Nancy Graves:Xcel and the Carpenter Ranch
As a private citizen, I took early retirement in 1998 from a marketing job in Connecticut specifically to volunteer for the Carpenter Ranch. I made this decision as an individual not knowing anyone in Steamboat Springs but believing strongly in what The Nature Conservancy was doing at the Carpenter Ranch. In the seven years that have transpired, my belief in and admiration for these efforts have only grown.
Working closely with its ranching partners, the Carpenter Ranch has worked rigorously to control invasive weeds, refine haying procedures to protect nesting bobolinks and revegetate riverbanks with cottonwood seedlings, to site just a few examples.
Conservation easement is a constructive vehicle used to protect land from development, as well as preserve specific conservation values unique to individual properties. This latter feature was well illustrated in the article in the Steamboat Today last Friday, concerning Kurt Frentress’ property in Hayden and its importance grouse.
Xcel’s Proposed Alternative 2A is unacceptable for many reasons, particularly the following:
n the obligation to honor the commitment made to the Carpenter family, the 1,500 private donors, as well as public sponsors when The Nature Conservancy purchased the ranch.
n the ensuing degradation of wildlife habitat and wetlands, compromising of the economic viability of the ranch and its historic designation should the rail spur be allowed.
Any violation of this conservation easement would fly in the face of values expressed in such public documents as the Routt County Open Lands Plan, the 2003 Routt County Master Plan, the 2000 Hayden Comprehensive Plan and the 2004 Hayden Visioning Forum.
It is my hope and expectation that Routt County and the Yampa Valley Land Trust, as holders of the conservation easement for The Carpenter Ranch, will not allow this easement to be violated by the proposed railroad spur. Any such violation would have broad implications on the validity of conservation easements as a protection tool.
I trust the county will carefully weigh the broad ramifications of this proposal and deny the application.
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Resort will open Tuesday with over 70 acres of terrain including three lifts and 12 trails, according to a release from the resort Saturday.