AVLT closes on purchase of Coffman Ranch near Carbondale; open house set for Sept. 19 | PostIndependent.com

AVLT closes on purchase of Coffman Ranch near Carbondale; open house set for Sept. 19

Rex Coffman looks out at his ranch that he has lived and worked on since 1958.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

The Aspen Valley Land Trust and longtime Carbondale-area ranchers Rex and JoAnn Coffman have officially completed the transfer of the Coffmans’ working ranch to the land trust.

The closing occurred on Tuesday afternoon, officially putting the 141-acre ranch located 1½ miles east of Carbondale along the Roaring Fork River in the hands of the AVLT, the organization announced in a Tuesday news release.

The Coffmans plan to continue living part of the year at the ranch that they’ve owned since the mid-1950s. The AVLT plans to maintain the land as a working ranch and establish an agriculture and conservation education center on the site.

Pitkin County will also hold a conservation easement on the land in perpetuity to protect the agriculture and wildlife habitat and to establish future public access to the riverfront following completion of a formal resource management plan.

“Today is the first day of a long relationship for AVLT with this ranch,” AVLT Executive Director Suzanne Stephens said in the release. “We look forward to forever protecting and caring for this beautiful place and are excited to celebrate this milestone. But this is really just the first step down a long road of conservation for this working ranch and community treasure.”

AVLT invites the public to see the ranch firsthand and learn more during an open house from noon to 4 p.m. on Sept. 19 in the pasture near Catherine Store Road.

This acquisition was made possible with funding support from Great Outdoors Colorado, Pitkin County, Garfield County, the town of Carbondale, River Valley Ranch’s Open Space Fund (held by AVLT) and numerous individual contributions.

With the purchase complete, AVLT will also now launch a $7 million public capital campaign to make the conservation management of and community access to the ranch possible, according to the release.

Funds are to be used over the next few years to invest in land management, restoration, regenerative agriculture, public access, outdoor education and a permanent home for the nonprofit organization.

“This ranch is about more than its fertile ag land, wildlife habitat and riverfront,” Stephens said in the release. “This is a chance to create a demonstration ranch that can showcase the best of conservation and welcome everyone into this work.”

That could include outdoor space for local schools and nonprofits to teach about ranching and conservation and create a quiet open space close to town for the public to use.

“This is about creating the future we want to see for our valleys and bringing everyone along with us,” Stephens said.

Rex and Jo Coffman stand for a portrait on the ranch they have lived and worked on since 1958.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

In 65 years of operating the ranch, the Coffmans worked their dairy, raised beef cattle and more recently leased the land to other local ranchers. Both Rex and JoAnn turned 90 this year and ultimately agreed to sell the ranch to AVLT while retaining the right to live out their days there.

Free tickets for the Sept. 19 open house can be reserved on Eventbrite. Festivities are to include food, live music, carriage rides and kids crafts.

Learn more at AVLT.org/coffman.

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