Saving Selman Ranch

Partnership Protects Ranch & Wildlife

Working with Ranchers to Protect their Lands and Heritage

Ranchland Supports Habitat for At-Risk Species

The Conservancy has purchased a conservation easement on the 6,700-acre Selman Ranch near Logan. Nestled in the Little Bear drainage, this ranch harbors breeding ground for the Columbian sharp-tailed grouse—a bird that has already lost more than 96 percent of its historic habitat in Utah and is in danger of being federally listed as an endangered species.    

“We are excited about working with the Conservancy on this easement because we feel like somewhere, sometime, someone needs to save a place for Utah’s wildlife," said rancher Bret Selman. 

The terms of the conservation easement will allow the Selmans, third-generation sheep and cattle ranchers, to maintain ownership and to keep working the land and passing on their careful tradition of stewardship to future generations.  The Conservancy will also work with the Selmans and other partners, including the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) and the Natural Resource Conservation Service to develop a long-term management plan that will address habitat improvements, invasive species and sustainable logging on the ranch. The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food will hold the conservation easement. 

“Saving places like Selman Ranch is becoming increasingly difficult in burgeoning Cache County," said Joan Degiorgio, the Conservancy’s Northern Mountains Regional Director. "As the City of Logan grows, its impacts on traditional agricultural lands and open spaces are real.  Residential developments and ski lifts have recently been proposed for the undeveloped South Fork of the Little Bear River drainage—just 5 miles from Selman Ranch.”

The Selman Ranch is just one example of the tangible, on-the-ground results that are possible through the Conservancy's new Living Lands & Waters campaign.

“The protection of Selman Ranch is a major conservation success story and a perfect example of the importance of the Living Lands & Waters Campaign,” said Dave Livermore the Conservancy's Utah State Director. “Over the next four years, we will work to save more places like Selman Ranch—areas that harbor critical wildlife habitat and are important to local communities, and places that are under increasing pressure from human impacts.”

Utah's Special Ranchlands

Many of Utah's historic ranches provide a critical safety zone for plants and animals who are losing ground to rapid development. Spanning sage-steppe habitat, old-growth Douglas fir as well as aspen and mountain shrub, the Selman Ranch features valuable habitat for at-risk species such as the Columbian sharp-tailed grouse and the greater sage grouse.  The ranch also supports critical riparian areas, which provide habitat for the Bonneville cutthroat trout, and the ranch’s ten springs and ponds are potential habitat for the boreal toad. Other wildlife species on the ranch include goshawks, Brewer’s sparrows, grasshopper sparrows, a wintering deer herd and several bat species. 

The Nature Conservancy Respects Private Property Rights

The Conservancy is proud to partner with many Utah farmers and ranchers to help them protect their working landscapes and vital habitat for future generations. All Conservancy projects are completed on a willing seller/willing buyer basis and all properties protected by the Conservancy remain on the tax rolls.  For more information, contact us at (801) 531-0999 or