Green River Valley Land Trust options conservation easements on historic Circle Ranch
by Green River Valley Land Trust
May 2, 2010
BIG PINEY – On April 22, 2010, the Green River Valley Land Trust secured options to obtain conservation easements on 5,544 acres of the Miller family's historic Circle Ranch west of Big Piney. If exercised, the options will allow GRVLT to complete the largest conservation project in its 10-year history.
"We're excited," said GRVLT Executive Director Lara Ryan. "Miller Land & Livestock conserved some of their Sublette County property with us in 2007, and own other conserved property already. Working with the Miller family again is a real privilege for us and a great partnership to conserve a special part of Sublette County."
"Conserving our home place was the right choice for us," said Mike Miller. "We know and trust the folks at GRVLT and look forward to working with them on this project." Miller added, "We would like this land to remain a cattle ranch and refuge for the western way of life and nature for as long as possible."
The easements will conserve the ranch's agricultural heritage, wildlife habitat and scenic views in perpetuity. The project includes the PL and Circle Ranches, which are the oldest ranches in the county, being established in 1878. These ranches have been under the management of the Mickelson/Miller family for 125 years. The easement also includes additional Miller family holdings. The ranch provides critical habitat for a variety of wildlife, including sage grouse, moose, mule deer, and pronghorn, as well as a variety of aquatic and terrestrial "species of greatest conservation need" identified by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. The ranch lies along Middle and South Piney Creeks—important tributaries of the Green River—and provides a beautiful view with the Wyoming Range mountains behind it for residents and visitors from public roads and land.
The proposed easement property borders BLM and State of Wyoming lands. It also lies less than 3 miles from the Cross Lazy Two Ranch, which the Thompson family conserved with GRVLT in 2009.
A number of partners have supported the project already, including the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, and the Miller family, who intend to donate a significant portion of the easements’ values through qualified bargain sales. GRVLT is currently working to raise the remaining funds necessary to purchase the easements.
The Green River Valley Land Trust is a private, nonprofit organization that works with landowners to conserve Wyoming's natural and agricultural resources. Since 2000, GRVLT has worked with more than 45 families to conserve nearly 30,000 acres of working ranchland, wildlife habitat and open space in Wyoming. GRVLT is among the top 100 land trusts in the country in terms of acreage conserved. GRVLT is also the first accredited land trust in Wyoming and one of the first accredited land trusts in the nation. Accreditation recognizes organizations like GRVLT for meeting national standards for excellence, upholding the public trust and ensuring that conservation efforts are permanent.
For more information on working with the Green River Valley Land Trust, please contact Jordan Vana, Director of Conservation, at (307) 367-7007 or email@example.com.