Slash EV Ranch conserved by Colorado Cattlemen’s Ag Land Trust

RBC | The Slash EV Ranch along Colorado’s White River has been conserved in perpetuity by the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT). The project was made possible with the support from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and The Nature Conservancy. The 477-acre ranch is owned and operated by the Schultz family.

Sally Schultz’s family has been ranching in the White River Valley since the early 1940s. Both Sally’s dad and grandfather were cattlemen, and now her son Ty has taken over the family ranching operation. The Shultz’s purchased the Slash EV Ranch in 2013 to build on their existing agricultural property in the area. Made up almost entirely of lush hay meadows, the Slash EV is used to grow hay in the summer months and graze cattle in the fall. A portion of the cattle raised on the Slash EV are sold locally, and the ranch recently joined Country Natural Beef, a family-owned natural beef co-op.

Slash EV cattle share the ranch with local wildlife, who utilize the property as they migrate between public and private land along the river. The ranch borders the Black Mountain Wilderness Study Area for more than one mile and shares another mile of boundary with Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. Less than .02 miles separate the ranch from the state owned Piceance State Wildlife Area. In addition to its connectivity to public land, the Slash EV is noteworthy habitat for wildlife because it contains river frontage. The White River winds through the ranch for one mile, providing significant riparian habitat. The banks of the river are home to a narrowleaf cottonwood riparian forest – a globally rare forest. The property is also mapped by CPW as containing habitat for bald eagles (a State Species of Concern) and river otters (a State Threatened Species), as well as northwestern Colorado’s renowned deer and elk herds.

CCALT director of transactions, Molly Fales encourages all Coloradans to take note of Slash EV Ranch the next time they’re traveling along Highway 64 between Meeker and Rangely. “The property provides an iconic Colorado view of hay meadows and mesas and the chance to glimpse a bald eagle perched in a cottonwood tree or a sandhill crane feeding in the hayfield,” said Fales.

NRCS state conservationist in Colorado, Clint Evans added, “The partnership between the NRCS, landowners, and natural resource stakeholders like CCALT is the foundation for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program. ACEP is the tool we use to help conserve some of Colorado’s prime agricultural lands. The Slash EV Ranch is a 3rd generation cattle operation and we’re proud to play a role in keeping it sustainable for future generations.”

“This conservation easement provides protection for a variety of wildlife species including big game, small mammals, and birds that utilize the river corridor,” said CPW area wildlife manager, Bill de Vergie. “The Slash EV Ranch had real potential for development, so this conservation easement adds another valuable, protected property in the array of conserved lands in northwest Colorado.”

PRESS RELEASE | Special to the Herald Times