Nature Conservancy gets 5,908-acre ranch gift
RAPID CITY -- Christmas came early at The Nature Conservancy this year when the organization received the largest gift in the 16-year history of its Western Dakotas Program.
Constance Tucker, wife of the late Beverly Tucker, and their children, Sarah, Stewart and Nate, have donated the historic 5,908-acre Cornerstone Ranch to the Conservancy. The family made the gift in honor of Mr. Tucker, who ranched in the area for more than a decade.
Named for its location where three states -- South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana -- come together, the majority of the ranch and its 915-acre Bureau of Land Management grazing allotment is in Butte County, South Dakota.
About 160 acres are located in Crook County, Wyoming.
The Conservancy's long-term plan for Cornerstone Ranch is to sell it to a private conservation rancher. The Conservancy will retain a permanent conservation easement that limits future subdivision and development, ensuring the land will remain in native prairie and maintain its ranching tradition.
Proceeds from this sale will help fund the Conservancy's work across western South Dakota, where the organization uses cattle and bison grazing to conserve sage grouse, black-footed ferrets and many other native plants and animals.
The Conservancy will prevent surface disturbance from oil and gas exploration on the ranch, to the extent possible, and pay property taxes as it does on other lands it owns in western South Dakota.
The Nature Conservancy is a conservation organization working around the world to protect land and water. To date, the Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have helped protect 130 million acres worldwide.
In South Dakota, the Conservancy has helped protect more than 84,000 acres of land and water since 1961.