1,480 acres, park county
The 1,480-acre Ranch is a National Historic Landmark that contains roughly 1¼ miles of the Middle Fork of the South Platte River, including substantial wetland and riparian habitat supporting globally imperiled plant species. The property contains more than ten historical buildings representing over 100 years of ranching heritage in South Park (1859-1959).
The ranch is bordered up and downstream by the Tomahawk and Badger Basin State Wildlife Areas, which are popular for fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing throughout the summer and fall. The Middle Fork of the South Platte River that bisects the Santa Maria Ranch is designated as Gold Medal trout water. During the mid-1990s, the Colorado Department of Wildlife (now Colorado Parks and Wildlife) reported that this section of the Middle Fork contained “more trout biomass per mile of stream than any other river in Colorado.” This segment also supports populations of deer, elk, antelope, black bear, and a variety of migratory waterfowl. The ranch also lies within one mile of Reinecker Ridge State Wildlife Area, an area of critical habitat for mountain plover, elk, and antelope.
This conservation project ensures that the historical and biological resources of the Santa Maria Ranch will be preserved and that users of adjacent public lands will benefit from scenic and open space values of the ranch.
Project partners include Great Outdoors Colorado, the Park County Land and Water Trust Fund, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.