Bohart Ranch in Colorado
Bohart Ranch Wildflowers and foliage of Bohart Ranch in Southeast CO. © Stephen G. Weaver

Places We Protect

Bohart Ranch in Colorado

Bohart Ranch

Where conservation and cattle ranching co-exist.

Preserve Highlights    

The Spanish Peaks loom to the south; Pike's Peak lies to the west. And in every direction you can see the vast, open prairie reminiscent of the state before it was settled.

The high-quality sandsage prairie supports numerous grassland bird species, reptiles, a healthy prairie dog town and a diverse array of other wildlife.  

Is This a Conservancy Preserve?

In addition to having been protected for its ecological value, Bohart is a working cattle ranch - an excellent example of how agriculture and conservation can prosper together. 

In an innovative partnership with the Colorado State Land Board, The Nature Conservancy of Colorado identified a conservation-minded rancher to sublease the Bohart Ranch. The lessee is Dick Tanner. As ranch manager for many years, he had been responsible for the ranch's excellent stewardship practices.

Under this arrangement, The Conservancy and Mr. Tanner jointly maintain the ranch's unique prairie ecosystem and manage its agricultural activities. 

Location

Southcentral Colorado: south of Ellicott

Why The Conservancy Selected This Site  

Bohart Ranch harbors a large, unfragmented example of high-quality sandsage prairie.  Due to a long history of excellent land stewardship, this sandsage prairie is some of the best known in the entire Central Shortgrass Prairie Ecoregion. (This ecoregion is a Conservancy-designated area characterized by common grassland features.  It includes parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas.)

What The Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing

We have conducted many stewardship, education and outreach activities on the Bohart Ranch and in the greater Chico Basin. Activities include the following:

  • Partnering with neighboring Chico Basin Ranch to eradicate tamarisk (and other noxious weeds) from the Chico Creek watershed
  • Hosting biological inventory events on the Bohart and Chico Basin Ranches
  • Conducting field trips for members and people from the community
  • Hosting school groups
  • Partnering with the Colorado Division of Wildlife on education initiatives
  • Providing a site for research projects

Plants
Bohart Ranch is an operating cattle ranch featuring great examples of sandsage prairie and tallgrass prairie - some grasses grow as high as four feet!  

Birds
This site is a great place for birdwatching. Among the species you might see:

  • Burrowing owl
  • Ferruginous hawk
  • Golden eagle (nesting on-site)
  • Grassland birds (several species)
  • Great horned owl (nesting on-site)
  • Lark bunting (Colorado State Bird)
  • Mountain plover
  • Redtail hawk
  • Swainson's hawk  

Animals

  • Coyote
  • Horned lizard
  • Ornate box turtle
  • Prairie dog (black-tailed)
  • Pronghorn
  • Rattlesnake
  • Swift fox

Because this is an operating ranch, it is not open for drop-in visits. During the summer months, you may join a volunteer workday at the preserve.