Source: The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy now holds a conservation easement on 6,120 acres of the Johnson Ranch in Carbon County. Located near Wyoming’s iconic Elk Mountain, the property is in an area with high ecological and agricultural values, but also mounting development threats.

“Vital streamside habitats, abundant wildlife and the protection against sub-division and energy development are a few reasons why this project is a big conservation success,” said Brent Lathrop, Southeast Wyoming program director for The Nature Conservancy. “The easement will also help the family continue a ranching tradition that is important to the area.”

Landowners John and Reese Johnson partnered on a conservation easement with the Conservancy to protect their ranching operations and the landscape they love. A fifth generation Wyoming rancher, Mr. Johnson did not want to see their property subdivided or commercially developed.

“Working with The Nature Conservancy was a good decision for our operation. It helps keep our ranching tradition alive and our ability to keep four families and three generations on the ranch. Also, by removing the threat of fragmentation—due to the development of commercial wind or residential 40-acre tracts—it will ensure the landscape is protected for future generations.”

The easement covers 7.4 miles of the Medicine Bow River and 4.6 miles of Wagonhound Creek. These streams—and many other natural attributes of the property—help the Johnson’s supplement their cow-calf operation with leases to hunters and fly-fishing enthusiasts.

Several important funders helped this project come to fruition including the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Governor’s Big Game License Coalition and the Wyoming Game and Fish Trust. The Johnson’s also made a generous donation that was matched by the Knobloch Foundation.

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