From the Colorado West Land Trust via The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel:
Meek Ranch, which covers more than 1,200 acres along the West Elk Scenic and Historic Byway, has been conserved by the Colorado West Land Trust, it announced Monday.
The ranch is located on the western slope of the West Elk mountain range and includes pasture land for cattle, as well as mountain shrublands and woodland and more than two miles of riparian habitat.
This conservation will ensure the large open spaces, ranchland and habitat will never be developed in the future.
Owners Roy and Sandy McLaughlin purchased the property in 2014 and graze livestock on it, which is how it has been managed for more than a century. The McLaughlins have worked to improve the land.
“The Meek family started ranching this land in 1915,” Sandy McLaughlin said in a statement. “To continue their legacy, we try to enhance the unique natural qualities that exist here—things like fertilizing fields and reopening old ditches to channel spring water to dry areas of land.”
The ranch is surrounded by privately owned open space and National Forest land that connects to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park to the southwest.
Funding for the project was provided by Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
“We are grateful to the McLaughlin family and our friends at Colorado West Land Trust for ensuring the permanent protection of a property that so immensely benefits Colorado’s wildlife and people,” GOCO Executive Director Chris Castilian said in a statement.
The Meek Ranch property and surrounding area provides forage, cover, breeding grounds and migration corridors for a diversity of wildlife, including big game species.
This project is part of Colorado West Land Trust’s work to conserve the natural and agricultural land in the area of the West Elk Scenic and Historic Byway.
To date it has protected nearly 9,500 acres of ranch land in that area.
“We greatly appreciate the efforts of landowners like the McLaughlins, who choose to conserve their properties so future generations can have places to farm and ranch long term,” Colorado West Land Trust Director of Conservation Ilana Moir said in a statement. “It has been a pleasure working with Sandy and Roy, and we look forward to our continued connection with them as they ranch and care for their property.”