Beatty Canyon Ranch Co. has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Colorado Leopold Conservation Award.

The prestigious award recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation, and is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association.

Beatty Canyon Ranch in Las Animas County, Colo. is a generational ranch that has long served as an example of cutting edge conservation. Owned and operated by Steve and Joy Wooten and Brady and Arin Burnham, the ranch currently has the fourth, fifth, and sixth generations of land stewards involved in day-to-day operations. Controlling invasive species, applying grazing management, and putting a focus on wildlife habitat are just a few of the reasons the ranch has become a popular outdoor recreation destination in addition to a successful livestock enterprise.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the Leopold Conservation Award inspires other landowners and provides a visible forum where farmers, ranchers, and other private landowners are recognized as conservation leaders. In his influential 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac, Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage, which he called “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.”

The $10,000 award, and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold, will be presented to Beatty Canyon Ranch at the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association annual convention in Loveland on June 18.

This year, many outstanding landowners were nominated for the award. This year’s finalists for the award are the Livingston Ranch of Stratton and the Stults Ranch of Wray.

"Our congratulations to the Wooten Family and Beatty Canyon Ranch,” said Todd Inglee, President of Colorado Cattlemen’s Association. “The quality of applicants made the decision to choose just one recipient a real challenge. In the end, this award properly recognizes the stewardship of working ranches and the outright benefit those ranches bring to the environment,” Inglee continued.

“The 2018 Leopold Conservation Award nominees featured an impressive array of families and operations from around the State. The Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust is proud of the conservation accomplishments of each of the applicants,” said Erik Glenn, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust Executive Director. “These applicants showcase the diversity of agriculture in Colorado and the dedication that farming and ranching families have to the lands they steward, their communities, and their families. We are particularly proud of this year’s winner the Beatty Canyon Ranch and the Steve and Joy Wooten Family.”

"Tri-State and its member electric cooperatives are proud to support the Leopold Conservation Award," said Mike McInnes, chief executive officer of Tri-State. "The environmental stewardship recognized with the award reflects the strong conservation ethic of rural communities and their electric cooperatives."

The Leopold Conservation Award in Colorado is made possible through the generous contributions from Tri-State Generation and Transmission Assoc., American AgCredit, The Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, The Nature Conservancy, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.