A Quarter Century of Conservation at Phantom Canyon

It’s been 25 years since The Nature Conservancy purchased Phantom Canyon Preserve, 1,120 rugged acres cradling the North Fork of the Cache la Poudre River. Heather Knight, the Conservancy’s Laramie Foothills Project Director, talks about our important work in this spectacular part of Colorado.

What's special about Phantom Canyon?

Heather Knight:

The canyon is one of the last remaining large roadless canyons in Colorado’s Front Range. Because it spans the transition from shortgrass prairie to the Rocky Mountains, it contains incredible variety in habitats, plants and wildlife. It’s home to mountain lions, black bears, bobcats, bald eagles, and more than 100 other species of birds, as well as 600 species of plants.

What has the Conservancy done in this area during the past 25 years?

Heather Knight:

We’ve played a key role in developing a private–public collaborative partnership that reaches across the entire North Fork of the Cache la Poudre watershed. Through the partnership, we’re doing conservation work on a 22-mile-wide area that supports ranching families as well as wildlife. Together, we’ve done flow restoration, managed invasive weeds, created habitat conservation plans, and developed prescribed grazing and prescribed fire plans.

What's in store for the next 25 years?

Heather Knight:

One priority is to develop new tools for land management that will ensure ongoing sustainable use of our natural resources. This is the last watershed on Colorado’s northern Front Range that still supports ranching livelihoods that provide local food for growing urban communities. Supporting good stewardship practices ensures healthy land and water for people and wildlife for generations to come.


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