The McBride family has partnered with Aspen Valley Land Trust to conserve the remaining portions of Lost Marbles Ranch in Western Colorado. The family has now donated the bulk of their nearly 2,000-acre ranch to the land trust through two conservation easements, one completed in 2019 and the second announced recently.
John and Laurie McBride bought Lost Marbles Ranch from Mt. Simmons Mining Company in 1979, according to The Aspen Times.
The couple raised their three children at the ranch, and they still live there today. The property includes agricultural operations, primarily cattle grazing and hay production, as well as rich wildlife habitat.
Conserving the land, John McBride said, was “just the right thing to do — for the land, for the wildlife, and for the valley.”
Lost Marbles Ranch sits near Old Snowmass within the Capitol Creek Valley, just beneath the Elk Mountain Range. The ranch abuts the White River National Forest along its southern border.
With this conservation announcement, the property joins a vast corridor of preserved private land that stretches across 5,300 acres and includes the nearby Capitol Creek Ranch, Harvey Ranch, and Weiben Ranch, among others.
“There are not many large properties remaining to protect in the Roaring Fork Valley,” said Carly Bolliger, Aspen Valley Land Trust’s communication and engagement director. “The location of Lost Marbles Ranch, its proximity to public and other protected land, and its rich array of wildlife make this a special place that will benefit generations of residents and visitors to this valley.”
Home to elk, black bears, moose, mountain lions, songbirds, raptors, and many other species, the ranch supports a rich array of wildlife, thanks in part to its location near several sources of fresh water.
Sitting within the Capital Creek water basin — part of the larger Roaring Fork River watershed — the property includes a rich mix of streams, wetlands, and riparian areas.
“Dedicating our land to its highest and best use, wildlife habitat, was an important and easy decision for our family,” said Pete McBride, John and Laurie’s son. “It is great to know the open space, agricultural legacy of this land will continue for generations to come — not just for its stewards and any livestock but also the elk, bear, beaver, raptors, songbirds, and so many more.”
Through the conservation agreement, the ranch’s “rich biodiversity, associated stream fronts, water rights, and natural resources will now forever benefit this region,” Bolliger said.
About the Aspen Valley Land Trust
Aspen Valley Land Trust has partnered with community advocates and private landowners to protect more than 45,000 acres of land in the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys since 1967.