Category Archives for // CONSERVE


Conservation has long been a cornerstone of our operations. Since our livelihood depends on the vitality of the land, we have a vested interest in keeping these ecosystems healthy and thriving. Because we work closely with conservation organizations such as The Nature Conservancy and the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory, we are able to take advantage of science-based management methods to which ranchers have not traditionally been exposed.

March 19, 2013

Spring Has Sprung!

Spring is officially here. The cows are being sorted off daily and those that are about to drop are moved to the pivot ready to give birth. The pivot is right outside the lodge window so we can keep a close eye on the newborns. Two riders are out each day checking, riding through and helping out any cows that are having trouble with their birth. This little guy was helped out this morning and it didn’t take long for

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March 8, 2013

Big day for the little guys

Nick and Amy spent yesterday separating the foals from the mares.  At this point the mares have generally weaned them on their own and dried up, so it really just a period of getting the foals over seperation anxiety and ready for a new life of independence.  Just like with our calves we use fence line weaning to get the job done.  This way, though they are seperated they can still find each other across the fence.  They will wander off for

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January 29, 2013

Schoolhouse Proverb

A photo by Jeanie Mitchell of an inscription left by a member of one of the many volunteer groups that put time and heart into the schoolhouse.  Thanks to Bill Maynard for forwarding it on.

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January 4, 2013

Festive Colors

Folks from town always seem more than willing to share their festivities with us.  While out chopping ice on New Years Day I saw not one, but three different balloons.  That was just driving along the road in one corner of the ranch.
This one was more bouyant than most, maybe because it didn’t land in a cholla patch.  The shiny red balloon sure was a stark contrast the dry old winter time prairie.  On one hand we are glad we

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May 22, 2012


So far we have a great start on the year. We had two wet snows in April and ¾ of an inch of rain in May so far. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot of moisture but, considering that our average annual moisture is 7 to 8 inches, it doesn’t take a lot for our hearty vegetation to come alive. Our winter was really dry so we are not seeing the snowmelt from the mountains like usual but the green grass

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November 16, 2011

End of the Gather

The annual bison gather will be over tomorrow after we finish processing the last little group from the trap. After the processing the rest of the bison in the corrals will either be shipped or let back out onto the ranch.

The gather this year was a success and a fun, intense time spent with the Zapata and Chico crews and friends who helped out.

Here are some final highlights from the last days of the gather into the big trap:

Each day

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August 30, 2011

Land Monitoring Workshop

Last week Charley Orchard from Land EKG came out to our sister ranch, Chico Basin, to teach a workshop on monitoring land health.

Charley’s system is recognized by most major agencies like the BLM and Forest Service as an acceptable, accurate and reputable method for measuring land health. Land EKG is comparable to a regular EKG, the machine they hook you up to in a hospital to monitor your heart and make sure you don’t flat-line (i.e. die), and is a system that

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July 26, 2011

Horsemanship Clinic

Our horsemanship clinic with Duke and Cam started yesterday and the day ended with working some of the younger horses in the round pen.

At our sister ranch, Chico Basin, there are several broodmares, a few you can see in the picture above, where we get most of the horses that we work with. Here’s a picture of one of the foals that was recently born this summer.

After the foals have matured and developed and we’ve worked with them on being

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July 21, 2011

Horsemanship Clinic Next Week

Next week’s horsemanship clinic will be lead by Zapata and Chico Basin Ranch’s Duke Phillips and Cam Schryver, the horsemanship director at Thacher School in California.

Cam is spending the week riding at our sister ranch, Chico Basin, helping gather cattle and participating in Friday’s branding. After the concert on Saturday and songwriting workshop Sunday at Chico, they’ll head over to Zapata for the clinic. Cam and Duke will be teaching horsemanship skills based on real situations, being out in the

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July 11, 2011

An Afternoon Concert with James McMurtry

We had a great turnout and great weather at yesterday’s show with James McMurtry.

Thanks to everyone who came out and made it a great afternoon and for supporting the Shriver/Wright Memorial Project! The silent auction had some sought-after items including two custom-made bamboo fly rods and a day of fishing, and with the great attendance and bison burger lunches we were able to raise some money for the memorial project.

We had visitors from all over North America including New York,

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