Greenland Reserve Conservancy
December 2003

Joyce Wolff, Common Land Sub-Committee Chairman
Joyce and Walt Wolff photos

Gallinas Canyon fishing pond in reflection

HISTORY - The history of the Greenland Reserve Conservancy now established in Gallinas Canyon is a bit complicated but interesting. In the beginning when the developer platted the Santa Fe Trail Ranch (SFTR) parcels he didn't include the land to the east of Fisher Peak Parkway or that along Gallinas Canyon stream. When the property was platted it became the so-called J-Lots, about which there has always been much discussion.

At the same time prospective buyers were looking to buy there developed a misunderstanding about the assurance of "common land" areas for property owner's use. When it was finally determined that the J-Lots were not common land there arose a concern that these lots might not be developed in ways acceptable to Ranch property owners while a few others complained that there was no common land as previously thought. A search for solutions began.

Happily, several realtors with Land Properties, Inc. came forward to purchase from the developer the five J-Lots in Gallinas Canyon, providing they turn the property over to a conservancy: a conservancy that would allow regulated use of the property for the enjoyment of residents. These realtors solved the problem.

But now a lengthy search for an appropriate conservancy organization was begun. Several were approached and expressed no interest. When the Colorado-based Greenland Reserve finally agreed it took yet another year to draft the lease, which was finalized in July 2002.  (Click Here to view the lease.)

DESCRIPTION - The Greenland Reserve (TGR) Conservancy consists of five long narrow J-Lots 6 - 10 which straddle the little stream winding through Gallinas Canyon. This attractive addition to the Ranch begins at the junction of Gallinas Parkway and Fisher Peak Parkway, extending about three and one half miles up the canyon to the fishing pond at Rainbow Springs Road and just beyond. Along the way there is another small pond impounded by an earth dam built to accommodate Old Mission Ridge.  The so-far permanent stream provides a riparian habitat for birds and wildlife.  Bear, elk, deer and turkey are frequently seen grazing and browsing in the meadows. The upper pond, or fishing pond, is a favorite for bears who loll about in the shallows on dry hot days.  Each spring Mallard ducks are commonly seen nurturing ducklings.

The pond at Old Mission Ridge

Several deer play hide and seek

A Black Bear cooling off on a summer day

USES - Every summer the annual POA picnic is held in a meadow along the stream. The Women's Group has started discussions about building a pavilion which at a later date would be incorporated into a community building.

The annual picnic is a sea of canopies

The Women's Group has cared for the health of the fishing pond and on occasion it has been stocked with Rainbow trout, perch, bass and channel catfish. These fish are paid for by contributions from property owners. Two successful Fishing Contests have been held as special events included on the picnic schedule. The pond is licensed by the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

Fishing contests are lots of fun!  First Annual SFTR Fishing Tournament (10/15/2000) Prizewinner, Michelea Garcia

RESPONSIBILITY - The Greenland Conservancy (owner) owns the land and rents the property to the POA (tenant). As tenants we have agreed to keep the land attractive to wildlife. Several years ago in heavy flooding the earth dam impounding the fishing pond washed out. In order to prevent future like occurrences a silt pond just above the fishing pond, has been dredged. The local Natural Resources Conservation Service representative has given advice as to how the property might be improved and maintained in a healthy state. Each spring for several years Weed Whacker Volunteers have spend many hours spraying noxious weeds, as specified in the lease. Before going off with sprayers on their backs or with 16 gallon tanks mounted on ATVs each volunteer, at a yearly weed identification session learns to identify the several thistle species that at present are the major threat.

Which plants are noxious weeds?  Carol with weed identification materials

Fortunately, noxious weeds (so far) are a small fraction of the abundant and varied plant community that flourishes here. Spring finds the canyon floor a white, yellow and purple carpet of wildflowers. It is lovely place to identify them along with plants and grasses.

Flowers and grasses carpet the canyon floor

RESTRICTIONS - Some activities are strictly prohibited by lease agreement with TGR.

Fire regulations for the property are the same as for Las Animas County. The County Commission chooses the appropriate regulation depending on conditions. Fires have been prohibited in the County without a permit for the past several years and that prohibition has been extended for 2004. Although not specifically mentioned in the lease fish should never be placed in any of the ponds. All stocked fish must be approved by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Accomplishing the Conservancy was a laborious task for a handful of volunteers who got the job done for the benefit of Ranch property owners and wildlife.

2003 was a good year for Sand Lilies