The Trust for Public Land and The Nature Conservancy in Colorado have reached an agreement to acquire Crazy French Ranch. Best known for containing Fisher’s Peak, the unique and scenic 30-square mile property is located immediately south of Trinidad, Colorado.
The organizations have been collaborating with the City of Trinidad and other partners to secure the property with the goal of conserving the region’s outstanding wildlife habitat while providing public access and supporting the local economy.
“The ranch embodies the amazing history of this area, we look forward to conserving that for future generations,” said Mayor Phil Rico. “We are also excited about the economic opportunities that public lands and recreation can bring to our community.”
Capped by towering volcanic cliffs, the ranch’s rugged topography is made up of forests, grasslands, wetlands and streams. Local populations of elk, mule deer, black bear, mountain lion and bobcat among others are supported by the intact nature of this property. Fisher’s Peak, a well-known natural landmark and the highest point in the U.S. east of Interstate 25, is located on the property.
“Fisher’s Peak is an iconic landmark for the city of Trinidad, but the public currently can’t access the peak without a long, tough hike from Sugarite State Park in New Mexico,” said Jim Petterson, the Trust for Public Land’s Southwest and Colorado Director. “This remarkable property is the first thing you see when you enter Colorado on I-25 from the south. We are thrilled at the prospect of one day soon seeing the property open to the public.”
The project was initiated by the city of Trinidad as a way to grow their recreation economy. Protection of Fisher’s Peak Ranch and future public access will present new opportunities for local businesses and help secure a sustainable economy for the town well into the future.
Together the Fisher’s Peak Project partners envision a property where conservation of the landscape’s wondrous natural resources are married with well-managed recreational access and educational use. This project will also preserve the cultural and natural history and identity of the area.
“The potential for this project is huge,” said Carlos Fernandez, The Nature Conservancy’s Colorado State Director. “Conservation and recreation can go hand-in-hand with thought out planning. We are excited to work with the local community and other stakeholders to ensure that this incredible opportunity realizes its full potential.”
With an agreement reached to acquire the Fisher’s Peak property, The Trust for Public Land and TNC are now focused on raising the private and public funds necessary to complete the purchase. They have already received an initial grant of $7.5 million from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), while Colorado Parks and Wildlife has recently pledged an additional $7 million.
“GOCO is proud to be a partner in making this large-scale, once-in-a-lifetime land conservation effort possible. Conserving this iconic property means the permanent protection of Fisher’s Peak, Trinidad’s stunning mountain backdrop and unique, local identifier. It also ensures a vast area of connected, conserved lands and wildlife habitat in the region,” said GOCO Executive Director Chris Castilian.
As fundraising progresses, the project partners have begun work with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, GOCO, Trinidad State Junior College and members of the public to develop a plan for the future use of the property, including infrastructure needs, recreation opportunities and other uses all designed to protect and enhance the property’s natural resources they are coming to enjoy.
Over 150 members of the community contributed ideas and feedback at an Initial public information gathering last month. For more information on this planning process please visit: https://www.facebook.com/Fisherspeakranch/
Until the project partners have completed the acquisition of the property and a plan for the property has been developed, the ranch will remain closed to the public.
About The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. To date, the Conservancy in Colorado has helped protect one million acres and one thousand river miles. You can learn more about The Nature Conservancy at www.nature.org/Colorado.
About The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org.