Local land trust announces new conservation easement near Kremmling | SkyHiNews.com

Local land trust announces new conservation easement near Kremmling

The Elk's Vista Conservation Easement
Steffe family/Courtesy Photo

In mid-July Colorado Headwaters Land Trust received yet another conservation easement in Grand County, providing more protection for public lands and open space in the region. The 125-acre Elk’s Vista easement lies west of Kremmling and borders the Routt National Forest.

Landowners Herb and Kathleen Steffe donated the easement, which, according to land trust executive director Jeremy Krones means the conservation values of the land (i.e. development rights and subdivision rights). Financial assistance (for things like the land appraisal, survey, minerals report and other pertinent research and documentation) came from Grand County’s Open Lands, Rivers, and Trails fund and Colorado Headwaters Land Trust.

The Steffes have owned the property at least in part since 2007 as a recreational escape. They wanted to conserve it to provide wildlife habitat in the mixed conifer forest and to protect the scenic viewsheds of the Kremmling region and neighboring public lands. The property and surrounding area have a long history of use and exploration. This rich history further contributes to its conservation value, said Krones.

Krones added that conservation easements benefit both the individual landowner as well as the community.

“For the landowner, easements are a voluntary tool the landowner chooses to use to protect their land and resources in perpetuity – that is, forever – against overdevelopment and overuse,” he said. “Easements help landowners maintain autonomy over their land, especially as developmental pressures threaten the ways of life we all enjoy on our open spaces: ranching, hunting, skiing, hiking, birdwatching . . . . Easements protect not only the natural elements, but the culture and activities that come with them.”

Many people move to Grand County because of its open spaces, bountiful wildlife and free-flowing waters, and Krones said conservation easements help maintain those aspects of our region. “Easements protect the long and ongoing history of ranching in Middle Park, as well as the viewsheds around the ski resort,” he said.

“They provide migration corridors and protected habitat for moose, elk, bear and a great many other species of both plants and animals of the Central Rockies. Easements also can work to defend our water resources, both in terms of individual water rights and the quality of the rivers and waterways that make up this headwaters region,” he added.

The Elk’s Vista Conservation Easement can be seen, albeit from a distance, from the Town of Kremmling, said Krones. He noted that Kremmling is growing, just like Winter Park and Fraser, and given the pressures from Steamboat and Silverthorne, the Elk’s Vista property, along with many nearby, could be threatened with development in a few short years. But by protecting the Elk’s Vista, which is contiguous with public land and nearby other conservation easements, the current and future residents and visitors of Kremmling can continue to enjoy the natural beauty of the region for years to come.

“We are thrilled to have closed on this easement,” said Krones. “Especially with its proximity to the Enter Conservation Easement and other conserved public lands, we are very appreciative to the Steffes for keeping the health of Grand County’s natural character in mind. Their generosity and conservation ethic led them to work with us on a conservation easement that will benefit the entire community for many, many years to come.”

The Elk’s Vista Conservation Easement is the Colorado Headwaters Land Trust’s 66th easement since it began in 1995, and brings the total acres conserved by it in Grand County to 9,310.

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