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RBR News | May 5, 2016

Posted in Ranch Report

Around the Ranch
As you may have heard, ACES at Rock Bottom Ranch is the first farm in Colorado to achieve Certified Wildlife Friendly® status! This certification is awarded to farms that prioritize habitat conservation alongside agricultural production.  

ACES has long focused on wildlife habitat conservation in our land stewardship goals, and our Rock Bottom Ranch site is no exception. In fact, we find that when our neighboring wildlife is healthy and balanced, our agriculture systems have the best opportunity to thrive.  

Instead of attempting to separate the agricultural from the wild, we look at how the two can enhance each other. For example, we use our heritage breed pigs, who naturally and instinctively like to root (or dig) in the soil, to create viable seedbeds for cottonwood stand regeneration. By allowing the pigs to slightly disturb the soil, the cottonwood seeds that land there will have a better chance to germinate and grow into the next generation of trees, which will provide valuable wildlife habitat at the Ranch in the future. This livestock management practice is just one example of our methods that benefit the natural habitat, decreases the amount of fuel, labor, and emissions that would be needed to manage the land with equipment, while simultaneously producing healthy meat products for our community.  

Of the 113 acres at the Ranch, roughly 70 acres is managed as natural and wildlands.  The entire south side of our property borders the Rio Grand Trial, with the majority of the property line directly adjacent to the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. The majority of the north side of the property is the Roaring Fork River. Several side-channels to the river flow through the Ranch property, creating many acres of riparian habitat, which is incredibly valuable to the health of our ecosystems. Only 1% of the land in Colorado is riparian, but 75% of the wildlife rely on access to areas like this at some point in their life cycle. This is one of the many reasons ACES at Rock Bottom Ranch is dedicated to responsible stewardship of our lands.

We are extremely honored to receive the Certified Wildlife Friendly® designation and hope to encourage other farms in the area to introduce some of these kinds of management practices into their own operations. For more information regarding the certification, please visit wildlifefriendly.org

To learn more about Rock Bottom Ranch’s certification, check out the recent coverage by a few regional news outlets:

Cross Currents on Aspen Public Radio with Carolyne Heldman
Aspen Public Radio local news story by Alycin Bektesh
The Aspen Times editorial by Scott Condin
Denver Life Magazine editorial by Teagan Fast

Available Products
Products can be purchased at the Ranch during open hours, Monday – Friday 9AM – 5PM and Saturday 9AM – 1PM. Please call ahead to confirm availability or to place an order for pick-up.

  • We now have a steady supply of our locally famous, pasture-raised, non-GMO, Animal Welfare Approved, delicious chicken eggs. 
  • A full pork inventory is available including chops, bacon, ribs, roasts, and ground pork.

~Jason Smith, Rock Bottom Ranch Director

Rock Bottom Ranch is open Monday – Friday 9AM – 5PM and Saturday from 9AM – 1PM with Farm Tours each day at 11AM. For questions about Rock Bottom Ranch please email Jason at jsmith@aspennature.org.