by Bergen Tjossem
Steward Level Underwriters:
Kathleen and Steve McConahey
Eagle Valley Land Trust, in partnership with the BLM and local landowners Peg and Chuck Rosenquist have conserved the prominent 201-acre Horse Mountain property which keeps watch over the Brush Creek Valley.
EVLT works to protect Eagle County’s most precious lands, and Horse Mountain fits well with that mission. Horse Mountain is highly visible from much of I-70, near Eagle. This iconic cone-shaped mountain serves as the geographic head of the Brush Creek Valley. The property is now permanently projected as part of the 557-acre Sutey Ranch land exchange, which includes land in Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin counties.
To forever protect lands like Horse Mountain, land trusts work with federal agencies, such as the BLM, to ensure that excess public lands (those the federal government has determined can be sold) like this parcel are not auctioned off to the highest bidder. Horse Mountain was on the BLM’s disposition list and the Rosenquists were concerned that it would be easy to develop if it got into the wrong hands, impacting critical views and significant wildlife habitat space. Unfortunately, Chuck passed away in 2009 before the project was completed, but Peg stayed focused, and the property is now permanently protected by EVLT because of their joint vision. EVLT and its partners helped the Rosenquists acquire the property for appraised value while forever protecting it from development.
Portions of the historic Lady Belle Mine are located on the property and while important from an historical perspective, the mine also serves as important habitat for the imperiled Townsend’s big-eared bat. Sensitive to human harassment, the bats provide essential benefits to our community in helping to control insect populations such as mosquitos.
The property also supports species that are considered rare, threatened or of special concern, including the bald eagle, northern goshawk and Harrington’s penstemon. In addition, Horse Mountain provides important habitat for deer, elk, bear and mountain lion. These species will all benefit greatly, for generations, thanks to the Rosenquists and the conservation easement effort.
Eagle Valley Land Trust facilitates major conservation in this community by collaborating with community partners, educating residents and visitors of the benefits of open space, and providing tools and information to help landowners and other parties to better protect private and public lands. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit located in Eagle County. You can learn more about Horse Mountain and the other lands we’ve helped forever protect by visiting: www.evlt.org