McElroy Ranch East Conservation Easement

McElroy Ranch Conservation Easement

114.11 acres donated on October 30, 2013.
Water rights encumbered.
Conservation Values protected:

  • Agricultural Open Space: The property has been in agricultural production for over a century and the landowners are deeply rooted in the area’s ranching community. The landowner’s great-grandfather first put the ranch together and today the ranch is operated and managed by a fifth generation of children.
  • Scenic Open Space: The property is highly visible from numerous locations: the Town of Kremmling, the Colorado River Headwaters National Scenic and Historic Byway US Highway 40, Colorado Highway 9, Amtrak National Rail Passenger Service, flights arriving and leaving McElroy Airfield, the 122-acre BLM’s Junction Butte Wetlands, and the extensive public BLM lands adjacent to the property. This undeveloped scenic and agricultural open space is enjoyed by those boating or fishing in the Colorado River, which flows for one mile through the easement. The property, which is characterized by wetlands associated with the river and by irrigated hay and pastureland, is located within the Upper Colorado River Corridor Priority Landscape, identified by the Colorado Conservation Partnership as a top priority for conservation purposes in Colorado. The property is also included in BLM’s Upper Colorado Special Recreation Management Area. Since the property is included in the growth boundary for the Town of Kremmling and current zoning on the property allows for two-acre minimum lot sizes, there was a strong likelihood that the property would have been developed if it had not been preserved.
  • Wildlife Habitat: The Colorado River and its adjacent wetlands in the riparian corridors and irrigated hay meadows on the property provide key wildlife habitat for a diversity of species, including the greater sage grouse, the Northern leopard frog, the bald eagle, waterfowl and other birds, mammals and fish. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) considers this stretch of the Colorado River a High Quality Trout Fishery for brown trout and rainbow trout. The property is included in CPW’s State Wildlife Action Plan and has been identified by CPW as overall range for greater sage grouse and as a Preliminary Priority Habitat on CPW’s greater sage grouse Priority Map. The property provides breeding habitat for the northern leopard frog, including an active breeding site that has been monitored by CPW since 2009. The property is also overall range for black bear, mountain lion, moose and mule deer. The property is less than one-half mile from a resident pronghorn population.