FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A third conservation easement on Knott Ranch helps ensure the next generation can continue One family’s ranching legacy
Media Inquiries: Karina Puikkonen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 720.557.8277
October 31, 2023
OAK CREEK, Colo. – The Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) partnered with the Routt County Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) Board to conserve the final portion of the Knott Ranch, a historic family ranch south of Steamboat Springs near Oak Creek. Conserving the Knott’s Walker Place on the property will ensure the long-term viability of an agricultural operation that has been prominent in the Trout Creek Valley for close to a century.
The Knott family initially placed 1,940 total acres into conservation easements with CCALT in 2011 and 2018. With the 2023 addition of 414 acres on the Knott’s Walker Place parcel in a third conservation easement, the Knotts have now conserved 98% of their holdings. Routt County’s PDR Program is a land protection tool that purchase’s a property’s development rights from willing landowners to permanently protect land from development. The PDR Program and Great Outdoors Colorado provided funds for the initial 2011 easement, and PDR also purchased half of the 2023 easement’s value with the remainder donated by the Knott family. This most recent parcel is part of the Knott’s larger cattle and sheep operation and is primarily used for hunting and grazing.
“Working with the Knotts on a third conservation easement has been a privilege.” Said Molly Fales, CCALT staff attorney. “The landowners’ dedication to conservation and passing the agricultural operation on to the next generation of land stewards is perfect example of what CCALT strives to achieve.”
The Knott family has owned and managed the Knott Ranch for four generations. Bernard and Debra Knott operate and manage the ranch with their son and daughter in-law, Tyler and Megan Knott. They run cattle and sheep and sell meat locally through Trout Creek Meats. Tyler and Megan’s children, seven-year-old Ella and five-year-old Collin, are now the fifth generation. They already help with all aspects of sheep management from lambing to herding, and even own livestock of their own. The 2023 conservation easement will ensure that Ella and Collin’s generation can have the opportunity to manage the family ranch, a primary goal for the Knott family.
“My dad wants to see this place become a Centennial operation,” said Tyler Knott. “Conservation easements will help us achieve that goal.”
The Knott Ranch lies along a popular access route for the Routt and White River National Forests and the Flat Tops Wilderness. The Knott’s Walker Place parcel itself offers superb wildlife habitat. The Knott family strives to manage the ranch for the benefit of wildlife, livestock, and their local community. Four species of trout live in Trout Creek’s cold waters and Colorado Parks and Wildlife have mapped the property as a winter wildlife concentration area and habitat for multiple species of concern which are state conservation priorities.
To date, CCALT has conserved more than 71,000 acres in Routt County. The protection of the Knott’s Walker Place is important in preserving a local and regional working landscape. The ranch is part of a growing block of private conserved land in an area surrounded by large tracts of land administered by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service.
About the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust
The Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) is a nonprofit land conservation organization whose mission is to “…conserve Colorado’s western heritage and working landscapes for the benefit of future generations.” It has partnered with farm and ranching families to conserve over 770,000 acres of working lands in Colorado.
The Routt County PDR Program has completed more than 50 conservation projects, conserving over 40,000 acres in the county. For more information, please contact Jennifer Parent at Routt County, 970-879-0108.