Zapata Ranch

To view entries by location, click on a ranch name: Zapata Ranch // Chico Basin Ranch

about ZAPATA RANCH

The Zapata Ranch is a 103,000-acre bison and guest ranch owned by The Nature Conservancy. Located on the eastern wall of the San Luis Valley of Southern Colorado near the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, the Zapata consists of high desert grasslands, alpine forests, wetlands, sand dunes, creeks, and lush meadows that offer one of the most scenic and ecologically diverse landscapes in the United States.

November 8, 2016

October Ranch Roundup

As we move into fall, the guest season winds down at Zapata, while we begin our annual weaning at the Chico.

July 11, 2016

The Art of Roping

Take a look at some of the loops thrown at this years brandings.

June 6, 2016

Troop 400

“I have no words to say that could express the gratitude we have for your generosity. I was amazed when you answered so quickly and opened your land to us. Not long after our arrival the boys realized how unique this opportunity was to stay on the ranch. We were able to see the buffalo herd in the distance as we arrived late Friday evening. The view and perspective of the dunes was second to none.

We appreciate your hospitality to

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May 9, 2016

Spring

Spring is here in the valley and there are signs of it everywhere. The cottonwoods are greening up, hearty wildflowers are bursting through the ground and wildlife and their young can be spotted all around. Pronghorn, bison, and elk calves pepper the valley and mule deer fawns, jackrabbits, and a variety of birds can be seen around the lodge. I’ve even seen gray foxes just down the road from the ranch, which was very exciting. Spring is truly a special

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May 3, 2016

The Bison Posse

How many adult riders does it take to move a herd of kiddie bison? Fourteen. Obviously.

That was the size of our posse this past week when we pushed the remaining managed bison herd into the corrals on the Medano side of the Zapata Ranch. The wee woolies were getting prepped for their long road trip to the Land of Tatonka aka South Dakota aka the location of our newest ranch management project aka their new prairie home.

I always jump at

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April 14, 2016

Sprung

Spring snuck up on me this year.  I took some time off to head back to Kansas for a week in late March.  There was no mistaking that spring was in full force there, given the golf course-like pastures.  Here in the high desert, it’s a bit more subtle.

Before I left we’d been around a few fences and hadn’t really noticed any green yet.  There was a green hue, but perhaps I thought it was wishful thinking or my mind

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April 13, 2016

New Arrivals

Last week the MZ took on 103 new soon-to-be mother cows.  They’d spent the fall & winter at the Chico and had started dropping babies in March.  Twenty-five calves took the ride outside of mom here on the semi.  They also sent us another 56 yearling heifers.

Forty-five cows arrived on two trucks first.  Kate & Andrea helped me unload them into a holding pen as I counted them off.  Soon truck three arrived with the pairs & yearlings.  The yearlings

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