can keep things the way they are.”

Dixie’s western family heritage spans back generations. Her grandparents traveled with Brigham ...

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