In 2007, the Conservancy worked with landowners to add 2,540 acres of protected lands to the Pitchfork Ranch, a biologically significant landscape in one of the Greater Yellowstone’s six priority conservation areas, for a total of more than 10,790 acres and three miles of the Greybull River preserved for people and nature.
In a region of the country experiencing growth more than 20% higher than the national average, the historic Pitchfork Ranch is part of the Greybull River Basin, 37,036 protected acres of classic big sage country, open meadows and conifer forests protected from wildcat subdivisions that threaten to disturb these vital foraging grounds for elk, pronghorn, black bear, cutthroat trout, and grizzly bear.
Rrecreational opportunities on the ranch include fishing, birding and horseback riding with traditional cattle operations like grazing, pasturing and haying remaining in place on the ranch.
Located on the east flank of Yellowstone National Park and abutting the Shoshone National Forest, the Pitchfork Ranch helps link the natural east-west migration routes from Yellowstone through the Absaroka Mountains that are key winter grounds for moose, mule deer and bighorn sheep.
A River Runs Through It
The Greybull River runs through some of the most remote backcountry in the Greater Yellowstone. Invasive species are an increasing concern along the river’s corridor, choking out native plants and altering the integrity of the watershed that supports Yellowstone cutthroat trout, a species that has endured population extinction and fragmentation throughout much of its historic range. The three miles of the river running through the Pitchfork ranch are believed to be cutthroat breeding grounds.
Other target species on the Pitchfork Ranch include.
- White-tailed prairie dogs
- Grizzly bear
- Mule deer
When black-footed ferret populations where found on the property back in 1981, the discovery of what was believed to be an extinct species made national news. The ferret populations from the Pitchfork Ranch were used to reintroduce the species throughout Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, and Arizona.