Mountain View County sells land for conservation

About 644 acres near Jackson Lake southeast of Sundre will be protected

Mountain View County has approved a conservation easement for 644 acres of land southeast of Sundre.

County Reeve Bruce Beattie said the agreement fulfills several of the mandates of council, including preservation of the environment and agricultural lands.

“Council wanted to set the standard that its strategic goals can have actual impact and meaning,” he said. “We believe this sets an example that preservation of agricultural land and environmental stewardship are high on our list of priorities.”

The Legacy Land Trust Society will provide $248,000 to Mountain View County for the conservation easement. Council’s intention is to utilize these funds to enhance the County’s environmental and conservation programs.

Council’s intention is to utilize these funds to enhance the County’s environmental and conservation programs.

Legacy Land Trust Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to voluntary private land conservation in Mountain View County. Legacy is the steward of the agreement, managing the conservation easement into the future, in partnership with the county.

The society offers resources to conserve agricultural land, ecologically sensitive land, wildlife habitat and corridors, recreational areas and significant historical and archaeological sites. Through voluntary agreements, landowners put all or a portion of their land under sustainable conservation stewardship in perpetuity for the benefit of future generations while continuing to own and operate it.

A conservation easement is a restriction placed on a piece of property to protect its associated resources. The county retains ownership of the land through the easement agreement while protecting the environment and agricultural use.

The intent of the conservation easement is to protect the environment, preserve agriculture and possibly provide a community recreational asset in the future. Currently, the Bergen Area Structure Plan discourages residential use on the lands.

A grazing lease remains on the new conservation lands. A grazing management plan will be developed in consultation with the leaseholder, being mindful to preserve the current agricultural and recreational use of the lands, says the county.

The conservation easement does not restrict access. However, those who will want to hunt on the lands will still must attain the leaseholder’s and county’s permission.

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