Working Lands

Work boots in a field

Photo by Jo Gravely

Did you know that an estimated 40% of America’s land is used for agriculture? Or that forests cover roughly a third of the country? We need “working” lands like these for food, jobs and more. We support ranchers, farmers, foresters and entrepreneurs who operate, or use, working lands sustainably. By doing so, we improve local economies, conserve landscapes and maintain generations of tradition.  

Buckeye Forest Polaris04491080_(c)_Michael-Macor_390x260

Buckeye Forest (formerly known as Preservation Ranch) is the latest installment in The Conservation Fund’s North Coast Forest Conservation Initiative. In 2013, our Working Forest Fund, with support from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, enabled the purchase of the nearly 20,000-acre property… Read More

NCIF Loan Helps Stacy Family Farm Grow Stacy Family

The Stacy family can date their Ohio agricultural roots back to 1899, when Albert and Lina Frost Stacy purchased land outside of Marietta for dairy production and orchard harvesting. Today, Stacy Family Farm is owned by Bill, known as “Farmer Stacy,” and… Read More

With NCIF, Curtis Branch Grows His Farm Curtis Branch, Farmer in North Carolina

Curtis Branch grows wheat, soybeans and corn on his Murfreesboro, North Carolina farm, a 240-acre property that has been in his family for generations. Farming can be risky business. In addition to nature’s weather swings, small, independent farmers like Curtis face… Read More

Upper Green River Valley Initiative cattle ranch

The Conservation Fund and a host of partners launched the Upper Green River Valley Initiative in 2008 to conserve and enhance key wildlife habitat and agricultural lands in the region. To date, we have worked with numerous public and private… Read More

Support For Wyoming Family Ranches And The Sage Grouse greater sage grouse

Greater sage-grouse populations have significantly declined throughout their range, including Wyoming, where 54% of the world’s remaining sage grouse can be found. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently considering listing the species as endangered under the Endangered Species… Read More

Budd Ranches, Inc. Budd Ranch

The Fund helped with the conservation and expansion of one of the oldest operating ranches held by one family located near the town of Big Piney in the Green River Valley. Budd Ranches, Inc. is owned and managed by fourth generation… Read More

Carney Ranch (CRC Ranch) Pronghorn antelope running

Carney Ranch forms the most important piece of the Path of the Pronghorn’s “Funnel Bottleneck” for pronghorn antelope migrating from as far north as Grand Teton National Park. The property features the only bottleneck occurring on private lands—and the most… Read More

Tackling Food Deserts In Michigan Girl at farmer's market

What are you having for dinner? Imagine trying to answer that question if you couldn’t get to a grocery store all week. That’s the reality for more than 23 million Americans who live in “food deserts.” According to the U.S…. Read More

Ann Arbor Greenbelt Initiative Ann Arbor Greenbelt Initiative

We’re helping to implement the Ann Arbor Greenbelt Initiative, a far-reaching project designed to protect and link city parks, natural areas and working farms throughout the city, while curbing the growth and effects of sprawl surrounding the city. For a… Read More

Garcia River Forest Garcia River Forest, Northern California

In 2004, when we purchased the Garcia River Forest, a nearly 24,000-acre expanse of redwood and Douglas fir forests along the Garcia River, we created California’s first large nonprofit-owned working forest. Garcia River Forest comprises one-third of the watershed of… Read More

Big River And Salmon Creek Forests Big River Forest California

Our acquisition of 16,000 acres of redwood and Douglas firs surrounding Big River and Salmon Creek ensures that these forests will be protected permanently from fragmentation, development and conversion to non-forest uses. Sustainable Forest Management Across both forests, we have… Read More

Usal Redwood Forest View of Pacific ocean from Usal Forest

Almost twice the size of San Francisco, the 50,000-acre Usal Redwood Forest, in Mendocino County, is a classic sweep of California coastline. Here, stands of redwood and Douglas fir trees mix with more varied forests, oak woodlands and streams. Beneath… Read More

Gualala River Forest Mouth of the Gualala River

Next door to our Garcia River Forest, the 14,000-acre Gualala River Forest shares its remarkable canopy of redwoods and Douglas firs. Beneath these magnificent trees, the Gualala River courses across the property, providing important spawning habitat for coho salmon and… Read More

Brule-St.Croix Legacy Forest Brule St. Croix Legacy Forest

We’re working to create the 68,000-acre Brule-St.Croix Legacy Forest, slated to become Wisconsin’s largest conservation project. By preserving this sustainably managed working forest, we’re protecting public access to trails, clean water, small lakes and key habitat. In 2012, we completed… Read More

Upper Mississippi Forest Project Forest in autumn, Minnesota

In July, 2010, we celebrated the largest conservation deal in Minnesota history: We completed a working forest conservation easement with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Blandin Paper Company (UPM) that forever protects nearly 188,000 acres of Northwoods forests, wetlands… Read More

Success Pond Mahoosuc Mountains

The people and land are inexorably linked in North Country New Hampshire, with no greater example than in the Mahoosuc Range and White Mountains, along the Androscoggin River, a landscape that has defined life and provided livelihoods in this region… Read More

Greenland Ranch Greenland Ranch

The oldest operating cattle ranch along the Rocky Mountains in Colorado is also one of the state’s biggest conservation success stories. The 21,000-acre Greenland Ranch, south of Denver, has the soft rolling hills, mesas and rugged views that define Colorado’s… Read More

Snead Farm Pumpkin picking at Snead Farm

In 2011, we helped with a land preservation agreement that permanently protects the 290-acres of Emmett Snead III’s pick-your-own style farm in eastern Virginia near Fredericksburg. Under this agreement, Snead Farm will continue to maintain its use as a working… Read More

Camden Farm Camden Farm

The Pratt family has lived at Camden Farm for seven generations. Today, John Pratt and his family live in the historic home on the property, which dates to 1859.  Much of the original house remains including furniture, draperies, carpeting, light… Read More

Missouri River Recovery Program Bank fo the Missouri River in Nebraska

The Fund has helped conserve thousands of acres along the Missouri River in Nebraska as part of the Missouri River Recovery Program. Stretching more than 2,300 miles from Three Forks, Montana, to St. Louis, Missouri, where it joins the Mississippi… Read More

Baltimore County, Doing More With Less Baltimore conservation map

With one of the nation’s most established farmland preservation efforts, Baltimore County in 2006 reached a major milestone: preserving 40,000 acres of farmland, half its overall goal. But how would the County accomplish the rest, with limited funds? The Baltimore County… Read More

Fish Creek Flying W Ranches Ranchlands at Fish Creek Flying W Ranch, Wyoming

The Fund worked with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department on a land conservation agreement that secures key wildlife habitat of the Fish Creek Flying W Ranches near Big Piney. Two conservation easements now permanently preserve vital big game winter… Read More

Gooseberry Creek Conservation Project Elk in Yellowstone National Park

The Gooseberry Creek Conservation Project is among the first large-scale, watershed-based voluntary conservation initiatives in Wyoming and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Yellowstone National Park and surrounding national forest lands are considered the largest functioning ecosystem in the lower forty-eight states. The… Read More