On June 17, 2010, the Great Outdoors Colorado Board approved the final grants for Fiscal Year 2010; the Hatton Ranch, one of Palmer Land Trust's premier conservation projects, received a $302,500 Open Space Grant to protect a portion of the ranch with a conservation easement. The Mary K. Chapman Foundation and America's Byways Program also awarded significant financial support for the completion of the project.
The Hatton Ranch makes up a significant project in Palmer Land Trust’s Protect Pikes Peak Conservation Initiative. The goal of the Protect Pikes Peak Conservation Initiative is to protect a ring of public and private lands that circumnavigate the Pikes Peak massif. The properties identified for protection under this initiative represent some of the most important publicly accessible, agriculturally productive, and biologically diverse lands that surround this iconic National Historic Landmark, and the Hatton Ranch is no exception. Properties face threats ranging from imminent sale for residential or commercial development to severance of water rights in an area already heavily depleted of water resources to severe alteration from resource extraction activities. The importance of conserving the Hatton Ranch is underscored by its inclusion in numerous biological studies, local agriculture-based economic initiatives, and county open space master plans.
The 1,095-acre Hatton Ranch lies along the Gold Belt Tour National Scenic Byway, one of only ten national scenic byways in Colorado, near the Dome Rock State Wildlife Area. Teller County Road 11, an important leg of the Gold Belt Byway, bisects the ranch and runs through the bottom of the expansive valley carved out by Fourmile Creek. The Hatton Ranch encompasses a significant portion of the valley and rises well onto the mountainsides that frame the valley. The entire ranch is visible from the byway and affords critical viewshed protection for byway travelers. Additionally, the Hatton Ranch is located in an area designated as a "High Priority Habitat-Acquisition Area" by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. The Colorado Division of Wildlife has provided a "Significant Wildlife Habitat Overlay Map, Teller County, Colorado," for use with the Teller County Growth Management Plan. This overlay map designates the property as having a "high" potential for impact from development.
Many thanks go out to the various partners who are making this project possible - most importantly is the Hatton family.