This offer to the US Government has a lot to do with two men,
Loise Bacon, hedge fund gazillionaire and
Ken Salazar, who grew up in a remote ranch in the area without running water and went on to become a great conservationist and Secretary of the Interior.
Unlike many easements which are simply tax dodges, this one is open to use by the public and it will be administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The offer is part of an enducement for other large landowners in the area to come forth and donate what is to be planned as the proposed Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area, a five million acre corridor covering portions of New Mexico and Colorado.
"You really have to have the long view of what's going to be happening with these lands. As the population of the United States grows from 370 million to 400 million people, there's going to be increasing pressure on these lands to take them out of the agriculture and wildlife status," Salazar said in an interview Thursday. "Our economy is going to come back. It is going to be strong," he said. But beyond jobs and commerce "it is also important that we're growing smartly, and one way to do that is to make sure we're protecting places for wildlife." Denver PostAs with most endeavors of this magnitude Ken Salazar will be long gone from office when this conservation area comes into being. Ted Turner has yet to make a commitment nor has the other large landowner. This offer goes a long way towards making it happen.
Large conservation areas seem to be the wave of the future for designating protected areas. A similar area has been created in Montana called the Rocky Mountain Front. In general lands are off limits to logging, building, mining, oil and gas, etc. but ok for recreation especially non motorized. Semi wilderness areas with existing uses grandfathered in where they occur.
Update upon making the rec list - There must be a lesson in there somewhere on how to manipulate the algorithms, not that I don't think conservation is important mind you, but I think this made the list with 5 recs and 3 comments or something.