Here at Mirr Ranch Group, we are experts in conservation land for sale. We generally define conservation properties as those ranches that possess conservation values, which can mean a myriad of things. Ultimately, it’s up to the individual landowner to decide how best to protect the conservation values on their property. It may be through a conservation easement (CE) or it’s simply done through excellent stewardship of the land.
In this article, we’ll refresh your memory on common terms like conservation easements and conservation values, and then we’ll present the top available conservation land for sale in the western US.
What is a conservation easement?
According to our friends at Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, a conservation easement is:
A voluntary agreement between landowners and a qualified conservation organization that permanently limits the development and subdivision of properties. They typically have the following features:
- Easements are permanent and run with the land through any and all conveyances of the property.
- Each conservation easement is unique and is tailored to each landowner and each specific property.
- These agreements are used to conserve land in perpetuity and they are designed specifically to protect the conservation values of a property.
- While conservation easements restrict development and subdivision, they do not restrict the landowner’s ability to continue to use the land for traditional uses such as crop production, grazing, hunting, fishing, and low impact recreation.
- Conservation easements do not require public access.
What are Conservation Values?
Conservation values are the attributes of a property that are worthy of protection. These values range anywhere from critical migratory elk range to viewsheds near open space to productive prairie grass.
In general, most conservation values can be categorized into:
- Open Space,
- Wildlife Habitat,
- Agricultural Lands,
- Scenic Vistas,
- Ecological Resources,
- and Historic Properties.
Available Conservation Properties
With Wildlife Habitat
(Hot Springs County)
2,505+/- Deeded Acres
CE: Partially Encumbered by Wyoming Game and Fish
Conservation Values: Wildlife Habitat
Adjacent to the Washakie Wilderness, Owl Creek is a pristine wilderness that is partly protected and is ideal for future, further conservation.
(Rio Blanco County)
2,579 +/- Deeded Acres
Conservation Values: Wildlife Habitat, Ecological Resources
The property sits in a basin under Pyramid Peak and home to ponds, 2 miles of Bunker Creek, and riparian areas that provide water and feed for wildlife. The owners of Pyramid Peak Ranch work with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to maintain the elk and deer herds on the property.
137 +/- Deeded Acres
Conservation Values: Water, Ecological Resources
With a half-mile stretch of rare, totally private river, this ranch has the best of the rural Wild West with the convenience of quaint downtown Basalt only 2 miles away. No conservation easement and abundant water resources give this expansive rural acreage that is virtually surrounded by a state wildlife area a myriad of opportunities.
With Agricultural Lands
24,778 +/- Deeded Acres
CE: Fully Encumbered by Palmer Land Trust
Conservation Values: Agricultural Lands, Wildlife Habitat
Saved from the devastating effects of decades of overgrazing, the ~25,000 acre BX is a conservation success story and a model of progressive regenerative agricultural practices. Identified as critical shortgrass prairie in the unique Huerfano Uplands ecosystem, the ~25,000 acre BX Ranch is protected by a conservation easement held by the Palmer Land Trust.
12,400 +/- Deeded Acres
Conservation Values: Agricultural Lands, Water, Scenic Vistas, Timber
On the northern end of the famous Corcovado River valley and at the foot of the snow-capped Andes Mountains, the ranch is distinctly situated and very scenic. With 6 kilometers of the Corcovaco River, as well as a traditional cattle and timber operation, the current owners are excellent stewards of the land.
(Moffat and Rio Blanco Counties)
27,566 +/- Deeded Acres
CE: Partially Encumbered by Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust
Conservation Values: Agricultural Lands, Water, Ecological Resources, Wildlife Habitat
The property has incomparable conservation values with important wildlife habitat, water resources, riparian areas, native species, and dramatic scenery. The Lower Ranch sits just at the eastern end of Dinosaur National Monument with significant senior rights on the Yampa River and crucial habitat for elk, mule deer, pronghorn, and sage grouse.
With Open Space
692 +/- Deeded Acres
CE: Partially Encumbered by Colorado Open Lands
Conservation Values: Open Space, Agricultural Lands
With breathtaking views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the West, the ranch is graced with the mixed terrain and vegetation that typify Colorado’s Front Range foothills mountain park ecosystem. The ranch is protected by a Deed of Conservation Easement held by Colorado Open Lands. The easement covers 627 acres of the ranch and allows for two additional future building envelopes.
267 +/- Deeded Acres
Conservation Values: Open Space, Water, Wildlife Habitat
A compelling sporting retreat along the banks of the Gunnison River, the property offers 267 acres of prime hunting and fishing habitat with 0.9 miles of Gunnison River frontage, approximately 1.5 miles of Tongue Creek frontage, several springs, and water rights.
La Veta, Colorado
250 +/- Deeded Acres
Conservation Values: Open Space, Scenic Vistas, Water
Situated along the banks of the Smith Fork of the Gunnison River in the majestic North Fork Valley south of Aspen, Colorado, the renowned Smith Fork Ranch is surrounded on three sides by the Gunnison National Forest with only one other private property between it and the West Elk Wilderness Area.
With Scenic Vistas
Red Wing, Colorado
518 +/- Deeded Acres
Conservation Values: Scenic Vistas, Water
With approximately one mile of both sides of the Huerfano River and 1.2 miles of Manzanares Creek, the ranch adjoins public lands and offers a multitude of recreational opportunities.
80 +/- Deeded Acres
Conservation Values: Scenic Vistas
Eagle’s Nest is an ideal candidate for protection with 20 minutes from Vail Valley skiing, wholly unencumbered, end-of-the-road privacy and adjacent to Holy Cross Wilderness.
6,100 +/- Deeded Acres
CE: Partially Encumbered by San Isabel Foundation
Conservation Values: Scenic Vistas, Wildlife Habitat, Ecological Resources
The ranch has such important and critical natural habitat for plants and wildlife and attractive open space of a pristine natural character with magnificent scenic values that a conservation easement was placed on 800 acres near the headquarters.
With Ecological Resources
1,946 +/- Deeded Acres
Conservation Values: Ecological Resources, Water, Wildlife Habitat, Timber
Close to town and adjoining the Cascade-Siskiyou Monument, the ranch has important conservation values and provides the perfect blend of forests, grasslands, and shrubland with miles of creeks, irrigated meadows, and prime farmland soils.
Lago Verde, Chile
5,930 +/- Deeded Acres
Conservation Values: Ecological Resources, Water, Scenic Vistas, Agricultural Lands
This Chilean estancia offers 10 miles of river, 2 miles of lake frontage, and prime grasslands for cattle, with unencumbered views of Queulat National Park across the adjacent 5,466-acre glacial-fed Lago Verde.
Conservation land for sale comes in all shapes and sizes. While some is protected by a conservation easement, private landowners are also key in protecting conservation values on ranches. Whether we’re keeping working ranches working, or we are protecting the wildlife habitat for a specific animal species, there is a diverse variety of conservation properties available across the American West.