Homeowners group bands together to conserve Dry Creek Ranch

One homeowners COMMUNITY chooses to preserve

a long history of agriculture and recreation.


Media contact: Karina Puikkonen, karina@ccalt.org, 720.557.8277

March 12, 2024

MEEKER, Colo. – Today, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) announced completion of a new 9,309-acre conservation easement on Dry Creek Ranch in partnership with the Elk Creek Ranch Owners Association (ECR) and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). The Dry Creek conservation easement becomes the largest conservation easement CCALT holds in Rio Blanco County, preserving a landscape that supports both agricultural and recreational uses on the property.

The Dry Creek Ranch conservation easement encompasses a large, undivided parcel of land southeast of Meeker, along a stretch of the Flattops Scenic Byway (Colorado County Road 8). ECR donated a significant portion of the Dry Creek conservation easement purchase price, and CPW provided funding support in acknowledgement of the long-term wildlife management objectives private lands stewardship can provide the state. The Nature Conservancy also supported transaction costs. CCALT merged with the Yampa Valley Land Trust in 2019 and continues to support Northwest Colorado’s conservation values which include ecological, agricultural, and recreational purposes.

“The Dry Creek Ranch is a spectacular example of landscape-scale conservation. Conservation of the ranch will secure conservation of important big game habitat that is connected to national forest lands,” said Molly Fales, CCALT’s Staff Attorney. “CCALT appreciates ECR’s vision and dedication to conservation and is proud to have completed conservation of the Dry Creek Ranch with them.”

“We are pleased to support the conservation efforts on Dry Creek Ranch,” said CPW Director Jeff Davis. “Preserving landscapes like these is crucial for maintaining wildlife habitat and promoting biodiversity. This partnership with CCALT and ECR aligns with our mission to perpetuate the wildlife resources of the state and provide sustainable outdoor recreation opportunities.”

Photo credit: ERO Resources Corporation

This isn’t the first time the Elk Creek Ranch Owners Association has worked with CCALT to conserve lands. In 2021, the group purchased both the Dry Creek and Pollard Ranches with the intention of preserving a working agricultural operation and abundant hunting and fishing resources. In 2022, ECR partnered with CCALT to conserve 1,771 acres on the Elk Creek North Pollard Ranch, located on the north side of the county road.

Together, the Dry Creek and Elk Creek North Pollard Ranches conservation easements support a balance of agriculture and recreation that has existed for nearly 30 years. The ranches are leased to a local rancher for cattle grazing during the summer months and hay production. The ECR Owners Association has continued a recreation tradition of world-class hunting, fishing, and year-round outdoor recreation opportunities for its members and guests. In the baseline report for the easement ECR owners said it is their intention to maintain the ranches’ historical acreage and practices in perpetuity.

Dry Creek Ranch includes a section of the White River and encompasses a variety of vegetation from shrublands to pinyon-juniper woodlands to aspen-fir forests that support a wide variety and abundance of wildlife, including 24 species of greatest conservation need as defined by CPW.

The new conservation easement also provides a significant, relatively natural habitat that complements other protected lands in the area. The ranch shares 14 miles of boundaries with White River National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands. It also shares a boundary with another conservation easement held by CPW. The natural habitat, open ranchlands, and agricultural productivity on Dry Creek Ranch will help preserve the local and regional working landscapes integral to the Rio Blanco County Master Plan.

Headline photo credit: ERO Resources Corporation

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.” CCALT has worked with over 400 families to conserve more than 775,000 acres to date statewide.

About Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) works to perpetuate the wildlife resources of the state, provide a quality state parks system, and provide an enjoyable and sustainable outdoor recreation opportunities that educate and inspire current and future generations to serve as active stewards of Colorado’s natural resources.

About The Nature Conservancy
TNC is a global environmental nonprofit working to create a world where people and nature can
thrive. Founded at its grassroots in the United States in 1951, TNC has grown to become one of the
most effective and wide-reaching environmental organizations in the world. Thanks to more than a
million members and the dedicated efforts of our diverse staff and more than 400 scientists, TNC
impacts conservation in 79 countries and territories across six continents.