Homestead Preserve is located next to the world famous "Homestead" hotel in central Virginia. The project consists of 450 single family lots on more than 12,000 acres. 9,000 acres have been acquired by The Nature Conservancy and 900 acres have been placed in a Conservation Easement. BenchMark assisted the developer of the project in the structuring of a Founders Program and Conservation Strategy coordinating the services of land planners, engineers, appraisers and other consultant specialists. ited about it.
Clear Creek Tahoe is a 1650 acre project located 6 miles east of Lake Tahoe with majestic views of Nevada’s Carson Valley. More than 50% of the project has been placed into a conservation easement in partnership with The Nature Conservancy. BenchMark advised the client concerning all aspects of planning, design, strategy and easement conditions.
850 Acres, 50% of the total project, was placed into a Conservation Easement
In 2008 the developers of Clear Creek Tahoe, near Carson City, Nevada, searched for historic cattle ranches as an amenity for their emerging real estate development. Their search led them to the West Walker River below Topaz Lake in the Antelope Valley of Nevada.
During their evaluation they came to realize that the environmental and recreational values of the ranches were compelling on a stand-alone basis. As a result, over the course of the next decade, they acquired land comprising over 5,000 acres and containing slightly more than six miles of the West Walker River beginning at the confluence of the Topaz Canal.
Recognizing the importance of the habitat for the Bi-State Sage Grouse and the effort that was then underway to protect it from being listed on the Endangered Species List, in 2013 they placed approximately 3,800 acres and 3 miles of river into a permanent conservation easement with The Nature Conservancy (TNC). They subsequently added 600 acres and an additional mile of river in 2014. Efforts are currently underway to add a final 275 acres and 1.25 miles of river.
BenchMark assisted the Flitner Family with a long term conservation strategy for this 300,000 acre ranch in the Shell Valley, Wyoming. Services included an acquisition strategy for critical lands in the Shell Valley viewshed and the planning of limited development projects on the Western Bighorn Mountain Range. The focus of the Shell Valley Preservation Initiative is "The Hideout" an exclusive western experience ranch offering the opportunity to participate in a wide range of ranch activities.
BenchMark has assisted the developers of this mountain community located near Burnsville, NC northeast of Asheville. Services included exploring options for conservation easements on future phases of development.
The land that now makes up Rock Creek Cattle Company was once a part of the historic Grant-Kohrs Ranch, a sprawling empire that spanned nearly 10 million acres of southwestern Montana. Rock Creek Cattle Company is comprised of the 28,000-acre Home Ranch and secluded Rock Creek Lake. This land, known as “Spotted Dog”, is one of the best elk winter ranges in Montana and a wildlife mecca with elk, bears, wolves, deer and antelope.
BenchMark assisted with the identification of the long-range opportunities for conservation.
Yellowstone Club is the world’s only private, members-only ski and golf community. Located in the heart of the Northern Rocky Mountains in Big Sky, Montana, YC covers 15,200 acres. Ski terrain comprises 2,900 acres with 2,700 vertical feet drop. A Tom Weiskopf designed golf course overlooks the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains.
BenchMark worked with the Yellowstone Club team to explore future conservation opportunities.
Preserve Mccall was a proposed land exchange with the State of Idaho comprising some 28,000 acres. The proposal was to protect recreation and wildlands in Valley County by exchanging private harvestable timberland in northern Idaho for state-owned endowment lands in Valley County. Idaho endowment lands are not traditional “public lands.” Per the State constitution and State Land Board guidelines, these lands need to be managed to provide revenues to Idaho public schools. Since these particular lands don’t provide sufficient timber harvests and cost the state money to upkeep, holding onto these economically impaired lands conflicts with the State Board of Land Commissioner’s constitutional duty.
Preserve McCall undertook on extensive analysis and planning effort to propose a comprehensive plan protecting these lands around Payette Lake and placing more than 18,000 acres of the exchange lands into a conservation easement in perpetuity. Ultimately, the State Land Board denied Preserve Mccall’s proposal. BenchMark participated as part of a interdisciplinary team to provide input to the conservation strategy
This wilderness landholding of more than 1,000 forested acres, with over 1 mile of Stillwater River frontage was a donation to the people of Montana. The property is surrounded by Flathead National Forest and Stillwater State Forests. Located 17 miles north of Whitefish the property was donated to the Trust for Public Land and later placed into a conservation easement with Montana Fish And Wildlife and Parks (MFWP). In 2015, Montana’s “State Wildlife Action Plan” identified these lands to be within the highest ranked habitat for connectivity of priority wildlife species. 42 species of greatest conservation need. The donation agreement calls for the property to be managed for long-term sustainable timber harvest and provides for public access.
BenchMark managed the process of documenting the conservation value of the property and the donation process.