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Blue Valley Ranch Field Trip

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This digital collection includes a video of the field trip made to the Blue Valley Ranch during the 8th International Wildlife Ranching Symposium held in 2014.


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    Blue Valley Ranch field trip
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2014-09) Benson, Delwin E., director; Peterson, Kesley Arline, producer; International Wildlife Ranching Symposium, producer
    Blue Valley Ranch is the foundation sponsor of our Congress. This all day excursion included stops highlighting its habitat improvement and agricultural programs with discussion of management methods and monitoring results. Blue Valley Ranch is a 25,000 acre (10,100 hectare) conservation property located in Grand and Summit Counties in north-central Colorado. The ranch supports a diversity of mountain vegetation communities, beginning in the Blue River corridor at 7,400 ft (2,250 m), and rising in elevation through mountain meadows and shrublands, aspen, lodgepole and other mixed conifer ecosystems to over 9,000 ft (2,740 m). As a working ranch, Blue Valley also produces hay, cattle and bison and supports a diversity of wildlife species. Blue Valley Ranch's broad-scale conservation goals for land stewardship include agricultural production, building resilient ecosystems for wildlife habitat and local communities, and providing non-commercial recreational opportunities. Integrating these diverse goals is the ranch's largest single challenge, but a collaborative planning process helps to use information and expertise from a similarly diverse team of ranch staff, university resources, outside consultants and local agencies in making management decisions. The ranch has intensively created stream improvements building new water structures, wetlands, streams, and improved riparian corridors for fish, waterfowl, song birds, and mammals. The ranch has intensively harvested lodgepine forests that were killed by bark beetle infestations, encouraged aspen regeneration, and they manage elk to produce trophy class animals while also balancing animal numbers on the ranch, through controlled public access, to prevent over consumption of new aspen regeneration and other habitats. Pronghorn, turkeys and sharptail grouse have been successfully introduced onto the ranch and surrounding properties. A highway overpass for ungulate and other animal movements will be installed through the leadership and financial support of the ranch. The ranch owner and employees have added value to the rural community and the ranch serves as an example of intensive management. Thank you to Blue Valley Ranch for their sponsorship of the event and also for their generosity of this field trip.