Montrose Fresh
Montrose Fresh
Jan 27, 2021
Sprawling ranch along the scenic West Elk bypass is now conserved
Play • 7 min

Good morning and welcome to Montrose Fresh, from The Montrose Daily Press. It’s Wednesday January 27th and we’re here with local news, events, announcements, and more that matter to us here in Western Colorado. 

 Today -- A sprawling ranch located along the scenic West Elk bypass is now conserved

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But before we begin, We’d like to highlight the dancers at A Time to Dance. For them, dance is a way to not only express, but to connect during a time when connecting has been entirely reinvented.

The dance group recently held its Winter Showcase, dancing in the theme of spreading kindness to the people around us.

Dance director and A Time to Dance owner Catherine Frates described the rehearsal performance as “informal.” and said it was a rough draft to the recital in May.

The dance company is entering its 15th year in Montrose, serving a wide range of community members from dancers as young as 2 years old, to older adults.

For everyone, being able to dance is helping to bridge the gap between safely social distancing and continuing to dance.

Frates said although the dance company has always been attentive to cleaning, the members are being even more careful now due to COVID risks.

Now, our feature story. A sprawling 1,200 acre ranch located along the scenic West Elk bypass is now conserved -- thanks to efforts by the property owners and Colorado West Land Trust.

The Meek Ranch, in the Crystal Valley, is a mosaic of irrigated meadows and pastures, mountain shrublands, and woodland that covers gently rolling terrain. Crystal Creek runs for nearly 2 miles through the property and provides significant habitat for wildlife.

From the West Elk Scenic and Historic Byway, one may now look out over this beautiful ranch with assurance that it will never be developed or subdivided in the future.

Sandy McLaughlin, who now owns the ranch with Roy McLaughlin said that the Meek family started ranching this land in 1915. The McLaughlins purchased the property in 2014 and used it to graze livestock.

The ranch is surrounded by privately owned open space and National Forest land that connects to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park to the southwest. This area provides forage, cover, breeding grounds, and migration corridors for a diversity of wildlife. 

Conservation of the Meek Ranch builds on previous efforts by CWLT to protect unique natural and agricultural characteristics in the area. To date, the organization has protected nearly 9,500 acres of ranch land along the West Elk Scenic Byway.

Additional funding to complete this project was provided by Great Outdoors Colorado and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, two organizations that have worked alongside CWLT on many projects to conserve open space on the Western Slope.

Colorado West Land Trust is a private, charitable nonprofit organization. They have conserved over 125,000 acres across six Delta, Gunnison, Mesa, Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel counties.

Its mission is to protect and enhance agricultural land, wildlife habitat and scenic lands in western Colorado to benefit the community at large, enrich lives, provide opportunities for outdoor recreation, and ensure our connection to land for generations to come. 

Thanks for listening, finally, we’d like to take a moment today to remember the life  Glenn Watts of Grand Junction. After Glenn married his first wife Betty, he was drafted into the U.S. Army for the Korean War. Upon discharge he returned to Colorado to start Watts Construction. Some of his custom log homes can be seen on the Western Slope of Colorado.

Glenn lived mainly in Montrose, where he met and married his third wife Lynnda. They resided in Montrose for a few years until they relocated to Grand Junction, Colorado.

Glenn and his brother David were rough stock riders in the very first Little Britches Rodeos. Glenn acted as an angel by saving his brother’s life by loading him on his horse and racing home for help after David was accidentally shot by a friend during a camping trip. He also saved a young man from an electrocution death while on a job site.

Glenn was happiest being outdoors. He loved rifle hunting, bow hunting, and fishing. Glenn also never missed a Denver Broncos football game and he lived for football Sundays. Glenn also was an avid reader of Western novels and loved collecting “The End of The Trail” and Native American art. His eyes twinkled when enjoying a good laugh. He loved the music of his grandchildren’s laughter and enjoyed watching his grandsons play football.

Thank you for taking a moment today to remember and celebrate Glenn’s life.

That’s all for today, thank you for listening! For more information on any of these stories visit us at

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For more than 137 years, The Montrose Daily Press has been dedicated to shining a light on all the issues that matter to our community. Go to to subscribe for just $1.99 per week for our digital edition. You’ll get unlimited access to every story, feature, and special section. Thank you and remember to tune in again next time on or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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