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Family places easement on the largest conservation land area in the state

Feb 17, 2023 10:10AM ● By Alisha Copfer

THE SCHLICHTE FAMILY recently donated over 5,000 acres in Morgan County for land conservation efforts. Photo by Erica Schlichte


It was incorrectly stated in the original publication* of this story that the Schlichte family received compensation for this land parcel. However, the land was entirely donated to conservation efforts.

The Schlichtes did not seek any financial reimbursement as part of their conservation arrangement. 

MORGAN—Land conservation just became one family’s legacy. John Schlichte, his wife, Barbara, and their five sons made a tremendous financial decision at the end of 2022. They took a parcel of their land totaling just over 5,000 acres and signed an easement prohibiting further development, ever.

“It’s forever, and it’s a different thought process when you sign something like this that can never be overturned,” said Schlichte. He currently owns a nonprofit ranch called Warrior Rizen that runs off this land in the Morgan area. 

Schlichte said that no matter what the family does with this land from here on out, nothing can be developed there. “The landowner was incredibly generous and donated the easement,” said Cheryl Fox, executive director of the Park City-based Summit Land Conservancy.

*The Schlichtes did not seek any financial reimbursement as part of their conservation arrangement. 

The Summit Land Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit established in 2002. Their website says they are the only nonprofit dedicated to saving the open spaces of Park City and the Wasatch Back. Summit Land Conservancy protects and monitors their investments in local open spaces by defending permanent conservation easements.

“Barbara and I see the rate of development, and we’re concerned about what that means for our kids and grandkids and what we can do for conservation,” said Schlichte. “Now, this is always going to be there, forever.”

“When you stand back and look at the beauty and richness of the land, you begin to understand its potential impact on your family and its potential impact with the veteran community,” he said. “The easement perpetuates this land to those who have given our country the freedoms that we enjoy today with a promise that the ranch will be here for them in the future.”

 The Schlichte’s land is currently used for farming and is home to the Warrior Rizen Ranch, which serves former military members and their families. “[The family consists]” of John and Barbara and their five sons, who have all given many years to military and law enforcement service,” says the website “They understand firsthand the trials, sacrifices and challenges that military and public service requires. With real-life experiences, they have built a ranch to help give back to other servicemen and servicewomen and their families.”

Schlichte says he is happy that the land is always going to be there. He enjoys the western lifestyle of the cattle ranch, pushing cows, horseback riding and other dude ranch activities. “We now must maintain conservation values for the wildlife and the land,” said Schlichte.

“This is helping my family to have a sense of purpose while helping with conservation,” he said. “It provides a more fulfilling life and helps build our family’s character.”

“We are trying to do good things for the county,” said Erica Schlichte, John’s daughter-in-law. They both agree that the ranch is helping sustain the community that Morgan has been known for. “It’s a little piece of heaven,” Erica said.

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