Richard Tremaine: Support 1A
October 11, 2005
I am writing to support approval for Referendum 1A, to preserve Routt County ranchlands and natural areas. This is a proven program that provides seed money for major land conservation efforts throughout the county, and a yes vote will continue this effort in the critical years ahead.
As the owner of a ranch property near Hayden, our family’s company had an interest in preserving the land in agriculture and open space, while allowing for some limited future family use — especially for a grandson and a granddaughter.
However, we knew that it would be a major, costly effort to get this accomplished, because of the survey, mineral and appraisal information that would be required, to say nothing of the time and legal fees.
We thought that we had to choose between investing in ranch improvements (such as ponds, a hay barn, and a lot of fencing), or investing in studies and surveys that might allow us to donate a valuable conservation easement. When we looked at the choice, we thought that we needed to invest in the physical improvements. It just made more sense to put our resources directly into bettering the property.
We changed course when we found that we could probably get some limited funding support from the county, through its land preservation program.
Ultimately, we were able to gift a substantial easement to The Nature Conservancy and were able to make most of the planned improvements to our property. We were able to achieve our personal objectives and preserve some land and opportunity for our grandchildren, while protecting the land’s value for livestock and wildlife.
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In summary, the county’s program worked exactly the way it was supposed to for our project. It effectively primed the pump with a little cash, and ultimately encouraged us to donate an easement with substantial value. It is a program whose benefits far outdistance its costs, and it deserves our support.