16,500-acre Roberts Ranch donated to Larimer County

The Open Lands Advisory Board will take action Jan. 3 on accepting a gift of an approximate 16,500-acre property in the Livermore Valley (areas north of Owl Canyon Road) known as the Roberts Ranch.


The Roberts Ranch was homesteaded by the Roberts Family in 1874 and is an active cattle ranch owned solely by Catherine Roberts. The agricultural, natural and cultural resource values are protected via two conservation easements put in place by Roberts in 2004 and 2006. The 2004 easement is held by The Nature Conservancy and the City of Fort Collins, and the 2006 by just The Nature Conservancy. The property was part of the Laramie Foothills Mountain to Plains conservation project, and is identified as a priority in the 2001 Larimer County Open Lands Master Plan.

Through this donation Roberts intends to honor her late husband, Evan Roberts’ wishes of maintaining the agricultural and historical integrity of this working cattle ranch. She also intends to donate personal items and artifacts for a future, on-site agricultural museum featuring the Roberts family, as well as 30 shares of North Poudre Irrigation Company water rights, all cattle, cars, and ranch equipment. Stipulations of the gift include the naming of the property as “The Roberts Ranch,” honoring the conditions of the conservation easements including the inability to subdivide the land, and reserving a residential life estate for her use. Should the County ever opt to divest itself of the property, any and all proceeds would be invested in conservation organizations, activities or projects.

From this working ranch, Larimer County Open Lands envisions public benefits that do not adversely impact the natural and agricultural values, such as guided agricultural education tours, limited hunting and fishing, and limited public access to be determined by type, timing, location, etc. If this project is approved, the County will embark on a public management planning process to solicit feedback and ideas from neighbors, the Livermore community and the citizens of Larimer County. The County intends to continue the significant natural resource stewardship and research projects already taking place through grants and partnerships on the ranch.

The Roberts Ranch is rich in natural, agricultural, cultural and historic values. This includes globally and state-rare plants and plant communities, a vast array of wildlife, riparian areas, and golden eagle nest sites. Significant cultural features such as tipi rings, hearths, points, and buffalo jumps are also present, as are original homestead buildings, historic water diversion structures, portions of the Cherokee/Overland Trail, Signature Rock and features associated with our western heritage. It was designated as a Centennial Ranch in 1986 by the State Historical Society.

The Larimer County Open Lands Advisory Board will meet on January 3, 2013, at the Larimer County Courthouse Offices at 200 W. Oak Street, Fort Collins. The meeting will be in the Boyd Lake Room on the first floor from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m., with the public component starting at 6 p.m. All meetings are open to the public.

Open Lands Advisory Board recommendations for this are scheduled to be heard by the County Commissioners at Administrative Matters on Jan. 8, 2013, a public meeting. All funds for the long-term management of this project will come from the 1/4-cent Help Preserve Open Spaces initiative that provides funding for conservation and recreation for Larimer County and each municipality.

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