A preserved section of souther Douglas County covering more than 17,000 acres will now be managed by a local conservation group after the property's easement was transferred on June 23. Drivers who …
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A preserved section of souther Douglas County covering more than 17,000 acres will now be managed by a local conservation group after the property's easement was transferred on June 23.
Drivers who enjoy the view from the undisturbed section of land on the east side of I-25 can rest assured that the new property manager, Colorado Cattlemen's Agricultural Land Trust, or CCALT, has only one priority: to maintain that landscape.
CCALT, which announced the transfer on July 13, was founded in 1995 and is based in Arvada.
The easement agreement, which is designed to remain with the land in perpetuity, restricts development on the privately owned property.
“What we do in practice is come out to every property at least once a year and tour the property to make sure the terms of the easement are being upheld,” said Molly Fales, CCALT director of conservation transactions.
Under the easement, laid out in 2000, there were 22 total residences permitted on the land and five bunkhouses, Fales said. After the transfer to CCALT, the restrictions were tightened, with only 18 residences and three bunkhouses allowed. Size restrictions for the houses were also added.
Currently, there are five residences and three bunkhouses on the land. Without the conservation easement, the land could have about 500 properties on it, Fales said.
For the first 20 years of the easement, The Conservation Fund and Douglas County managed the property, but the contract always planned for a transfer to a local organization.
“Our organization isn't in the business of holding easements long term,” said Sydney Macy, a consultant with The Conservation Fund.
The Greenland Ranch property is separate from the Greenland Open Space, which is across the interstate and owned by Douglas County.
“This transfer of the conservation easement doesn't have any impact on the open space,” said Cheryl Matthews, Douglas County's director of open space.
Without this 20-year-old easement, the landscape of southern Douglas County could be very different, said CCALT Executive Director Erik Glenn.
“I think everybody in Colorado has breathed a sigh of relief as houses and shopping centers end and you're back in rolling hills,” Glenn said. “As they make that drive north or south, what they will see forever will be those rolling grasslands, those beautiful mesas covered with oak brush. I think that's something truly remarkable that a group would come together and make sure that something like that exists in the future.”
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