Jo Semotan: Support 1A | SteamboatToday.com

Jo Semotan: Support 1A

The continuing influx of people buying up ranch and agricultural lands throughout the county means the preservation of the remaining open lands should be of utmost importance. Increasingly, local ranchers are having to make the difficult choice whether to subdivide or continue to work the land for modest profit. The opportunity to put the land into a conservation easement offers a compromise, an exchange of certain land-sales revenues by the owner for the preservation of ranch lands, their agricultural viability and ensuring the beauty of their open space, hopefully forever.

My family has been ranching in Routt County since homesteading here in the late 1800s. I am grateful and proud that my grandfather’s homestead at the headwaters of Deep Creek has been preserved in conservation easement since 1997. My parents, Quentin and Evelyn Semotan’s ranch at Moon Hill, where I grew up, was preserved in 2000.

I now reside on what is left of the Semotan Ranch legacy and am myself in the process of preserving the remaining acreage, just less than 200 acres in Long Gulch, through the Yampa Valley Land Trust conservation easement program. This allows the ranch to continue to be a working cattle ranch and preserves the land for future generations of my family.

Without the continued support of the citizens of Routt County for Referendum 1A, this opportunity for open space preservation will not be available for other ranchers or future Routt County families such as my own. I truly believe as we travel through Routt County and see the people, cattle, horses and wildlife on our ranch lands, we consciously and subconsciously connect to our community, one rich with western heritage and one we should all strive to preserve.

The Routt County Ranchlands and Natural Areas measure is a most important tool in raising funds to continue this land conservation work.

Please vote “yes” for 1A, to renew our land preservation program and help ensure our communities unique character for generations to come.

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Jo Semotan and family

North Routt County