Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today praised the formal establishment of the Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area in the San Luis Valley, which Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed today. The agreement was made possible by the donation of a nearly 77,000-acre conservation easement by Louis Bacon.
“The San Luis Valley and Sangre de Cristo area contain some of the Colorado’s most beautiful and breathtaking lands,” Bennet said. “This announcement will ensure that Coloradans and visitors can enjoy these scenic landscapes for years to come. Conservation of our land and our precious resources is a fundamental part of what it is to be in the West. The new Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area will help preserve the heritage of this land in its undeveloped state.”
In June, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and private land owner Louis Bacon came to an agreement to establish a conservation easement that protects nearly 90,000 acres of land for landscape and wildlife conservation purposes in the San Luis Valley. The agreement is the largest conservation easement the Fish and Wildlife Service has enacted in the nation.
During the markup of the 2012 Farm Bill in the Senate Agriculture Committee, Bennet secured a provision in the bill to provide flexibility that will allow more land owners and producers to use conservation easements to preserve their land’s agricultural heritage and open space. He has also introduced two amendments to further enhance the conservation easement programs.