La Garita Creek (Balloon) Ranch is conserved

VALLEY — Every two and a half minutes, the American West loses a football field worth of natural area to human development.

While this loss likely occurs at a slightly slower pace in the San Luis Valley, it is nevertheless a significant threat to the beloved wide open spaces, water, and way of life. This is why the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT) is excited to announce that the La Garita Creek Ranch (formerly known as the Balloon Ranch) in Saguache County is now protected under a conservation easement that will preserve the beauty of the ranch, its wildlife and agricultural uses for generations to come.

RiGHT worked hand-in-hand with the owner of the La Garita Creek Ranch on a voluntary agreement, called a conservation easement, to keep the ranch intact, and protect what makes it special, such as the unique archeological features on it, its exceptional wildlife habitat along a mile of La Garita Creek, and the climbing it offers in the northern part of the ranch. Under this new conservation easement, the ranch remains privately owned and will continue to be used as a guest ranch and a site for fly-ins, along with other mutually agreed upon uses.

“I’m a Colorado native and the West is growing, which is understandable because it is a great place to live and vacation,” said Nancy Butler, RiGHT’s executive director. “However, conservation easements offer a tool to protect the places that shouldn’t be and we don’t want over-developed.  That’s why we’re so excited about our conservation easement agreement with the landowner of the La Garita Creek Ranch. It’s a perfect example of why we do what we do.”

The conservation of the La Garita Creek Ranch was made possible by RiGHT’s donors, and funders including Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), the Gates Family Foundation, the LOR Foundation. To see a video about this project and to learn more about RiGHT, visit or “like” us on Facebook.

Caption: Shown is the beautiful conserved La Garita Creek Ranch, formerly known as the Balloon Ranch in Saguache County. The ranch was conserved through the efforts of the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust.

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