Size: 1,036 acres
Location: Sierra County
Eco-Region: Chihuahua Desert
Conservation Values: Agriculture, Scenic Open Space, Wildlife Habitat
Type of Project: Donated Conservation Easement
Date Completed: July 2008
The Lake Valley Ranch conservation easement is located in the foothills of the Mimbres and Black Ranges, approximately 15 miles southwest of Hillsboro. The ranch consists primarily of Chihuahua desert grassland and scrub, mesquite and juniper savannas, and riparian zones along Berrenda and Jaralosa creeks. The property provides excellent natural habitat for mule deer, pronghorn antelope, javelina, mountain lion, black bear, and a variety of small mammals and birds. The property is interspersed with Bureau of Land Management and State lands, and is located nearby the Gila National Forest. The property is located along State Highway 27, which has been designated as a National Backcountry Byway, and is nearby the Lake Valley Historic (Mining) District. The conservation easement was originally granted by Jim and Katrina Winder to the Southern Rockies Agricultural Land Trust in 2002 and subsequently transferred to NMLC in 2005. In 2008, NMLC worked with the landowner to amend the easement by splitting the original easement into two and adding significant acreage to the North Lake Valley Conservation Easement.
The property is adjacent to two other protected ranches owned by the landowner – the Berrenda Creek Ranch and the Double Lightning Ranch – and is thus part of a larger protected landscape totaling nearly 15,000 acres. NMLC holds a conservation easement over the Berrenda Creek Ranch and The Nature Conservancy holds a conservation easement over the Double Lightning Ranch. The property is currently being used for livestock production, ecological and archaeological research. The property is part of an innovative conservation development and is also occasionally used for passive recreational uses by adjacent homeowners.