Working closely with Eagle County, The Conservation Fund recognized that leaving Hardscrabble Ranch an undeveloped working ranch would bring economic and environmental benefits to both local communities and the state. When it went up for sale, the Fund used its legal, real estate and environmental expertise to purchase Hardscrabble Ranch. The land was then permanently protected under a conservation easement held by the Eagle Valley Land Trust, which restricts development but allows ranching operations to continue and recreational uses to be added. The Fund transferred the ranch to Eagle County Open Space for perpetual stewardship. Substantial funding from Eagle County and Great Outdoors Colorado, a state agency that invests lottery proceeds to preserve Colorado’s natural and recreation spaces, made this project possible. In addition, local partners—the Town of Eagle, Eagle Ranch Wildlife Committee, and Eagle Valley Land Trust—all committed funds to complete this project.

Why This Project Matters

Hardscrabble Ranch, which has been in working order since the late 1800s, will remain the scenic centerpiece of this valley, preserving the ranch’s decades-old history. In addition, the ranch will now be used by the community as a recreation space for biking, hiking, fishing and wildlife viewing, with trails connecting the ranch to adjacent Bureau for Land Management lands and to the nearby Town of Eagle.

Harscrabble Ranch is located in a valley that provides movement corridors and habitat for big game and other wildlife. Development of the ranch would have meant tens of thousands of additional car trips each year and the potential for hundreds of new homes in the valley. We’re proud to have helped Eagle County achieve a better use for the land—one that serves residents, the local economy and the environment.

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