Aspen Valley Ranch. Photo: Jay Mather.

Conserving Aspen Valley Ranch

Nov 08, 2017 by Sarah Mowry
The Land Trust is working on a new conservation project with local rancher Jim Wood. Learn more about the 15,000 acre Aspen Valley Ranch.

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The Land Trust is working on a new conservation project with local rancher Jim Wood. Jim approached the Land Trust years ago asking how we could work together to conserve his 15,000 acre Aspen Valley Ranch.

Aspen Valley Ranch is a working cattle ranch located near Post, OR. Its vast acreage stretches from the Ochoco Mountains, south across the Post-Paulina Valley and Crooked River, up into the Maury Mountains.

Aspen Valley Ranch provides important winter range for deer and elk, habitat for pronghorn and sage grouse, as well as a migration corridor for a wide range of wildlife traveling between the Ochoco and Maury mountains. A neighboring ranch, Juniper Hills Preserve, is owned by The Nature Conservancy, and together the two properties offer tremendous wildlife habitat potential.

The Land Trust is currently working to raise funds for this conservation project. We've secured funds from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Our hope is that this effort will help jump start the first of an eventual series of land protection agreements on Jim’s ranch, as well as others in the valley.

Additionally, we hope the new Oregon Agricultural Heritage Program will soon have a dedicated and funded program to purchase development rights from willing ranchers and farmers to keep ranches and farms with valuable habitat from being subdivided and the habitat value lost. 

While working lands conservation projects aren’t intended to turn a working ranch or farm into a wildlife refuge or preserve, they can fill an important role in maintaining and protecting key migration corridors and winter range. 

Stay tuned for more on this exciting project!

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