Wyoming 2015 King Ranch Cheyenne Leopold Conservation Award Recipient

The century-old King Ranch sits just outside of Cheyenne. After the passing of one of the ranch owners, the ranch management was left in the hands of Mark Eisele, who has worked on the ranch since the 1970s. Mark and his wife Trudy and their family, proudly carry on the ranching tradition at King Ranch.

The Eiseles raise three herds of red and black Angus beef cattle, and manage a portion of their land as alfalfa and native grass hay fields.

Dedicated to business and environmental sustainability, the Eiseles converted to low-pressure pivot irrigation, which reduced water costs and consumption. Using solar and electric submersible pumps in their windmills reduces, and in some cases eliminates, their need to haul water around the ranch.

The ranch partially depends on grazing access near the Medicine Bow National Forest, a popular tourist destination. Its close proximity to an urban area means the Eiseles must balance the needs of the park and city with their own.

King Ranch

The Eiseles work closely with the U.S. Forest Service so ranching and recreation in the park co-exists. Mark constructed gates and fences along trails so bicyclists can enjoy riding through the idyllic pastures. The ranch also includes land designated as suitable habitat for two threatened species: the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse and the Colorado butterfly plant. Ranch management practices are regularly reviewed to improve wildlife habitat.

Mark’s commitment to conservation is exemplified by his willingness to host research projects and students on the ranch. He volunteered a portion of his land for a trial experiment to use sludge from a water treatment plant as a soil amendment. He also enjoys educating children about the value of ranching and conservation.

“Mark is one of the most progressive ranchers in the state and region, always having a creative eye on the future but with his feet dependably planted on the ground of the present,” said Tom Farrell of the Laramie County Conservation District. “His love and care for the land is always foremost in the decisions he makes.”