Horses, Hats, and Heritage

Horses, Hats, and Heritage

Dude ranching offers a compelling model for sustainable tourism in the West

By Graham Marema

Just before sunrise, Nine Quarter Circle Ranch wakes up. The valley is still blue with fog, and wranglers don cowboy hats and vests, shimmying their feet into worn boots.

Leave it to Beaver

Leave it to Beaver

Returning to past practices for future water management

By Tesia Lin

In 2014, John Coffman arrived in Wyoming as The Nature Conservancy’s new steward for the Red Canyon Ranch and quickly encountered an unforgettable lesson.

A building on a truck with construction in the foreground

Not Fade Away

Communities in rural Montana reach beyond agriculture

By Samuel Western

I’m in upper eastern Montana, a land of undulating drainages, heading north on Highway 87.

Two cows and a calf on a grassland

Free-Range Carbon

Not a silver bullet, but maybe a gold standard, a new market tool benefits climate, ecosystems, and people 

By Birch Malotky

When I get Dallas May on the phone for the first time and ask how he’s doing, he immediately tells me, “We were getting ready to start selling cattle and a week later the rains started.

Ventenata in grass field

Early Detection and Rapid Response

Can a highly coordinated team of experts and weed managers stop a new invasive species?

For many westerners, cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) is the exemplar invasive weed, well known for thriving in sagebrush landscapes where it crowds out native plants, fuels a devastating fire regime, and threatens wildlife and livestock grazing.

Christy Bell holding a bee

Unsung Pollinators

Native bees are forgotten in the clamor to save exotic pollinators

Christy Bell rifled through a series of shallow drawers lining the walls of a dark, windowless lab.

sheep on rocks

Where Domestic Sheep Still Roam

A court case challenges domestic sheep grazing on national forests

In any court case, there are two sides. But in a wood-paneled courtroom at the Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Butte, Montana, differences between the two sides headed to court were not immediately apparent.

sage grouse

A Win-Win Situation

What’s good for sage grouse is good for landowners

I met Peter John Camino in the lobby of the Johnson County Public Library in Buffalo, Wyoming.

Hydro-powered center-pivot on a ranch in Colorado.

Small-Scale Hydropower

Wyoming’s streams and irrigation ditches are an untapped clean energy source

“If we disconnected that 14-inch pipe and pointed it upward, the water would blast nearly 600 feet into the air,” says Les Hook

Conservation Easements in Wyoming

Conservation Easements in Wyoming

Each land trust, landowner, and conservation easement is one-of-a-kind

From verdant, low-elevation spreads in Wyoming’s northeast corner to high, dry western basins, private lands across the state are diverse.

Conservation Easements

Conservation Easements

An open spaces protection tool worth reforming

In 2002, when Robert Hicks, owner of the Buffalo Bulletin newspaper in Buffalo, Wyoming, learned that the Johnson County commissioners canceled a conservation easement

After the Burn

After the Burn

Fontenelle fire sparks collaboration to protect local ecosystems and economies

In late June of 2012, the Fontenelle fire ripped across the Wyoming Range, torching forests and shrublands.

Carnivores, Not Condos

Carnivores, Not Condos

Ranches provide key wildlife passages between two protected ecosystems

On his ranch in Montana’s Ruby Valley, Rick Sandru can load hay and enjoy views of the snowcapped Tobacco Root Mountains as geese honk overhead.

Of Ranchers and Researchers

Of Ranchers and Researchers

Trespassing to collect data in Wyoming is a crime

As early as 2006, employees of the environmental group Western Watersheds Project allegedly trespassed onto Wyoming ranches to gather water samples.

Wyoming Stickers

Wyoming Stickers

Three lifelong ranchers reflect on private lands values

“For somehow, against probability, some sort of indigenous, recognizable culture has been growing on Western ranches and in Western towns

Selling Conservation

Selling Conservation

UW research reveals landowners’ surprising attitudes about conservation easements

Chris Bastian grew up working on his grandparents’ ranches in southeastern Wyoming every summer and thought he’d spend his life as a rancher.