This correspondence is in support of the conservation easement on the Bair Ranch property. As a member of the community I feel this is a prudent use of county open space tax dollars and as the Colorado state chairman for the Mule Deer Foundation, I will add that this is a great start for the preservation of habitat for our mule deer and other wildlife.
Open space to me means habitat protection and enhancement, period. My ability to walk my dog on it comes second. The Grand Junction Sentinel recently reported that Colorado’s Western Slope will be home to 800,000 people in 30 years.
Because most of our patented lands are valley bottoms which are critical winter habitat for deer and elk, we stand to lose significant wildlife resources unless we can utilize conservation easements such as this Bair Ranch project. As stewards of our lands, we have an ethical obligation to ensure habitat for the future of our wildlife.
Castle Peak Ranch north of Eagle is currently on the market for $39 million. Eagle County’s $2 million to purchase the development rights on Bair Ranch to ensure quality habitat is a great deal, plus we (the BLM) get over 500 acres to hunt and fish that we do not have now.
Two million dollars will get you only a few acres here and there if you purchase them. However, when we can secure the development rights on significant acreages with CONSERVATION EASEMENTS, we can really make a difference.
This is a complicated issue and there has been some misinformation, so please educate yourself and understand that if we lose this opportunity, it is most likely gone forever.