Former media magnate Malcolm Forbes was not only a leading innovator in magazine publishing; he also helped to pioneer private-land wildlife management practices in Colorado. To honor the Forbes family’s efforts in wildlife conservation, the Colorado Division of Wildlife recently thanked the Forbes Family for its nearly 40 years of work at the 173,000-acre Forbes-Trinchera and Forbes-Blanca Ranches in the San Luis Valley.
In the fall of 2007 the Forbes family sold the ranch to Louis Bacon, an East Coast resident who owns numerous other parcels of land throughout the United States which are managed for conservation and wildlife purposes. In Colorado, Bacon also owns the 20,000-acre Tercio Ranch that is located southwest of Trinidad.
Bacon has announced that his new property, located in the San Luis Valley, will now be called the Trinchera Ranch and the Blanca Ranch. It will continue to be managed for wildlife, natural resource and environmental values. The ranch will continue to work cooperatively with the Division of Wildlife on various conservation projects and participate in the DOW’s Ranching for Wildlife program.
“The Colorado Division of Wildlife is grateful to the Forbes family for their wildlife conservation philosophy,” said Tom Spezze, southwest regional manager for the DOW.
“Not only did the family bring great ideas, but they hired an outstanding staff to do the work to make this one of the premier wildlife habitat areas in Colorado.” Spezze made the remarks at a reception held at the Trinchera Ranch in late July.
Tom Remington, director of the DOW, praised the Forbes ranch for its work on a variety of projects that have helped conservation efforts throughout Colorado. These include: establishing a herd of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, re-introduction of Rio Grande cutthroat trout, and numerous habitat improvement projects aimed at helping big game populations.
“The ranch is a leader in wildlife conservation work,” Remington said. “The people here proved what can be done. Today, the division of wildlife uses many of the management techniques developed here in projects all over the state.”
Malcolm Forbes purchased the property in 1969 and decided quickly that wildlife should be a priority. Former DOW biologist Errol Ryland was hired to manage the property. Ryland and DOW staff developed the Ranching for Wildlife concept at the ranch. Today, 16 ranches that comprise more than 1 million acres of prime big game habitat participate in the Ranching for Wildlife program.
In the late 1980s, 3,000 domestic sheep were removed from the ranch and 34 Rocky Mountain bighorns were transplanted from British Columbia. Now the herd on the ranch numbers more than 300. Over the years, the ranch has allowed the DOW to trap sheep and move them to other parts of the state.
After Ryland retired in the early 1990s his son, Ty Ryland, took over as ranch manager. In Dec. 2004, the Forbes family placed approximately 81,400 acres of the Trinchera Ranch under a permanent conservation easement. None of that land will ever be developed. Bacon is now considering placing a conservation easement on the 90,000-acre Blanca Ranch. This portion of the property contains three of Colorado’s 54 famed 14,000-foot mountains – Blanca Peak, Little Bear Peak and Mount Lindsey.
“Mr. Bacon believes that the Blanca Ranch is an unique property and it ought to be protected for future generations,” a spokesperson said.
Christopher Forbes, Malcolm Forbes son, said the family was pleased to find a new owner who was also conservation-minded. “We couldn’t have found a better conservation steward in America than Louis Bacon,” Forbes said.
Bacon explained that continuing resource conservation on the property is his top priority for the ranch.
“I feel a duty to continue the conservation legacy established by the Forbes Family; and to help us we’ll continue working with the DOW,” Bacon said.
Bacon also said that staffing at the ranch won’t change. The ranch employs about 30 people in Costilla County.
Under the Ranching for Wildlife program, participating owners work to improve habitat, develop wildlife management plans with the DOW, and allow a limited number of public hunters at no charge. In exchange, ranch owners are allowed to set special seasons for private hunters.
Public licenses on the Trinchera Ranch include: 10 bull elk and 75 cow elk; 10 mule deer bucks and 75 does; two big horn rams and nine ewes. The ranch leads about 50 private hunters each year.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife is the state agency responsible for managing wildlife and its habitat, as well as providing wildlife related recreation. The Division is funded through hunting and fishing license fees, federal grants and Colorado Lottery proceeds through Great Outdoors Colorado.
For more information about Division of Wildlife go to: http://wildlife.state.co.us.