Year Inducted: 2020
Owned and operated by Steve and Joy Wooten and Brady and Arin Burnham, Beatty Canyon Ranch (BCR) is located in Las Animas County, Colo. Currently, the ranch has the fourth, fifth and sixth generations of land stewards involved in day-to-day operations. The ranch is a family and faith-based business with its focus on land, livestock, recreation and community. Controlling invasive species, grazing management and 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 in a picturesque, rugged canyon and prairie landscape. BCR owners and employees have been focused on the pressing issue of repairing the river systems that run through their property. The Purgatoire River and Chacuaco drainage, both of which have been severely damaged by the invasive plant species tamarisk, span several miles of the land. As a result of the tamarisk removal, there is more vegetative cover in the wetland zones and a new, flourishing population of willows, which now stabilize the stream banks. The water quality has also improved because tamarisk leaves increase the salinity of soil and water, so removing the plant eliminates that salinity. The current plethora of wildlife that occupy the ranch and its surrounding area have taken root in the area due to generations of land managers that prioritize the symbiotic relationship between ranching and wildlife management.
"Communities thrive, grow and share quality of life when ranches are successful, successional and engaged."
In 2002, Steve Wooten’s grandmother, in conjunction with the Colorado Department of Wildlife, transferred 17 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep onto the ranch. Today, this herd is the largest population in Colorado, reaching over 500 head within the canyon structure. This herd provides sheep to be relocated to grow bighorn populations in areas of need. “For generations, Beatty Canyon Ranch has been a steward of the environment and the community. Judicious management of our natural resources has sustained the ranch through hardships across generations,” Wooten said. “However, sustainability transcends beyond the environment. Communities thrive, grow and share quality of life when ranches are successful, successional and engaged. BCR strives to continuously improve the natural systems under its management, while also dedicating time and energy to serving and improving the local community and beyond.”