The Lazo family conserves wildlife habitat in Delta County

Delta County Independent, July 12, 2022—Colorado West Land Trust (CWLT) recently announced that it has partnered with the Lazo family to conserve 146 acres of wildlife habitat in Delta County’s Fruitland Mesa area.

Fruitland Mesa is a plateau between the Smith Fork of the Gunnison River’s canyon to the north and Red Canyon to the south. Standing on it, one can see the West Elk Mountains to the east, Black Canyon of the Gunnison to the south, and Gunnison Gorge to the west. Surrounded by a mix of conserved private and public lands, the property is comprised of pinyon-juniper woodlands, sagebrush shrublands, and meadows that cover gently rolling terrain.

The land was conserved to honor the wishes of Christopher Reid Lazo, who died in October 2021. Chris purchased the original 40 acres in 2008 and spent the next decade piecing together additional acreage alongside his wife, Carole, before they decided to conserve it last year.

“The Lazos enjoyed a rich life together, watching and photographing the plants and animals in their backyard,” CWLT’s press release said. “To that end, the Lazos cared for their property so that wildlife may thrive—they relinquished the right to develop a homesite, they maintained watering areas, and over the years they removed barbed wire fencing and other hazards from the land.”

The animals that live there now do so with protection against being disturbed by people. Prairie dogs are free to dig their burrows, which in turn provide shelter and nesting habitats for other animals. Songbirds of all kinds nest in the shrubs. Wild turkeys are regularly spotted, strutting through the sagebrush. Golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, great-horned owls and American kestrel roam the skies above. Red foxes, bobcats, badgers, skunks, voles and shrews ramble through the underbrush. The list of all the species that benefit from the land is extensive; protecting it ensures that they may continue to use it forever.

When asked how she felt now that the land is conserved, Carole Lazo replied, “I feel thankful—very thankful that we were able to get it done. Chris was still alive when we started the process, and after he passed, his sister and brother-in-law, Sandy and Don, stepped in to help me fulfill the dream.”

With their land safely in a conservation easement, Carole can rest assured that it will remain protected according to their wishes, regardless of who owns it in the future.

“This project was a wonderful tribute to Chris’ life, and we look forward to our continued connection with Carole as she enjoys the land she helped conserve,” said Ilana Moir, director of conservation for CWLT. “We greatly appreciate the efforts of landowners like the Lazos, who conserved their property so that future generations may benefit from it.”

About Colorado West Land Trust

Colorado West Land Trust, a private, charitable nonprofit organization, has conserved over 126,000 acres across six western Colorado counties (Delta, Gunnison, Mesa, Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel). Its mission is to protect and enhance agricultural land, wildlife habitat and scenic lands in Western Colorado to benefit the community at large, enrich lives, provide opportunities for outdoor recreation, and ensure our connection to land for generations to come. To learn more about CWLT’s work and to contribute to the organization’s efforts, visit

Read the original Delta County Independent article: Delta County Independent Lazo Property Conserved