In the sweeping foothills outside Lander, Wyoming, the Conservancy is building momentum for a conservation project that will safeguard the 3 Bar X and Double A ranches from residential development.
Covering a combined 3,579 acres, both ranches provide critical winter habitat for wildlife. Mule deer, moose, elk and even sage-grouse need these lower elevation valleys to survive when the snow flies.
Both ranches are important for people, too, hosting traditional agricultural operations that span generations, and recreational opportunities like hunting and fishing.
In the face of mounting pressures from expanding housing developments, the Lander Front Project is the last, best chance to ensure that the 3 Bar X and Double A ranches remain viable, working places for nature and people in the years ahead.
Large ranches are just not part of this landscape anymore. In their place sits an expanding network of rural subdivisions springing up as more and more people move in to enjoy the Lander Foothills’ stunning scenery.
Fremont County has experienced dramatic increases in subdivision requests over the years, threatening important wildlife corridors, breeding, and winter range habitats.
What does this residential growth mean for wildlife?
“If we lose all of our winter ranges,” says Wyoming Game and Fish biologist Stan Harter, “we have less ability to support healthy populations.”
The mule deer, elk and other big game species that winter along the Lander Front move down from the nearby Wind River Mountains when the snow arrives.
At times, the 3 Bar X and Double A ranches support up to 250 wintering elk.
Throughout the Greater Yellowstone, lower-elevation lands mean survival for wildlife, especially in years of heavy snowfall.
Wildlife don’t follow property lines. To survive Wyoming’s long and sometimes harsh winters, big game species require large areas to feed and find shelter.
Today, the Conservancy and other groups have secured conservation agreements on 5,500 acres in the Lander Front area.
Finalizing similar conservation easements on the 3 Bar X and Double A ranches will complete a critical piece in this puzzle, connecting contiguous ranchlands for agriculture, open space and wildlife.
With several conservation easements already in place in the Lander Front, safeguarding the 3 Bar X and Double A ranches gives wildlife the space they need.
Both ranches connect to BLM and state lands. The Double A also adjoins Shoshone National Forest lands, further expanding the network of available habitat for wildlife.
To safeguard the 3 Bar X and Double A ranches, the Conservancy is fundraising to purchase the properties and secure both with conservation easements. The Conservancy will then sell the properties to a private conservation buyer or buyers.
Conservation easements are powerful, effective tools that protect land for future generations while allowing owners to retain many private property rights and live on and use their land for agriculture and other uses.
To learn how you can help join our effort to leave a lasting conservation legacy on the 3 Bar X and Double A ranches, contact Rita Faruki at email@example.com or 307-335-2132.
Are you a conservation-minded buyer? The ranches are on the market by the current owners, and as the Conservancy moves into ownership in mid-March 2012, the Conservancy will be looking for a buyer to purchase the ranches with the conservation easements in place. Please contact Randy Craft at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 307-335-2128 if you are interested in purchasing either property.December 14, 2011