The Trust for Public Land Announces Protection of 2,000-acre Taylor-Oswald Ranch

Today, The Trust for Public Land, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), and San Isabel Land Protection Trust announce the protection of the 2,727-acre Taylor-Oswald Ranch in Fremont County. 

The Trust for Public Land, in partnership with San Isabel, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service will protect the Taylor-Oswald Ranch, a working ranch next to the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness in Fremont County. Placing a conservation easement on the property will permanently protect its significant wildlife corridors, water resources and scenic vistas from U.S. 50. 

“The Upper Arkansas Valley is home to amazing natural resources and our goal is to use the protection of the Taylor-Oswald Ranch to inspire future conservation projects in the region,” said Carrie Kasnicka, project manager for The Trust for Public Land. “Preserving this land both honors the legacy of agriculture in the region and preserves an important native ecosystem.” 

The ranch encompasses 122 acres of productive irrigated meadows and native wetlands, miles of Arkansas River tributaries, and provide habitat for bird species of concern, such as bald eagle, ferruginous hawk, willow flycatcher, prairie falcon and others. The property is also home to both summer and winter concentration areas for elk and mule deer, as well as pronghorn, wild turkey, mountain lion, black bear, and bobcat. 

“The ability to donate and protect this land recognizes the generations of hard-working people who came before us,” said landowners Steve and Nancy Oswald. “Our hope is that others will be able to continue the traditions of agriculture and land stewardship for years to come.” 

Great Outdoors Colorado has awarded San Isabel Land Protection Trust $525,000 to help protect the ranch and NRCS generously provided $1,000,000 in funding for the project. 

“It is possible for ranching operations to thrive, even in drought conditions. The Taylor-Oswald Family’s operation is a shining example of what’s possible,” said Clint Evans, NRCS State Conservationist in Colorado. “Their unconventional weed management, grazing, and forestry practices, as well as the grass-fed programs compliment their traditional riparian restoration efforts.  It’s a high-quality operation with mostly native plants and grasses and minimal invasive species. All of which are important to the host of wildlife, threatened an endangered species, birds of conservation concern, and species of greater conservation need found throughout the landscape.” 

“Congrats to project partners, the Oswald family, and our fellow Coloradans, as we all benefit from this conservation victory in the Upper Arkansas Valley,” said GOCO Executive Director Jackie Miller. “Local residents, Coloradans traveling by, and wildlife passing through will reap the benefits for years to come.”

“It has been an honor to work with Steve and Nancy on this important conservation project. The Oswald family’s commitment to Colorado and leadership in southern Colorado has brought attention to the important resources – natural and cultural – of this unique part of the state,” said Erik Glenn, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust Executive Director. “Conserving the Taylor-Oswald Ranch builds on the growing agriculture and conservation legacy of the Oswald family and many other families along the Arkansas River who have committed to conserving their farms and ranches for the benefit of future generations of Coloradans.” 

“We are very excited to be a part of the Taylor-Oswald conservation easement,” said Larry Vickerman, president of the San Isabel Land Protection Trust Board of Directors. “The ranch provides an excellent example of regenerative management that we can all learn from and aspire to. Their innovative grazing and forestry programs, direct marketing of grass-fed beef and low-tech riparian restoration projects increase the sustainability of their operation and demonstrate that conservation, including easements, helps ensure long-term viability of agricultural operations throughout Colorado.” 

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