Richie Ranch adds to ranching, conservation legacy

The Richie Family of Boulder is well-known in western Wyoming, with longtime ties to other families and ranchers throughout the Upper Green River Basin. Their tradition of raising Hereford cattle marks them as one of the valley’s early beef producers of the English breed.

The ranch has layers of generations that work the land today to raise cattle and hay.

Norm and Jeptha Richie have been honored in the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame and in 2014, the family received its Wyoming Centennial Ranch honor for the same family operating at least 100 years on the same land.

One view of their ranch from the road, south of Boulder, is also historic as people pass by the old Vible Ranch buildings – where a dance hall and two stores that still stand and are on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 2012, the Richies completed a conservation easement on 1,291 acres centered around the Vible Ranch with Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust. That transaction protected the historic buildings, ranch headquarters, ponds, wetlands and a riparian corridor. They also conveyed public fishing access to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission.

Last week, the Richie Family and WSGLT announced completion of another agricultural conservation easement, the Richie Ranch Home Place, adding 1,042 acres to the previously conserved property.

Carole Richie said, “Throughout the generations our family has made a living from this ranch they worked so hard for. We believe in a conservative approach of maintaining and improving the resources the ranch provides. The hay meadows, pastures, water and the abundance of wildlife are what make this ranch so special. This easement, along with the support of the Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust, will help to maintain our family ranching goals.”

“The Richie Ranch Home Place is a highly productive agricultural property consisting mostly of open hay meadows, flanked by dry ridges rising into the Wind River foothills beyond,” the announcement said.

It also noted this property is part of the larger Richie Ranch and has provided a living for the family for generations. The entire property is within greater sage-grouse core area and a portion is within the Sublette Mule Deer Migration Corridor, the longest known route in the world. Throughout the year, migratory species such as sandhill cranes and long-billed curlew use the property on their transcontinental journeys.

Preserving the Richie Ranch Home Place contributes to the continuity of open space on the Wind River Front. The conservation easement protects wildlife habitat, scenic vistas and opportunities for future agriculturalists.

The second easement brings the total Richie Ranch land conserved to 2,333 acres.The purchase was funded by the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the ConocoPhillips Spirit of Conservation Program through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Astrid Martinez, Wyoming NRCS state conservationist noted, “It's a privilege to know NRCS is assisting Wyoming families and our partners in making a lasting, positive, difference to protect agricultural lands and lands that are crucial to Wyoming’s amazing wildlife.”

Todd Hogrefe, Central Regional Office director of NFWF, added, “The SPIRIT of Conservation program has emphasized voluntary partnerships with ranchers like the Richie Family to conserve bird habitats while also providing important benefits to working lands and local communities.”

The completion of this project brings the number of protected agricultural land, open spaces and wildlife habitat to 288,746 statewide – not possible without these partnerships.

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