Why You Should Visit
Davis Ranch is one of the largest prairie landscapes in the Missouri Coteau. It is a mosaic of high quality northern mixed-grass prairie studded with fresh, alkaline, ephemeral and permanent wetlands. The impact of human activities has been very light in this place, with even surrounding agricultural areas having a low human population density. More than any other Conservancy preserve in North Dakota, Davis Ranch retains the "feel" and scale of the native prairie.
Davis Ranch is located 5 miles south of Denhoff ND or 14 miles north of Wing, ND. It is situated in a narrow (3-4 miles wide) ridge of low hills that rise more than 100 feet above agricultural lands to the west and east.
Plan Your Visit
For more information on visiting this and other North Dakota preserves, check out our Preserve Visitation Guidelines.
The overall size of Davis Ranch including the portion that was once called the Sheridan Preserve is 7,017 acres. It is the largest Conservancy Preserve in North Dakota. It extends six miles in a north-south direction and averages about 1.5 miles in width.
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
Large, high quality examples of several community types led the Conservancy to this site. The conservation targets include pothole wetlands, silverberry shrubland, western wheatgrass grassland, and needlegrass grassland.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
The Nature Conservancy acquired Davis Ranch in 1997 and since then has been developing a stewardship program at the preserve. Our management has been focused in three areas:
- We have been developing a grazing system where domestic cattle are used to mimic the historic grazing patterns of bison.
- In an effort to discourage woody plant encroachment and begin the reduction of smooth brome, we have initiated a prescribed burn plan.
- We are continuing to develop an integrated weed management program focused on controlling leafy spurge. We are spraying known spurge patches twice a year, and have released specalized-feeding flea beetles as a means of biological control.