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Nestled below the towering Spanish Peaks in Huerfano County lies the picturesque town of La Veta, Colorado. Along a small stretch of the Cucharas River that flows through town is a stunning and quaint 5-acre wetland and riparian property. A wildlife sanctuary in the growing community, the property owners partnered with Palmer Land Conservancy to ensure that this refuge will stay intact forever.
Wetlands and riparian zones are a crucial part of Colorado’s ecosystems. While they represent less than 3% of the habitat in Colorado, 75% of Colorado’s wildlife depend on these areas at some point during their lifetime. This property is a safe haven for migratory birds, raptors, reptiles and amphibians, deer, black bears, and a plethora of riparian plants and trees. This property has a small, spring-fed pond surrounded by cattails, and it also takes on seasonal flooding from the Cucharas River.
For years, Citizens for Huerfano County (CHC), a nonprofit whose mission is to preserve and protect the natural environment of Huerfano County, kept the property in its natural state at the behest of the previous owner. CHC recently transferred the property to a local La Veta couple who wished to continue the conservation legacy by permanently protecting it forever with Palmer.
These words written by Aldo Leopold in 1948 in A Sand County Almanac reflect the owners’ sense of their ethical responsibilities regarding life in La Veta and its environment: “…the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts….and a land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land.”
Thanks to the vision and foresight of the current and past landowners, and the support of Palmer’s generous members, these precious wetlands will remain a vital part of Spanish Peaks country for generations to come.