Red Canyon at Sunset. Rumaldo Holguin photo.

Red Canyon south of Lander is the location of The Nature Conservancy’s Red Canyon Ranch. (Rumaldo Holguin photo) 

(Lander, Wyo.) –  The Nature Conservancy has issued a Request for Proposals to lease its Red Canyon Ranch, located south of Lander. It hopes to find a young producer to partner with to advance mutually compatible goals of conservation and agricultural production, according to a news release issued Wednesday.

Through a generous decision by Henry and Nan Slingerland, the Conservancy acquired Red Canyon Ranch in 1993 with the goal of protecting the important plants and animals that rely on the iconic landscape. It also provided an opportunity to demonstrate the economic and ecological compatibility of ranching.

For 20 years, the Conservancy has managed a cow-calf operation on the ranch and used livestock as a tool to promote conservation. In addition, the ranch has been home to countless research projects, restoration and stewardship initiatives, and education and outreach programs. As part of a continuing effort to find innovative ways to balance social, economic and environmental sustainability on working landscapes, the Conservancy decided on a new direction for the ranch that will address a barrier to Wyoming’s future land stewards—access to land—and maintain its conservation uses.

“Running our own livestock was very fulfilling,” said Andrea Erickson Quiroz, Wyoming state director for the Conservancy.  “We got the satisfaction of raising high-quality beef while seeing our cattle used to improve the land, but we are always looking to find ways to achieve more conservation.”

The property will remain a working cattle ranch, but the Conservancy will turn over management of the livestock and grazing. The organization hopes that by partnering with a young producer it can help foster opportunities for the next generation of land stewards. The new model of management will also allow the Conservancy to focus on other conservation opportunities provided by the property, such as research, education, recreation, and outreach.

Part of a Coordinated Resource Management (CRM) program, the Red Canyon Ranch CRM covers approximately 60,000 acres in the foothills on the southern end of the Wind River Mountains. Land ownership is a combination of the Conservancy’s private land and leases with federal and state agencies. The lease is a summer grazing opportunity only.

Producers interested in applying to lease the ranch should contact Bob Wesley, the Conservancy’s Southern Wyoming Stewardship Coordinator at rwesley@tnc.org or 307-332-3388, for more information.