Private landowners are critical pieces in Northwest Wyoming’s conservation puzzle. Easement-holding landowners are essential to our work.
We are excited to share their stories with you through this series, highlighting one of our landowner partners each quarter to learn more about what conservation and open spaces mean to them and their families.
This spotlight features the Young Family, owners of the 105-acre Feuz Ranch, protected since 2004, located in Buffalo Valley, Wyoming.
In 1910, Chris Young’s family established a homestead in the area, and in the 1930’s her father purchased the ranch in Buffalo Valley that Chris was raised on and the Young’s now operate. With her grandchildren growing up in the same house that she did, Chris finds great satisfaction teaching another generation how to work the land. The Youngs also have grandkids that live most of the year in Cody, Wyoming, and spend their summers in Buffalo Valley to help with the ranch.
As they graze livestock, cut hay, flood irrigate, fix fence, and control weeds on nearly 1200 acres between their family’s property and the Hatchet Ranch, there is always plenty of work for everyone. Many local producers have moved away from raising cow-calf pairs due to the long hours and nights involved with the spring calving, but the Youngs still persist with this practice, just as they do through these seemingly endless winters. While others lose the horizon in the blowing snow, the Youngs remain steady.
While Chris and Jerome work hard to keep life the way it has been for years, they do notice some changes in Buffalo Valley. The noxious weed situation has become much worse and requires a lot of work to keep in check. She also notes that the past decade has seen increased pressure from wolves during calving season in the spring. In order to reduce predation on the new calves, they have a camper out in the calving pasture and Jerome camps out with the birthing cows to ward off un-welcome wildlife.
To help protect the open lands, rich wildlife habitat, and agricultural heritage of the Feuz Ranch, the Jackson Hole Land Trust purchased a conservation easement from the Youngs in 2004. We would like to extend a hearty thanks to Chris and Jerome and their family for their tireless stewardship of the extraordinary working landscape that is the Buffalo Valley.