After 25 years, ranch manager Sher Steuben said a final good-bye at the beginning of June.
“Being a part of the creation of Blue Valley Ranch has been an absolute blessing,” said Steuben. “To think about the monumental change I’ve witnessed over the years is overwhelming.”
Steuben has played an active role in Blue Valley Ranch since its very beginning, helping the ranch grow to 25,000 acres and overseeing ambitious habitat improvements, including the transformation of the ranch’s river into a world-class fishery.
Her sensitivity to both wildlife and agriculture have resulted in a substantial increase in local wildlife populations and earned the ranch a reputation as an exemplar of mountain ranching best practices.
Most recently, Steuben oversaw the Highway 9 Project that produced the wildlife overpasses between Kremmling and Silverthorne.
Noting that wildlife began using the project immediately after construction, she describes the undertaking as “a very special project.”
On June 1, Steuben will pass the torch to Rob Firth, who was most recently a project coordinator with Trout Unlimited, where he worked to protect Grand County’s water supply.
Firth, who has lived in Grand County since 1984, describes the job as “a dream come true.”
“Blue Valley Ranch is the gold standard for any professional wildlife manager,” said Firth, emphasizing the ranch’s science-driven methods to develop habits and manage wildlife, agriculture, and fisheries.
Firth retired in 2008 from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, formerly known as the Division of Wildlife. He began his career there as a game warden in Hot Sulphur Springs and later became a supervisor overseeing Grand, Summit, and parts of Eagle and Routt Counties. His final years with CPW were spent commuting to Denver, where he served as Chief of Law Enforcement. In these positions, he worked closely with Blue Valley Ranch and its owners, including former owner Jed Roe and his daughter, who was a game warden with CPW.
As Steuben prepares to hand over the reins, she continues to take great pride and satisfaction in her years at the ranch, and in particular for the incredible ownership and staff.
“I’ve been incredibly grateful for the passionate and dedicated staff that have given so much of themselves to the ranch,” said Steuben.
Firth agrees. “I am inheriting an incredible staff,” he said.
Firth’s home will remain in Hot Sulphur Springs with his wife, Julie, who recently retired from the East Grand School District. Their two children are grown with children of their own. Their son is a pediatrician practicing in Lander, Wyoming and their daughter is speech language pathologist (currently a full-time Mom) in Lafayette, Colorado.