Ranch buyers have a tremendous opportunity
November 23, 2006
Thanks to the Perry family and two Carbondale-area residents, a large and important piece of property will remain undeveloped for the time being, and hopefully forever.The bulk of the Mt. Sopris Hereford Ranch, owned and operated for decades by the Perrys was purchased last week by Rodgers and Bailey. Rodgers purchased about 850 acres of grazing land, adding to her sizable ranch on Thompson Creek. Bailey, who raises horses on a significant amount of land near Carbondale, bought 302 acres on the floor of the Crystal River Valley. Bill Fales and Marj Perry, who together operate a ranch, ended up with 28 acres of the family ranch.Local conservationists are hoping that all or most of the ranch eventually is protected with conservation easements from most or all development. So do we.Aspen’s cachet is at an all-time high. Property values have reached astronomical levels. The pressure to subdivide and develop agricultural property between Aspen and Marble is tremendous.Many of the fields along Highway 82 that for more century were used to grow hay and graze cattle have been plowed under and covered with a new crop of pricey homes. A study undertaken last fall by The Aspen Times found that there are more than 6,000 approvals for yet-to-be-built homes between Glenwood Springs and Aspen.Fortunately, there have been a number of ranches in recent years that have been protected from development. The Child and Harvey ranches In the Capitol Creek drainage are prime examples. So is the Grange Ranch in Basalt. On Missouri Heights, the Strangs have put some of their land into conservation, and the McNulty family is bending over backward to protect its ranch from development. The Nieslanik family in Carbondale also has preserved significant portions of its land.Bailey and Rodgers will hopefully take similar steps to keep developers and their subdivisions at bay. They can sell conservation easements to conservation organizations, or take advantage of generous provisions in the federal tax code to protect their land without tapping public or nonprofit dollars. Either way, it’s important that their land be preserved. We hope they will give us all cause for more thanks in the coming years by preserving their land and our environment.The Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.