CCALT and two local families complete the largest conservation easements in Routt County

The Camilletti and Chance families simultaneously

conserved lands that have supported their

large, operational partnership for decades.


Media contact: Karina Puikkonen,, 720.557.8277

June 30, 2024

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. – Today, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) announced the completion of two new conservation easements with the Camilletti and Chance families that now become the largest easements CCALT holds in Routt County. The 4,209 acres conserved on Camilletti Ranch and 3,978 acres conserved on Chance Ranch continue Routt County’s commitment to conservation with funding provided for each by the county’s Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) Program. This program uses a mill levy to help purchase conservation easements from willing landowners to permanently protect land from development.

“The Camilletti and Chance families have worked together to create one of the largest agricultural operations in Routt County,” said Molly Fales, CCALT staff attorney. “Now, they have demonstrated incredible foresight and commitment to conservation in working to conserve both the Camilletti and Chance Ranches which greatly benefits travelers, the agricultural community, and wildlife along the Twenty-Mile Road.”

The Camilletti and Chance Ranches are adjacent to each other, and their easements encompass a total of five parcels of land located south of the Town of Hayden. The easements conserve grass pastures, native sagebrush and shrublands, and riparian areas on rolling foothill terrain along the Williams Fork Mountains. These lands allow for meaningful work that nurtures crops and livestock and contributes to the local economy.

Photo courtesy of the Camilletti family.

Both families have individual beef cattle yearling operations they run in partnership during the growing season. Camilletti Ranch has been owned and managed by three generations of the Camilletti family for nearly a century.  Jeff and Ginger Chance, owners of Chance Ranch have been part of Routt County’s ranching community for several decades, and have livestock operations in California. The conservation easements help ensure each family can continue on as stewards of these respective landscapes.

“Our agricultural heritage and roots run deep in this valley,” said the Camilletti family in a statement. “It instills a sense of pride and responsibility in caring for the land and preserving it for future generations. It has been the livelihood of five generations with the sixth waiting in the wings.”

“Knowing the land will not be developed is very important to our family and to agriculture in general,” Jeff Chance said. “This conservation easement will also benefit a lot of different wildlife species, well into the future, and helps ensure our family can continue our ranching legacy for future generations.”

The Camilletti Ranch and Chance Ranch conservation easements are important additions to the growing network of conserved private lands and working ranches in Routt County, where CCALT holds conservation easements for over 79,000 acres. The new easements add large tracts of undeveloped, agricultural land along with over two dozen miles of perennial and intermittent streams to this protected landscape.

“Routt County’s Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program has the strong support of Routt County residents, as has been demonstrated at the ballot box twice,” said Routt County Commissioner Sonja Macys. “The approval of PDR funds for the Camilletti Ranch and Chance Ranch Conservation Easements, conserving a total of over 8,000 acres, will fulfill the program’s intent by helping long-standing Routt County ranching families keep working ranches viable while at the same time conserving open space and natural areas for the benefit of water, wildlife, and the scenic view shed all Routt County residents treasure.”

CCALT merged with the Yampa Valley Land Trust in 2019, inheriting over 79,000 acres on 57 properties. This year marks CCALT’s fifth anniversary with the Yampa Valley Conservation Partnership that has worked together to conserve an additional 50,000 acres across six counties in Northwest Colorado since that time. The partnership ensures Northwest Coloradans’ commitment to conservation maintains that unique rural charm the region is known for.

Headline photo courtesy of the Chance family.

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 partnered with hundreds of ranching families in the protection of more than 789,000 acres statewide.

The Routt County PDR Program (PDR) program is a land protection tool in which a property’s development rights are purchased from willing landowners. Funding for the PDR Program is derived from a 1.5 mill levy in County property tax approved by voters through 2035. In exchange for County funds, the landowner grants a perpetual conservation easement, or deed restriction on the property, thereby permanently protecting the land from development. The PDR Program provides landowners an economically attractive alternative to selling land for development by compensating them for the development rights on their land. Ownership of the property remains vested with the landowner, who can use and manage the property consistent with the terms of the conservation easement. Since the initiation of the PDR Program in 1997, the County has helped fund the purchase of conservation easements on 68,535 acres, at a cost just over $32 million.