Huge land donation creates USA’s 558 National wildlife refuge22/09/2012 13:06:23 Donation of nearly 77,000-Acre establishes Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area
September 2012. The Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area has been declared the USA's 558th National Wildlife Refuge, thanks to the donation of nearly 77,000-acres in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains bordering the San Luis Valley by noted conservationist Louis Bacon.
"Following in the footsteps of our greatest conservationists, Louis Bacon's generosity and passion for the great outdoors is helping us to establish an extraordinary conservation area in one of our nation's most beautiful places," Secretary Salazar said. "This newest treasure in our National Wildlife Refuge System links together a diverse mosaic of public and private lands, protects working landscapes and water quality, and creates a landscape corridor for wildlife unlike any place in the world."
Largest donation ever to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
"We are too quickly losing important landscapes in this country to development- and I worry that if we do not act to protect them now, future generations will grow up in a profoundly different world," said Bacon. "This motivates me and is why I am proud to place Trinchera Ranch, Blanca's adjoining ranch, forever protecting it with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. I am also honoured to help Secretary Salazar and the US Fish and Wildlife Service create the Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area in Colorado's San Luis Valley. It is an area widely known for its cultural, geographic, wildlife and habitat resources, and this conservation area provides another opportunity to conserve it in perpetuity."
Largest privately owned ranch in Colorado
"Trinchera is such a spectacular property and the creation of the Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area allows us to protect this landscape, something that is truly special," said Colorado Open Lands Executive Director Pike. "It has been an honour to hold the conservation easement on Trinchera for nearly a decade. We look forward to being able to share best practices with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and are extremely excited about this innovative collaboration in land conservation."
"We're excited to see the results of this collaborative conservation effort come to fruition, thanks to the generosity of Louis Bacon and the strategic and inclusive planning efforts that serve the conservation needs of fish, wildlife and plants across the San Luis Valley landscape," said Director Ashe. "The Service has been working with landowners in the San Luis Valley on a locally-led voluntary cooperative partnership effort to conserve wildlife habitat and keep working lands working."
Under President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative to establish a 21st century conservation and outdoor recreation agenda, the Interior Department has spearheaded a series of voluntary partnerships with landowners to conserve rural landscapes while ensuring ranching, farming and other traditional ways of life remain strong. Conservation easements are only acquired from willing landowners.
These initiatives include new units of the National Wildlife Refuge System, such as the Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area in Kansas, the Dakota Grassland Conservation Area of South Dakota and North Dakota, and the Rocky Mountain Front Conservation Area in Montana.