2016 Middle Park Conservationist of the Year Announced

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Deb Wood (right) presents the Middle Park Conservationist Award to Battle Creek ranch foreman Dave Thurow and Travis Wood (center).

Every year, the Board of Supervisors for the Middle Park Conservation District recognizes one landowner in Grand or Summit Counties that has demonstrated a dedication to conservation and sustainable use practices. This year’s recipient is Battle Creek Ranch.

Battle Creek Ranch is a working ranch owned by John Coors and managed by Krik Thurow. Originally established as a fishing camp on the Williams Fork River, the ranch has grown over the years to encompass 8,000 deeded acres in the Williams Fork and Gore Pass drainages. Three young ranching families currently live on the ranch and run approximately 1,000 head of cattle.

Battle Creek Ranch is recognized for its irrigation and hayland enhancements as well as rangeland and wildlife improvements. The main irrigation improvements made on the ranch include: pipe replacement and repair on the historic Lyman Ditch, installation of irrigation center pivots, irrigation ditch repair, and reservoir reconstruction. The entire Brinker Flats was also reseeded with an irrigated grass/clover mix and alfalfa, taking it from a barren flat to a productive hayfield. Notable rangeland and wildlife improvements include: noxious weed control (musk and Canada thistle, oxeye daisy, leafy spurge, and yellow toadflax), beetle kill removal and forest improvements, as well as installation of cross fencing and lay down fencing to improve grazing management. In the future, Battle Creek Ranch plans to continue its irrigation management improvements, expand its grazing management practices, build more laydown fencing, and install spring developments for better livestock distribution.

The Middle Park Conservation District wishes to thank John Coors, Krik Thurow, and the two ranch foremen, Dave Thurow and Travis Wood, for their commitment to sustainable land management and desire to continue the ranching legacy in Grand County.