From rolling grasslands to dramatic mesas and Pikes Peak in the distance, travelers can still experience Colorado’s unspoiled beauty. But it’s more than just a nice view. This area along the highway provides a home for bighorn sheep, elk, black bears, mountain lions, pronghorn antelope, deer and a wide variety of birds and raptors.


The land has remained untouched thanks in large part to the I-25 Conservation Corridor Project, an ongoing effort of The Conservation Fund and Douglas County. Since 1994, we’ve strategically worked to conserve historic ranches and open space along this stretch of I-25 in southern Douglas County, one of the nation’s fastest growing counties. Through a combination of land acquisitions and conservation easements, we have protected more than 35,000 acres spanning 12 miles along the highway.

The centerpiece of this conservation effort is the 21,000-acre Greenland Ranch, the oldest operating cattle ranch along Colorado’s Front Range. Located south of Denver, Greenland Ranch includes eight miles of I-25. Douglas County acquired a quarter of the property for public open space and protected the remainder through a conservation easement, which allows for the continuation of ranching yet restricts future development. Key support for this project came from Douglas County and Great Outdoors Colorado, a voter-approved program that uses lottery proceeds for land conservation.


By conserving lands like this, we’re keeping Colorado’s ranching and outdoor heritage intact. What’s more, the estimated 50,000 people who travel this stretch of I-25 every day can enjoy the full beauty of this land uncluttered by billboards and haphazard development. It also illustrates the pressures of development on growing regions and how communities balance growth with open space.