Envision hosts panel discussion on working lands with local ranchers on Feb. 15

Envision Chaffee County hosts an event on working agricultural lands, Keeping the country COUNTRY with local ranchers Bruce Cogan, Brady Everett and Ken McMurry on Thursday, Feb. 15 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Poncha Springs New Town Hall Center.

Cogan, Everett and McMurray are multi-generational Chaffee County ranchers with operations focused on hay and cow-calf production. The panel discussion will address economic and cultural challenges facing our ranching community.

Envision is hosting the event because the project has identified that rural landscapes and ranching heritage are important assets the community wants to maintain in the future. The idea for the event arose after a December listening session attended by about 50 members of the local ranching community, who as a group identified challenges to keeping their lands in future production, including conflicts with the growing population, restrictions in land use regulations, water rights protections and workforce limitations.

Envision is a grant-funded countywide effort to help the community plan for future growth as population and tourism increase into 2030 and beyond. In addition to sustainable agriculture, the community goals that Envision is working on include maintaining healthy forests in balance with outdoor recreation, a small-town sense of community, livability that addresses affordable hosing, and development that focuses in and around towns. The goals were developed after months of public meetings, as well as a survey taken by more than 1,200 residents that helped define community priorities for the future.

Ninety-seven percent of the survey respondents said they think rural lands contribute to Chaffee County’s quality of life.

For more information about Envision’s growth planning efforts, visit envisionchaffeecounty.org.

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