The Nature Conservancy is pleased to announce the permanent protection of the Ladder Ranch in the Little Snake River Valley. The 1,518-acre ranch is owned by the Salisbury/O’Toole family who has raised cattle, sheep, and horses in the area for more than 120 years. The Conservancy now holds three conservation easements on the property.
“We believe we found the right partner in The Nature Conservancy,” said co-property owner Sharon O’Toole. “They have been great to work with, encouraging us every step of the way. We share the same vision for the future of this landscape.”
In April of 2009, the Conservancy announced a conservation easement on the first phase of the Ladder Ranch. The second was completed last December and the final phase was completed in early June.
The Ladder Ranch sits in the shadow of Battle Mountain with a view overlooking Squaw Mountain, Sheep Mountain, Battle Creek, and the Little Snake River. The easements include valuable riparian areas, irrigated meadowland, and sage uplands. The family will continue traditional agricultural uses, such as the existing cattle, sheep, and hay enterprises. The easement will also allow the family to maintain and expand their ranch recreation business while keeping vital wildlife corridors open.
The Ladder Ranch—which contains five ponds and 250 acres of wetlands—safeguards habitat that potentially supports 50 Species of Greatest Conservation Need as identified by Wyoming’s statewide wildlife action plan, Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy. Surrounding lands support the largest and most robust population of Columbian sharp-tailed grouse found anywhere in the central Rockies.
“A combination of exceptional wildlife habitat, viable ranchlands, and looming development pressures make protection of the Little Snake River Valley a top conservation priority” said Andrea Erickson-Quiroz, state director of The Nature Conservancy in Wyoming. “The Conservancy and other conservation organizations have been actively engaged on both sides of the Wyoming/ Colorado border.”
The Ladder Ranch conservation easements were supported by several entities, including the Little Snake River Conservation District, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Farm & Ranchland Protection Program, Wyoming Governor’s Big Game License Coalition, Green River Valley Land Trust and several private supporters helped enable the completion of the project. Support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation was pivotal in this conservation project.
The Salisbury/O’Toole family’s land stretches across the border into Colorado where they have protected two additional properties covering more than 1,000 acres and approximately 1.5 miles of the Little Snake River with conservation easements held by the Colorado Cattleman’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT).
“CCALT is excited to hear about the Salisbury/O’Toole family’s conservation efforts in Wyoming,” said Chris West, executive director of Colorado Cattleman’s Agricultural Land Trust. “This work will ensure that the ranching heritage of the Upper Little Snake River Valley will be preserved for the benefit of future generations.”
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
Cell: (720) 425-3930