Eagle Valley Land Trust ranch tour on June 24 takes you to iconic sites
If You Go ...
What: Eagle Valley Land Trust’s annual ranch tour
When: Saturday, June 24.
Where: You’ll tour two iconic Eagle County ranches, the Haymeadow Ranch near Eagle and the Gates Ranch on Derby Mesa above Burns.
Cost: $100 per person for early registration; $110 after June 18. Scholarships are available.
More information: The Eagle Valley Land Trust’s goal is to preserve the community’s character, one acre at a time. The local conservation organization has been around for 30 years. Buy tickets by calling 970-748-7654, emailing email@example.com or online at evlt.org.
8:30 a.m. — Registration at the Eagle County fairgrounds parking lot, Eagle
9 a.m. — Buses depart
9:30 to 11 a.m. — Haymeadow Ranch, with a tour of the 1,500-acre Hardscrabble Ranch, proposed as Eagle County’s latest open space project.
Noon to 2 p.m. — Gates Ranch and lunch
4 p.m. — Return to Eagle
DERBY MESA — Kip and Marge Gates love it when company comes.
You get a chance to visit them on Saturday when this year’s Eagle Valley Land Trust ranch tour lands on the Gates Ranch on Derby Mesa. If you don’t know where Derby Mesa is, then you need to get off of the interstate … and that leads us back to the ranch tour.
“People need to be educated, and if we don’t educate them, they’ll never understand,” Kip said.
Kip’s great great grandfather, James P. Gates, homesteaded the land in the 1880s. James Gates came into the region to seek his fortune and started the stagecoach stop in Toponas. He was a fur trapper and gold prospector, big-game hunter, occasionally buffalo … and so much more.
“He climbed up that mountain and looked down into this valley and said, ‘I want to live there,’ and he did,” Kip said.
“I want people to see it. I take pride in this,” Kip said. “I want people to understand what open space really means.”
The Gates family put a conservation easement on the ranch in 2007 with the Eagle Valley Land Trust. They wanted to remain a working ranch, work being the operative word.
In the Gates family, “ranch” is not a real estate description, it’s a verb.
“Kip, Bud, Marge, Tell and their kids represent something unique in this world,” said Jim Daus, director of the Eagle Valley Land Trust. “By placing their property in a conservation easement, they will ensure that this lifestyle continues in perpetuity, as a way of life for us to learn about and learn from. It’s a culture from which we can take great pride and a measure of what it is to be an American.”
This year’s tour begins with the Haymeadow Ranch south of Eagle in the Brush Creek Valley. It might be one of your last chances to see it as John Love, George Wilkinson and Webb Frost saw it in 1880, when they drove 400 head of cattle into the Brush Creek Valley from Park County during a snowstorm.
Wilkinson and Frost spent the winter in a cabin on Brush Creek. Wilkinson was quite the cattleman and filed the first homestead patent in 1890. It will soon be the site of 800 homes as part of the Haymeadow development.
“They’re two amazing ranches with very different stories,” Daus said. “This is a unique opportunity for people to get a look at land they don’t normally get to see.”
When you’ve learned a bunch of wonderful stuff about the Haymeadow Ranch, you’ll take a tour of the neighboring Hardscrabble Ranch, 1,500 acres at the top of the wish list for local open space advocates.
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