Elk Bench Corridor – Buena Vista
County: Chaffee County
Date Recorded: 12/5/03
LTUA ID: 09
To the west and north of Buena Vista stands the highest range in the Rocky Mountains, the southern part of the Sawatch Range. One of its main wildlife features is the large elk herd that inhabits the nearby high country in summer and migrates down along the grasslands of the valley during the winter snow season.
Because this Collegiate Valley is so protected on the west by the high peaks, it has an exceptionally moderate, dry mountain climate. Rarely in the winter does the snow cover the valley for long periods of time. The elk herd finds its winter forage vital to the herd’s health and survival.
Initially, the Department of Wildlife (DOW) collaborated with developers and private landowners as a model of commitment to our Colorado wildlife heritage. Subsequently, since 2003, the Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas completed 13 contiguous conservation easements to protect the land between the Game Trail Corridor and the Heckendorf State Wildlife Area, BLM and U.S. Forest Service lands. LTUA views this land as a remarkable asset of our natural environment protecting the Buena Vista area elk herd.