Mowry Ranch: Multigenerational ranching family conserves open spaces | TSLN.com

Mowry Ranch: Multigenerational ranching family conserves open spaces

Courtesy photoDick, Suzanne, Shawn, Lacy and Kale Mowry represent three of five generations in the more than 100-year history of the Mowry Ranch in the North Platte Valley. The family placed a conservation easement on their property to save the property from future development and lessen their tax burden.

SARATOGA, WY – In order to sustain the open vistas of their historic ranch, a multigenerational North Platte Valley family has entered 2,035 acres of working ranchland into a conservation easement. The land supports a thriving cattle operation, sage grouse habitat and more than 100 years of family history.

The Mowry Ranch is a traditional cow-calf operation located in the heart of the North Platte Valley nestled against the Sierra Madre Mountains southwest of Saratoga. Located in a Sage Grouse corridor, and providing habitat for many important wildlife species, the Mowry Ranch plays a key role in maintaining continuity of habitat and open space between public and private lands.

“I enjoy the openness of our ranch and the sense of freedom I have,” Suzanne Mowry said. “It’s important to us, as well as our children, to keep the land forever in agriculture.”

The ranch has been in the Mowry family for more than 100 years and is now run by multiple generations. Dick and Suzanne and their son Shane and daughter-in-law Lacy run the operation together. Shane and Lacy’s children are the fifth generation of Mowrys stewarding the land and carrying on the history of the ranch and the area.

“Family lore has it that my grandmother’s father, John Brewer, was the first white man to winter in the North Platte Valley,” Dick said.

While celebrating the past, the Mowry family also looks to the future. In 2009, the family approached the Wyoming Stock Growers Agricultural Land Trust about protecting their ranch through a conservation easement. As with most of today’s ranch families, the Mowrys were faced with the dilemma of how to pass the place on to the next generation without a huge tax liability. The family found their solution by selling a conservation easement on their property. Conservation easements are legal, voluntary agreements between landowners and qualified conservation organizations which permanently restrict the type and amount of development that occurs on private property.

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“We want to keep the land from being subdivided and to preserve the wide-open spaces of the area,” Dick said.

The Stock Growers Land Trust chose to purchase the easement based on several key agricultural and wildlife values on the land.

“The Mowry Ranch is a wonderful example of a highly-productive working ranch that supports a multigenerational family and provides incredible wildlife habitat,” Stock Growers Land Trust Field Representative Leah Burgess said.

The Mowry Ranch lies within a Sage Grouse Core Area, and embraces migration routes of antelope, mule deer and elk. The ranch encompasses several miles of streams, and provides high quality habitat for a variety of wildlife species, including 26 species of greatest conservation need according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

More than 75 percent of the ranch is irrigated meadow and riparian corridor; this extensive irritated ground is notably unique in this high-mountain valley.

The historic Cherokee Trail bisects the property and Native American artifacts can be found across the ranch. A unique horse barn circa 1890 graces the headquarters area and was featured in a past Carbon County Historic Barn Tour.

From the property’s west border, BLM and Forest Service land run contiguously to the Continental Divide Trail and beyond. Adjacent to the southern border of the ranch is Indian Rocks Ranch, which is already protected through a conservation easement.

Funding for the Mowry Ranch conservation easement came from the Natural Resources Conservation Service Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program, the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust and the Gates Frontiers Fund. The Mowry family also contributed more than 25 percent of the value of the conservation easement.

The Stock Growers Land Trust’s purchase of the easement will help the Mowry Family retire their debt and provide dollars for further investment on the operation.

“This conservation easement will help us salvage the future of the ranch,” Suzanne Mowry said. “I hope more people will conserve their property. I think it’s really important.”

SARATOGA, WY – In order to sustain the open vistas of their historic ranch, a multigenerational North Platte Valley family has entered 2,035 acres of working ranchland into a conservation easement. The land supports a thriving cattle operation, sage grouse habitat and more than 100 years of family history.

The Mowry Ranch is a traditional cow-calf operation located in the heart of the North Platte Valley nestled against the Sierra Madre Mountains southwest of Saratoga. Located in a Sage Grouse corridor, and providing habitat for many important wildlife species, the Mowry Ranch plays a key role in maintaining continuity of habitat and open space between public and private lands.

“I enjoy the openness of our ranch and the sense of freedom I have,” Suzanne Mowry said. “It’s important to us, as well as our children, to keep the land forever in agriculture.”

The ranch has been in the Mowry family for more than 100 years and is now run by multiple generations. Dick and Suzanne and their son Shane and daughter-in-law Lacy run the operation together. Shane and Lacy’s children are the fifth generation of Mowrys stewarding the land and carrying on the history of the ranch and the area.

“Family lore has it that my grandmother’s father, John Brewer, was the first white man to winter in the North Platte Valley,” Dick said.

While celebrating the past, the Mowry family also looks to the future. In 2009, the family approached the Wyoming Stock Growers Agricultural Land Trust about protecting their ranch through a conservation easement. As with most of today’s ranch families, the Mowrys were faced with the dilemma of how to pass the place on to the next generation without a huge tax liability. The family found their solution by selling a conservation easement on their property. Conservation easements are legal, voluntary agreements between landowners and qualified conservation organizations which permanently restrict the type and amount of development that occurs on private property.

“We want to keep the land from being subdivided and to preserve the wide-open spaces of the area,” Dick said.

The Stock Growers Land Trust chose to purchase the easement based on several key agricultural and wildlife values on the land.

“The Mowry Ranch is a wonderful example of a highly-productive working ranch that supports a multigenerational family and provides incredible wildlife habitat,” Stock Growers Land Trust Field Representative Leah Burgess said.

The Mowry Ranch lies within a Sage Grouse Core Area, and embraces migration routes of antelope, mule deer and elk. The ranch encompasses several miles of streams, and provides high quality habitat for a variety of wildlife species, including 26 species of greatest conservation need according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

More than 75 percent of the ranch is irrigated meadow and riparian corridor; this extensive irritated ground is notably unique in this high-mountain valley.

The historic Cherokee Trail bisects the property and Native American artifacts can be found across the ranch. A unique horse barn circa 1890 graces the headquarters area and was featured in a past Carbon County Historic Barn Tour.

From the property’s west border, BLM and Forest Service land run contiguously to the Continental Divide Trail and beyond. Adjacent to the southern border of the ranch is Indian Rocks Ranch, which is already protected through a conservation easement.

Funding for the Mowry Ranch conservation easement came from the Natural Resources Conservation Service Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program, the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust and the Gates Frontiers Fund. The Mowry family also contributed more than 25 percent of the value of the conservation easement.

The Stock Growers Land Trust’s purchase of the easement will help the Mowry Family retire their debt and provide dollars for further investment on the operation.

“This conservation easement will help us salvage the future of the ranch,” Suzanne Mowry said. “I hope more people will conserve their property. I think it’s really important.”

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