July 20, 2022 – The Waliser family, in partnership with the Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust, has conserved 1,421 acres of the Waliser Ranch near Saratoga, WY through an agricultural conservation easement.
The Waliser Ranch was originally settled by John and Mary Swanson, Ray Waliser’s great grandparents, in the 1870’s when John Swanson worked for the railroad in Ft. Steele. The ranch is located within greater sage-grouse core area and big game seasonal ranges. Irrigated hay meadows provide wetland habitat for migratory birds and forage for livestock. As the Upper North Platte River Valley experiences continued development pressure, conservation of working lands remains important for the future of agriculture, the local economy, wildlife, and open space.
Landowner, Ray Waliser, recognized the importance of this conservation easement, saying, “I appreciate the opportunity to be able to do this – placing a conservation easement on this land honors our forefathers who worked so hard to establish the ranch. There is no better time than now to do something like this, if we don’t, who knows if this land would remain intact years down the road.”
This conservation easement was funded by the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust (WWNRT), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the ConocoPhillips Spirit of Conservation Program through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).
“Wyoming NRCS is pleased to partner with Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust and Carbon County landowners on yet another effort to conserve our States agricultural heritage, wildlife and scenic lands. NRCS takes great pride in assisting Wyoming landowners and our partners with enrolling eligible working lands into Agricultural Land Easements, thereby protecting these crucial habitats for generations to come,” Wyoming NRCS State Conservationist, Astrid Martinez, said. “This project will ensure continued agricultural use, providing forage for cattle and other livestock, and will also benefit big game animals, greater sage-grouse and hundreds of migratory bird species dependent on these lands.”
“Congratulations to the land trust and Waliser family for getting this easement done! The ranch is another stellar example of the landowner’s care for Wyoming, our land, wildlife, water and economy. This is a truly fantastic accomplishment and home to most of the state’s iconic wildlife species,” added Bob Budd, Executive Director of WWNRT.
The completion of this project brings the land trust’s acres of protected agricultural land to 290,146 statewide. This would not happen without our trusted partners and landowners!