GRANBY — Colorado Headwaters Land Trust, formerly Middle Park Land Trust, kicked off 2014 with its acquisition of a new conservation easement as part of its Fraser River Initiative, a project the land trust launched in 2010 to protect the private lands along the threatened Fraser River.
Tabernash landowners William and Joyce Carpenter donated the Craglough House Estates Conservation Easement to the land trust in late December. This 80-acre conservation easement includes nearly three-quarters of a mile of the Fraser River and is located immediately south of the entrance to the Fraser River Canyon and adjacent to large tracts of Bureau of Land Management land.
Several miles on private property along the Fraser River are already protected with conservation easements and many more flow through U.S. Forest Service, BLM and municipal properties. The Land Trust is working with willing landowners to protect the remaining six miles of private property along the Fraser that do not have conservation easements.
“We are very excited to acquire the Craglough easement,” said Carse Pustmueller, Colorado Headwaters Land Trust Executive Director. “The Carpenter property is a high conservation priority for the land trust’s Fraser River Initiative. As part of this Initiative, we are working other landowners along the remaining six miles of the Fraser River that flow through unprotected private lands.”
The 32.5-mile long Fraser River begins its journey on Berthoud Pass and flows through the Fraser River Valley to join the Colorado River just north of Granby. The Colorado River also begins its journey in Grand County, north of Granby in Rocky Mountain National Park. These and other Colorado River headwaters in Grand County help create the spectacular scenic valleys that are a critical component to our economy, cultural heritage and quality of life.
The Land Trust’s primary land protection tool is the conservation easement, a voluntary legal document between the landowner and the land trust that identifies a property’s conservation values (such as scenic open space, wildlife habitat, agricultural open space) and permanently protects those values by restricting development. In exchange, the landowner can receive federal tax deductions and state tax credits based on the value of the easement.