It's one of the most remote areas of land in Mesa County, home to one of the signature species of the West...and today more than 1,800 acres of sagebrush and woodland on Glade Park became protected from development forever.
For ranchers Jay and Dori van Loan, it's the third conservation easement for the Mesa Land Trust on property they own. Today's agreement covers high range lands on the Colorado–Utah border, mostly on Pinyon Mesa and consisting of woodlands interspersed with sage brush parks.
A primary reason for protecting this property is to provide habitat protection for the endangered Gunnison Sage Grouse, but the land also contains quality habitat for deer, elk, bear and mountain lion as well as game birds and raptors. The Colorado Division of Wildlife will create a conservation management plan for the grouse.
This latest private land easement means more than half of Pinyon Mesa is protected from development, with more than 30,000 acres protected in the Glade Park area.
A conservation easement allows ranchers to keep their land as open space and remains in effect forever, even if the land is sold or transferred to other ownership. Land owners are often eligible for tax deductions as well as significant cuts in Estate taxes, which often allow farm and ranch land to stay with the family.