Fort Collins Natural Areas and Great Outdoors Colorado have partnered with Larimer County Department of Natural Resources (LCDNR) to conserve 428 acres of the 2,225-acre Quarter Circle Lazy H Ranch, which is owned by Chris and Janeth Hansen, via conservation easement in north Larimer County. This particular conservation easement is located within the Livermore Land Conservation Priority Area identified in the Larimer County Open Lands Master Plan and along the Red Feather Lakes Road (W. County Road 74E) corridor.
“We have a master plan that we developed with very extensive public and community engagement and that master plan highlights specific priority areas for land conservation throughout Larimer County[…]We went through a strategic exercise a few years ago to determine within these priorities areas what are the opportunities around land conservation that meet the types of values we’re trying to conserve: where do we still have intact native vegetation communities? Where do we still have viable agricultural lands? Where do we still have significant opportunities to buffer other conserved lands and create larger wholes,” said Meegan Flenniken, Land Conservation, Planning & Resource Division Manager with Larimer County Natural Resources.
“In Colorado, there are impressive tax advantages to donating a conservation easement. A landowner can donate the value of a conservation easement and receive 90% of the value in tax credits that they can either use themselves or they can sell over a period of time. This new tax legislation passed about a year ago and provide a great additional tool to bolster land conservation,” added Flenniken.
The Quarter Circle Lazy H Ranch easement provides a significant buffer to and connection between public lands including Cherokee State Wildlife Area and other conservation easements. In addition, the conservation easement protects key values including wildlife habitat, streams, agriculture production, and important scenic viewsheds.
The Quarter Circle Lazy H Ranch has been in the Hansen family for decades and has been primarily used for cattle grazing and hay production. Approximately 80 acres of the property are irrigated as hay fields. Landowner water rights will be restricted by the conservation easement to ensure they support the ranch’s conservation values into the future. In addition, the conservation easement will protect native foothills grasslands and shrublands, portions of Lone Pine Creek and Rabbit Creek, and provide key habitats for wildlife including the federally threatened Preble’s meadow jumping mouse.
“This ranch offers tremendous values including habitat, agriculture, and the iconic viewshed along Red Feather Lakes Road. Conserving the ranch into perpetuity provides many community benefits for today and into the future,” said Daylan Figgs, Director, Larimer County Natural Resources.
To date, LCDNR has conserved 54,163 acres of land in Larimer County. For more information, please visit larimer.org/naturalresources/openlands.
The Department of Natural Resources manages Larimer County’s great outdoor places, including open spaces and magnificent water-based recreation areas, and fosters responsible land stewardship through weed management and healthy forest practices. To learn more, visit larimer.org/naturalresources.