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. To this day 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,” says Pete. The herd has grown to 600 Herefords, grazed on over 70,000 acres of deeded and state and federally leased land, and the ranch also contains 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 and continue to provide 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 on their ranch. They have a particularly soft spot in their hearts for first time hunters and elderly hunters with limited mobility, so they took it upon themselves to reserve a large stretch of Bates Creek for youth and older hunters. Much of their ranch is enrolled in the Hunter Management Area (HMA) 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,” says Dustin Porter, President, Area 66 Mule Deer Initiative. “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”