Dugout Ranch

Icon of the American West

Why is Dugout Ranch Special?

Located in the heart of the Colorado Plateau, Dugout Ranch is interspersed along the biologically rich canyon bottoms of Indian and North Cottonwood Creeks. These canyons are walled by steep sandstone cliffs and talus slopes that form the gateway to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.

Ancestral Puebloan rock art and dwellings are found throughout the Dugout Ranch Canyonlands Project area, the most well known being Newspaper Rock. The Green Cabin and other historic structures were built by early settlers in the Dugout Country.


Dugout Ranch is in San Juan County, 20 miles northwest of Monticello, Utah. It is near the entrance to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.

5,200 acres

Dugout Ranch is a working ranch, including the private residence of ranch lessee, Heidi Redd, and therefore can be visited by appointment only. Contact Sue Bellagamba in our Moab Project Office for more information. 

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site

The Dugout Ranch's 5,200 acres and accompanying 250,000 acres of grazing allotments, provides about 255,000 acres of biologically diverse natural area and open space along the Colorado Plateau. The ranch's large 'relict areas' are locations that remain little or not at all altered by human actions. Three of these occur on the BLM-administered grazing allotments and are of special value to science. Faced with the need to sell the Utah Ranch, the Redd family in 1995 began working with The Nature Conservancy to explore alternatives to commercial sale of the property.

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing

By acquiring the Dugout Ranch near Canyonlands National Park, The Nature Conservancy saved one of the West’s iconic landscapes, unique among other Utah ranches. Today, the ranch, spanning more than 305,000 acres of private and public land, is the foundation for the ground-breaking Canyonlands Research Center. The Center works to increase our understanding of the interactive effects of climate change and land-use, and arm decision-makers with new information to adapt to challenges such as diminished Colorado River water quantity and quality, grazing and recreation impacts, and invasive species.


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