For more than thirty years, land stewardship has been an important component of Ucross Foundation’s overall mission. From the preservation of the historic 19th century structures that serve as the administrative offices, to the conservation of natural resources and planting of over 27,000 trees in recent years, to the transformation of a salvage yard into a community park and garden – care for the land is always at the heart of Ucross Foundation’s goals and identity.
Here, at the intersection of Highways 14 and 16, ranching, land stewardship, human presence and wildlife interests are all balanced in responsible land use. Over half of the 20,000-acre cattle ranch is protected by a conservation easement held by the Wyoming Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. A long-term ranch lease with Apache Foundation guarantees the goals of holistic ranch management, emulating natural processes and thereby encouraging biological diversity and environmental stability. Artists from around the world have recognized that the magic of Ucross is rooted in the land of this special part of Wyoming.
Recent land stewardship activities include the construction of the Raymond Plank Creative Center which will serve as an educational hub for research, raising awareness and lifelong learning about land issues in the American West. The Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative, a long-term collaboration with Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, was undertaken in spring 2013. The Foundation was honored by a Good Steward Award from the Arbor Day Foundation in 2011 and in 2012 Apache Foundation received an Excellence in Rangeland Management Award from the Wyoming Section of the Society for Range Management. Land reclamation workshops and hydrology studies have regularly taken place in the Big Red Barn and on-site on the Ucross Ranch, directed by faculty from the University of Wyoming and Kansas State University.
At Ucross, stewardship of the land and of the human creative spirit are combined into one vision.