Expanding efforts to keep ‘cows over condos’ are protecting land across the West ~ The Washington Post

Ty Turecek feeds the horses on his family’s Colorado ranch, which includes several thousand acres protected in perpetuity through a conservation easement. (Matthew Staver for The Washington Post)
April 11, 2020 at 5:00 a.m. MDT



DEER TRAIL, Colo. — Through dusty binoculars, rancher Keven Turecek surveyed dozens of black Angus heifers grazing under a midday sun on the undulating plains. Real estate speculators from Denver frequently make offers for his expansive spread just 63 miles east of downtown. He keeps telling them: He’s not selling. Nor are his neighbors.

Turecek and six other local ranchers have signed legally binding agreements with land trusts and government agencies to permanently restrict most development on their property. Collectively, the agreements are protecting some 86 square miles of shortgrass prairie considered among the world’s most endangered ecosystems.

“From here to the horizon, that’s all conserved,” said Turecek, who, like his neighbors, received tax breaks and grants in exchange for the deed restrictions. “This will always be a ranch, whether we run it or someone else. They can’t plow it, they can’t build on it, and they can’t subdivide it.”

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