Steel Ranch

OptOutsidePhoto credit: John Fielder

Just outside the town of Buena Vista, the 186-acre Steel Ranch has offered forage, clean water, and stunning views of the Collegiate Peaks for generations of Colorado residents and visitors. With its substantial water rights and over a half mile of frontage on the Arkansas River, the Steel Ranch plays an important role in the agricultural, ecological and scenic heritage of the Upper Arkansas Valley.

The Trust for Public Land purchased the development rights to the entire ranch, ensuring that the Steel Family can continue to own and work the land, while ensuring that its land and water rights will never be developed and will stay in ranching. The Trust for Public Land was able to secure future new public fishing access to the ranch’s half mile of frontage along the Arkansas River.

In recent years, Chaffee County has grown in popularity as a tourist destination and location for second homes, placing a greater strain on the working lands and water resources that help make the Valley such an attractive place to live and visit. Over the past several years, the Steel Family worked with the Trust for Public Land and the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust to permanently protect the entire ranch and ensure that they may continue to work the land well into the future.

The Trust for Public Land secured funding from the lottery-funded Great Outdoors Colorado and the Natural Resources Conservation Service's Agricultural Conservation Easement Program to purchase the conservation easement covering the entire property.

To date, nearly 4,000 acres of productive agricultural land and water rights have been protected in Chaffee County.

 

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Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 3.3 million acres and completed more than 5,400 park and conservation projects.