Wyoming 2017 Garrett Ranch Casper Leopold Conservation Award Recipient

Using the money from the sale of his Texaco gas station in 1937, Labon Garrett, along with his father and grandfather, Henry and Adron, purchased the first 2,000 acres of Garrett Ranch. The ranch now belongs to Pete, Labon’s son, and Pete’s wife, Ethel, who manage the ranch activities with their children and grandchildren.

The ranch is located 30 miles south of Casper and still contains the original homestead property. When the ranch was established, the Garretts began with 100 head of Hereford cattle. The ranch still raises Herefords.

“Since Herefords paid for the ranch in 1937, I decided to keep them as the breed of cows that pay the bills every day,” Pete said.

The herd has grown to 600 Herefords, grazed on over 70,000 acres of deeded and leased state and federal land. The ranch also has 200 acres of irrigated alfalfa along the Bates and Stinking Creek.

The Garrett’s rotational grazing system was developed with the guidance of natural resource professionals to benefit their rangeland and wildlife habitat. Their system is a reflection of the family’s conservation goals for the ranch, “to make life easier for wildlife, livestock and people who enjoy the outdoors.” The family intends to continue their collaborative efforts with agencies and organizations that have provided investments into their ranch.

Working with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Bureau of Land Management and other non-government organizations, the Garretts began the Bolton Creek Riparian Restoration Project. The effort focused on working with nature, letting beavers create a natural, stable channel with a fully functional floodplain that reduced streambank height and erosion.

The Garretts care deeply about providing hunting and fishing opportunities. They have a soft spot in their hearts for first time hunters and elderly hunters with limited mobility, so they reserved a large stretch of Bates Creek exclusively for them. Much of their ranch is enrolled in the Hunter Management Area program, adding to the large parcels of public and private lands that are open to the public for the benefit of sportsman.

“The Garrett Ranch continuously adapts their land management to account for changes in range conditions,” said Dustin Porter, Area 66 Mule Deer Initiative President. “Pete and Steve regularly seek new and innovative ways to modify their grazing rotation so as to leave pastures in better condition year after year. They are never afraid to try new or different habitat treatments and have the insight to wait for long-term benefits”