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2014 year granted

548 acres

Water rights encumbered

This conservation easement was purchased by The Conservation Fund with funds from Great Outdoors Colorado, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Gates Family Foundation. The Conservation Fund immediately assigned the conservation easement to Colorado Headwaters Land Trust. The Conservation Fund partnered with the Colorado Headwaters Land Trust on this project.

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 descendants.
  • 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 Junction Butte Wetlands, and the extensive BLM land adjacent to the property. This undeveloped scenic and agricultural open space is enjoyed by those boating or fishing in the Colorado River, which meanders for two miles through the property, and Muddy Creek, which flows for 1.5 miles through the property. The McElroy Ranch West parcel is located directly west of the McElroy Ranch East parcel conservation easement, which adjoins the BLM Junction Butte Wetlands.
  • Wildlife Habitat: The Colorado River and its adjacent wetlands 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 considered this stretch of the Colorado River a High-Quality Trout Fishery for brown trout and rainbow trout. The Colorado River and Muddy Creek also provide habitat for the blue head sucker, flannel mouth sucker, and round tail chub.