PARK & JOHNSON COUNTIES – The Wyoming Stock Growers Agricultural Land Trust welcomed the donations of two conservation easements in late summer. The foresight of the landowners has conserved 630 acres to protect Wyoming’s vital ranching places and iconic viewsheds.
As part of the vision of the late John Scully, heirs to his estate donated a conservation easement on a 387-acre ranch east of Buffalo, Wyo, just two miles from the Bighorn Mountains. In another transaction, the heirs of the Ramblin M Ranch southeast of Cody, Wyo. donated an easement protecting 243 acres.
“These donated easements represent a lasting legacy for these families,” Stock Growers Ag Land Trust Field Representative Jarren Kuipers said. “Both properties have great intrinsic values due to their agricultural contributions to the local economies of Cody and Buffalo, protection of scenic views of the Bighorn and Absaroka Mountains and proximity to critical big game winter ranges.”
Located on the edge of the rural residential development creeping from Buffalo toward the mountains, the Scully Ranch conservation easement will conserve the open and private ranching values of the land. It is also a source of winter range for wildlife, particularly antelope and deer.
“My uncle, Dr. John Scully, felt strongly about keeping Wyoming land from being overdeveloped,” Scully’s niece Patricia Linehan said. “He wanted to do whatever he could to keep the land open for the future and was able to do that through his estate plans.”
The rolling agricultural property encompasses irrigated hay meadows, upland rangeland, riparian woodland and riparian wetland. French Creek winds through the southern boundary of the rangeland and the ranch is primarily used for late summer and fall livestock and hay production.
Dr. John Scully’s love for Wyoming’s open character began when he retired to Buffalo in 1994. He was born and raised in Buffalo, NY and worked as a civil engineer in Greenland and in South Dakota where he was also a professor of civil engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Dr. Scully passed away in 2008 and documented through his estate plans that he wanted a conservation easement established on his property. In accordance with his wishes, the property will be sold under conservation easement, with the proceeds establishing a college scholarship endowment for Buffalo-area high school students.
Ramblin M Ranch
Located in the drainage of the South Fork of the Shoshone River and near Buffalo Bill Reservoir, the Ramblin M Ranch conservation easement was donated by Karen Seyfert and Philip Morehead to fulfill their father’s wishes to keep the property in open space for agriculture and wildlife habitat, while reducing the estate tax burden.
George Morehead purchased the property in 1967 and the family has spent part of each year enjoying the unique culture and landscape of Wyoming. George Morehead attempted to put his property under easement before his death, but was unsuccessful. His children have carried out his wishes by placing an easement on the property.
“My sister and I are delighted to partner with the Stock Growers Ag Land Trust to preserve the scenic and agricultural values that make Wyoming great,” Philip Morehead said. “It is a real benefit to do so in a tax-effective way after the passing of our father.”
The Ramblin M Ranch is composed of irrigated hay meadows under pivot. The property has abundant water which has been carefully utilized through irrigation improvements by the family. The agricultural land is used primarily for hay production and wintering livestock. The ranch has seven perennial springs, an unusual feature for a property of its size and location. The springs are used for irrigation and filling seven wildlife ponds that cover more than five acres.
Donated conservation easements are legal, voluntary agreements a landowner makes to permanently restrict the type and amount of development that occurs on his or her property. For more information contact the Wyoming Stock Growers Ag Land Trust at 307.772.8751 or firstname.lastname@example.org.