Colorado 2013 Visintainer Sheep Co. Craig Leopold Conservation Award Recipient

A deep passion for the land, and a willingness to embrace change, has kept the Visintainers at the forefront of innovative ranch management.

Dean Visintainer and his son, Gary, operate Visintainer Sheep Co., where concern for the land is essential to their management. Decades of monitoring and observation, coupled with their move from production-based management to “forage-based” management to improve range health, has led to diversification of livestock to both sheep and cattle, while maintaining an emphasis on wildlife. Deer, elk, pronghorn, greater sage grouse, and Columbian sharp-tailed grouse are found on their land.


Visintainer Sheep Co.

After a catastrophic wildfire in 2010, the Visintainers partnered with the Natural Resources Conservation Services’ Sage Grouse Initiative, in conjunction with the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, to restore and rehabilitate lost sage-grouse habitat and rangelands.

The Visintainers are lauded by Colorado conservationists as “true pioneers” as they help pave the way for fellow ranchers and land managers who continue to learn from their experience.

“Many partners in conservation, neighboring landowners, and resource professionals have learned from the Visintainers’ observations and management techniques across their range, and have adapted those ideas elsewhere throughout Colorado,” said NRCS Private Lands Wildlife Biologist, Brandon Miller.

Colorado Partners

Colorado Platinum Sponsors

Colorado Gold Sponsors