Palmer Land Trust (PLT), along with the Gold Belt Byway Association, Great Outdoors Colorado, Gates Family Foundation, and Natural Resources Conservation Service teamed up to protect the Larsen Ranch. This effort is part of a larger conservation initiative centered on land protection along the Gold Belt Tour National Scenic Byway, one of two national scenic byways with federally-funded conservation plans in Colorado; the other is the San Juan Skyway.
The Larsen Ranch offers stunning views of Pikes Peak and a number of exfoliation domes, including Dome Rock and Dogs Head. The property is actively ranched and is part of an historic ranching area, which today is experiencing heavy development and subdivision pressure. The property contains excellent wildlife habitat, senior water rights, and is adjacent to a large, contiguous conglomeration of protected private and public lands. Two different legs of the byway (Teller County Road 1 and Teller County Road 11) converge near the northern tip of the Larsen Ranch, lining the property on both its east and west sides. Because it is bound by two legs of the byway, it is one of the most visible properties along the Gold Belt.
Multiple conservation easement protected properties and public properties link together with the Larsen Ranch to create a contiguous, ecologically diverse 110,000-acre landscape. The property rests immediately adjacent to a Teller County park and other PLT protected private properties. These private properties connect the Larsen Ranch to Mueller State Park and Dome Rock State Wildlife Area, which encompass over 12,000 acres. Over 240,000 people visit these state lands, many of whom look onto the Larsen Ranch from the summit of Dome Rock. Over 90,000 acres of Pike National Forest and Bureau of Land Management property adjoin Mueller State Park to the east and south. To the north, but not contiguous with the Larsen Ranch, is the 6,000-acre Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.
The Larsen Ranch possesses important, unique natural habitat for wildlife. Two creeks – Fourmile Creek and Hay Creek – run directly through the property, carving their way down towards the Arkansas River. Over one hundred species of birds and multiple species of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians rely on these sources of water for migration corridors and domicile.