35 Acres | March 18, 1999
Gayle Hoenig, donor
“Everyone wants this property because it is so beautiful….This property must be protected by environmentalists who appreciate it for what it is, a wildlife habitat.” That’s what Gayle Hoenig wrote to the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust when she initiated the process for a conservation easement. When the agreement went into effect in 1999, this 35-acre property, located just north of Peyton, Colorado, became a permanent safe haven for all the animals who live there. In addition to restrictions on development and destructive logging practices, recreational and commercial hunting and trapping are prohibited, as they are on all properties covered by HSWLT conservation easements.
The Hoenig Wildlife Sanctuary is primarily a short grass prairie, although an elevated water table causes a more luxuriant growth than occurs typically on high plains sites. There is also a stand of cottonwoods and willows at the eastern end of the tract. Surrounding ridges and hilltops are in ponderosa pine.
A series of marshes provide welcome haven to flocks of redwing blackbirds here. The deciduous woods and pinon, prairie pasture land and a huge willow thicket shelter both mule and white-tailed deer, who have their fawns here in the spring, hide from hunters in the fall and find shelter here in winter. It is used year round for many species of wildlife, including great horned owls, kestrels, turkey buzzards (that congregate in the cottonwoods), numerous water and ground snakes, squirrels, skunks and bats. Numerous other birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals pass through this land.
Surrounding lands historically have been cattle ranches. Some of these have been broken up into large lot housing developments. More development is expected. But the Hoenig Wildlife Sanctuary will remain as a permanent home to wildlife thanks to the compassion and generosity of Gayle Hoenig.
Gayle Hoenig died in September 2009. She had owned and operated the Bravo Bend Wildlife Sanctuary in Peyton, Colorado for many years. In addition, Ms. Hoenig had been a friend to all creatures and belonged to Bat Conservation International and the Humane Society of the United States. She supported the Zimbabwe Conservation Taskforce, Sea Shepherd Society, and numerous other organizations helping wildlife in Africa and other parts of the world. She is missed by family and friends, including many in the animal protection community.
Although this sanctuary remains privately owned, the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust has an obligation to perform periodic inspections to ensure that the wildlife habitat remains in good condition and that the terms of the conservation easements are being met. These inspections, and the handling of any destruction or violations, cost heavily in professional staff time, consultants, and travel expenses. In addition HSWLT needs a reserve of funds for the substantial legal fees needed if enforcement of violations involves court action.
HSWLT has promised to protect this property as sanctuary forever -- and that promise will be kept. If you can help with the cost of stewardship for this and the other properties HSWLT protects, please donate here.