The Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) has been working cooperatively with landowners in the Saguache Creek corridor since 1997. Saguache Creek is located in the northwest corner of southern Colorado’s beautiful and agriculturally significant San Luis Valley. The corridor has a long history of sustaining productive ranches. This area consists of a narrow ribbon of 19,000 acres of private ranch land stretching 25 miles west from Saguache.
Facing growing pressures from development, a group of landowners from the area approached CCALT searching for a way to keep their historic ranches in the family and agriculturally viable. The fertile hay meadows and irrigated pastures in this corridor are surrounded by 350,000 acres of public land administered by the Bureau of Land Management and the Rio Grande National Forest, much of which is leased to ranchers in Saguache for summer pasture.
Since 2001 CCALT has raised millions from local, state and federal donors to purchase 21 easements totaling more than 15,900 acres.
Jim Coleman was the first landowner in the Saguache Creek Corridor to place an easement on his ranch. “This is about preserving open space and keeping it around for future generations,” Coleman says.
CCALT wishes to recognize Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), Liz Claiborne Foundation and the San Luis Valley Habitat Partnership Program for their significant financial contributions to this project.