The Aspen Valley Land Trust and longtime Carbondale area ranchers Rex and JoAnn Coffman have officially completed the transfer of the working ranch from the Coffmans to the Land Trust.
The shutdown took place Tuesday afternoon, officially putting the 141-acre ranch located 1.5 miles east of Carbondale along the Roaring Fork River in the hands of the AVLT, the organization said in a press release Tuesday.
The Coffmans plan to continue living part of the year on the ranch they have owned since the mid-1950s.. The AVLT plans to retain the land as a ranch and establish an agricultural and conservation education center on the site.
Pitkin County will also hold a conservation easement on land in perpetuity to protect agriculture and wildlife habitat and to establish future public access to the riverside after the completion of a formal resource management plan. .
“Today is the first day of a long relationship between AVLT and this ranch,” Suzanne Stephens, general manager of AVLT, said in the statement. “We look forward to protecting and caring for this beautiful place forever and are delighted to celebrate this milestone. But this is really just the first step in a long road to conservation for this working ranch and community treasure. “
The AVLT invites the public to see the ranch and learn more during an open house from noon to 4 p.m. on September 19 in the pasture near Catherine Store Road.
The acquisition was made possible with financial support from Great Outdoors Colorado, Pitkin County, Garfield County, Town of Carbondale, River Valley Ranch Open Space Fund (owned by AVLT) and numerous individual contributions .
Once the purchase is complete, AVLT will also launch a $ 7 million public fundraising campaign to make conservation management and community access to the ranch possible, the statement said.
The funds are to be used over the next few years to invest in land management, restoration, regenerative agriculture, public access, outdoor education and a permanent home for the nonprofit organization.
“This ranch isn’t just about its fertile farmland, wildlife habitat and shores,” Stephens said in the statement. “It’s a chance to create a demonstration ranch that can showcase the best of conservation and welcome everyone into this job. “
This could include an outdoor space for local schools and nonprofit organizations to teach breeding and conservation and create a quiet open space close to town for the public.
“It’s about creating the future we want to see for our valleys and bringing everyone with us,” Stephens said.
In 65 years of operating the ranch, the Coffmans have worked their dairy cows, raised beef cattle and most recently leased the land to other local ranchers. Rex and JoAnn both turned 90 this year and eventually agreed to sell the ranch to AVLT while retaining the right to live there for their days.
Free tickets for the September 19 Open House can be booked on Eventbrite. The festivities are to include food, live music, horse-drawn carriage rides, and crafts for the kids.
Learn more at AVLT.org/coffman.