Friday we celebrated the establishment of the 558th unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System: the Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area in Colorado, and the man who made it possible -- Louis Bacon.
Mr. Bacon is a private landowner with a deep and long commitment to conservation. He has donated a conservation easement on approximately 75,000 acres for landscape and wildlife conservation purposes in the San Luis Valley, Sangre de Cristo Mountains. And there’s more to come. He also plans to donate a conservation easement on more land later.
Mr. Bacon’s staggering gift will help link a diverse mosaic of public and private lands and create a landscape corridor for fish and wildlife unlike any place in America.
People like Mr. Bacon are just what conservation in this country needs … proud stewards of lands they have worked for years ... people who recognize and respect the importance of maintaining healthy habitat for wildlife – and who understand that by doing so, they can increase the land’s economic productivity.
The record donation showcases the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s work with private landowners. We know that land is growing more valuable almost by the minute, and we’re committed to working side-by-side with willing landowners to find a way to preserve wildlife habitat and the economic value of that land.
By working with other land stewards, the Service has recently added several units to the National Wildlife Refuge System this way: the Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area in Kansas, the Dakota Grassland Conservation Area of South Dakota and North Dakota, and the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area in Florida.
This is just one way we ensure that future generations don’t lose access to America’s Great Outdoors because of short-term thinking.
Thank you, Mr. Bacon, from not just the Fish and Wildlife Service but from future generations who will no doubt enjoy the fruits of the Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area.