Ranching property conserved

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More than 560 acres of Routt County ranchland will be preserved through a county program, according to the Yampa Valley Land Trust.

The land trust, a nonprofit land conservation organization, worked with Cynthia Crawford to conserve 568 acres of the C-Cross-C Ranch, formerly the Crawford Ranch. The transaction closed this month.

In the fall, voters approved the renewal and expansion of the county's Purchase of Dev--elopment Rights, or PDR, program, which uses a 1.5-mill property tax to preserve ranchlands and other natural areas.

The C-Cross-C Ranch, which makes up about 2,100 acres, is southeast of Oak Creek. It is adjacent to other conserved properties and is close to Stagecoach State Park.

One of the two conserved parcels is 99 acres and is along one mile of the Yampa River. The land is a riparian area, and wildlife includes bald eagles, great blue heron and sandhill cranes.

The other parcel, which is 469 acres, is forest on Thorpe Mountain. It supports mule deer, elk, mountain lions, black bears and other species. The parcel is contiguous to another conservation easement.

The conservation easements are legal agreements between Crawford and the Land Trust. Crawford will own and manage the property, but she relinquished the rights to develop on the property.

Susan Dorsey Otis, executive director of the land trust, said she was happy to work with Crawford.

"It is incredibly rewarding to work with landowners such as Cynthia Crawford that are so firmly dedicated to land conservation," she said.

Crawford thanked Otis and the PDR board members for their hard work. Crawford dedicated the easement to the memory of her father, John L. "Jack" Crawford, who grew up on the ranch and ranched it.

"I believe it's the right thing to do," Cynthia Crawford said. "He loved this ranch. He always said he would live forever, and now he will."

The PDR program, in partnership with the Land Trust, the Nature Conservancy and the city of Steamboat Springs, has helped fund conservation easements on 8,630 acres.

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