The Land Report

Rockies 2018

The Magazine of the American Landowner is an essential guide for investors, landowners, and those interested in buying or selling land. The award-winning quarterly is known for its annual survey of America's largest landowners, The Land Report 100.

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64 The LandReport | R O C K I E S 2 0 1 8 S prawling across the very heart of buckaroo country, the Winecup Gamble Ranch encompasses a checker-boarded landscape of 984,000 acres, more than half of which is owned by the public and managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). It's as wide and wild and complicated a land- scape as there is in today's West. It's also a place where flat-topped hats and spurs dominate in a cowboy culture that prizes independ- ence and self-determination. Yet in the midst of this sagebrush rebellion territory, some surprising things are happening. "If we'll take care of this land, it will take care of our cows," says Winecup Gamble ranch manager James Rogers. "And we can't do it alone. We're in true partnership with the BLM. There's still a lot of strife in many places between agencies and ranchers. But when we focus on finding common ground and taking care of the land together, then the body condition of our cows and our checkbooks just got better." The Winecup Gamble is a member of the Stewardship Alliance of Northeast Elko (SANE). "We like that acronym, Rogers says, "It makes for some fun." SANE is a collaborative group established in 2013 and comprised of eight landowners who have 1.7 million acres under fence, plus a slate of state and federal agencies and the nonprofit Pheasants Forever. SANE formed in large part out of concern about a potential federal listing of the greater sage grouse, yet it has moved far beyond that to successfully collaborate on a number of land management and conservation efforts. "We collectively think about managing across fence lines. We don't agree with every landowner or every perspective of agencies but we have a healthy, respectful dialogue," James says. This same attitude characterizes the ranch's approach to other challenges as well. For example, the ranch has a rock spring and wet meadow that was an historic watering hole along the famed California Trail. Over the decades, cattle had destroyed the area around the spring. Trespassing hunters and campers repeatedly left the place trashed. So the ranch partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nevada Division of Wildlife to fence off and protect the wet meadow and spring. A spring box was used to run a pipeline from the spring to a more strategic location for livestock. They even keep a trickle going for wildlife. The ranch also got permission from Elko County to install cattle guards on the road so people could pass through the protected area easily. The ranch then went a step further. Even though the area sur- rounding the spring is part of the Winecup Gamble's deeded holdings, they made it available to continued public use, but in a more managed way. "It's not that we didn't want people to be there, but we wanted people to take care of it. Rather than keep people out, we posted a sign saying guests are welcome with prior registration. Then we know who is there, and there is some amount of accountability. It's been a really good thing. We still do a wagon out on the range with our cowboys and occasionally stay there ourselves. Now that it's cleaned up, it's been a win for us as well," James says. W e s t e r n L a n d o w n e r James Rogers Winecup Gamble Ranch Nevada DAVID PACKER JD HUNTER "To be honest, the tough conversations have made us a better landowner." — James Rogers LANDREPORT.COM

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