Size: 5,160 acres
Location: Grant County
Eco-Region: Chihuahua Desert
Conservation Values: Agriculture, Scenic Open Space, Wildlife Habitat
Type of Project: Transferred Conservation Easement
Date Completed: September, 2009
Watch their video
Bringing the Water Back | The Pitchfork Ranch Story (click here)
The Pitchfork Ranch lies just west of the Continental Divide, about an hour south of Silver City in southwestern New Mexico. The 5,100-acre ranch of mostly rolling Chihuahuan grassland, all under conservation easement now held by NMLC, has been in continuous cattle production for over a century.
The Burro Ciénaga is a significant riparian zone and the ranch’s major feature. Defined as “slow moving water, marsh or swamp” in Spanish, the “ciénaga” is perennial and bisects the ranch from north to south. This corridor is habitat for many plant and animal species, including deer, javelina, coatimundi, golden eagle, great horned owl, and many more. The current landowners have invested this chapter of their lives and substantial resources in restoring the property, particularly the ciénaga and associated riparian area, while maintaining agricultural activities on the ranch (see story).
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This easement was transferred to NMLC from the Southern Rockies Agricultural Land Trust (SRALT) in 2011. SRALT was established by Sid and Cheryl Goodloe of the Carrizo Valley Ranch in 1999. Over more than a decade the Goodloes worked to preserve farm and ranchland in New Mexico, helping to place over 13,000 acres under easement. In 2011, the Goodloes and SRALT’s Board of Directors decided to insure the future of the SRALT easements by transferring them to NMLC. NMLC is honored to carry on SRALT’s work to “uphold the concept of private ownership and management resulting in sustainability of family operated ranches and farms.”