Preservation agreement reached for Post area ranch

The Central Oregonian highlights the Land Trust's most recent conservation project, Aspen Valley Ranch.
Central Oregonian

The Deschutes Land Trust announced recently that it has conserved 3,748 acres of a large ranch near Post.

The land trust worked with rancher Jim Wood to create a land preservation agreement that will protect the ranch's wildlife habitat and agricultural land indefinitely.

The Deschutes Land Trust is Central Oregon's locally based, nationally accredited land trust. Since 1995, it has protected more than 12,860 acres for wildlife, scenic views, and local communities.Aspen Valley Ranch is an 18,000-acre working cattle ranch. Its acreage stretches from the Ochoco mountains south across the Post-Paulina Valley and the Crooked River, up into the Maury Mountains. The land preservation agreement protects 3,748 acres of the larger 18,000-acre ranch. "The Land Trust is pleased to be able to work with the Wood family to help conserve the agricultural and wildlife heritage that has for so long characterized the Post-Paulina Valley," said Brad Chalfant, Deschutes Land Trust executive director. "With Crook County one of the fastest growing counties in Oregon, growth pressure, coupled with generational ownership transitions, is threatening to break up ranches in the Post-Paulina Valley. The land trust's conservation of Aspen Valley Ranch helps ease the stressors Jim, his family, and his neighbors have faced for decades while conserving some really amazing wildlife habitat," The newly conserved property features large rolling hills with native grasslands and juniper trees. It protects agricultural land, elk and mule deer winter range, pronghorn antelope habitat and scenic views. The land trust notes that this diversity of natural features, combined with the property's connection to surrounding undeveloped lands means it is, and will continue to be, a critical refuge in the face of a changing climate.Land preservation agreements allow a private landowner to own their land, but remove some of the development rights. Each agreement is unique, but typically does not provide public access. The Wood family will continue ranching their land and have agreed to allow the Land Trust to use the property for education and to carry out wildlife enhancement projects. The Land Trust and Wood family also plan to work together to conserve the rest of the 18,000-acre ranch.