Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar announced on September 15 the creation of the 558th unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Landowner Louis Bacon donated an easement on 77,000 acres of the Trinchera Ranch to create the Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area. In the center of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, the area includes high desert shrub and mountain grassland habitats, as well as alpine forest and tundra.
The new Conservation Area will be a joint venture between the Refuge System and Colorado Open Lands, a land conservation organization which holds an existing easement on the property. US Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe and Dan Pike of Colorado Open Lands signed a Memorandum of Understanding about management of the area. Bacon plans on donating an additional easement on 90,000 acres from the adjacent Blanca Ranch in the near future, making it the largest donation ever to the USFWS.
Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (September 15, 2012)