Standing on a the edge of a butte on the Bar Cross Ranch affords a beautiful view—of the canyons and spires of the Wind River Range to the north and east and the verdant irrigated meadows and bottomland to the south. In fact, it is this very site with this incredible view that we chose as the location for the Green Valley Land Trust Annual Donor Appreciation Picnic this year. But, this is just one of about six sites we considered, as this beautiful 11,000+-acre property has a lot of special spots.
A working cattle ranch, the Bar Cross has some unique attributes. From the Green Valley Land Trust perspective, 1,837 acres are conserved after the 2005 easement donation by owner and Green Valley Land Trust Advisory Board member, John Blatt. The property is near to several other existing easements, making it part of a neighborhood of more than 6,000 easement-protected acres.
In addition, the Bar Cross has significant scenic, wildlife, and wildlife habitat values. The Ranch can be seen from Wyoming State Highway 352, Sublette County Road 149, and State of Wyoming and BLM lands to the west. The New Fork River and various irrigation ditches flow through the property and support healthy populations of trout and other fish. The importance of the property is enhanced by the fact that the wet agricultural meadows and wetlands connect the riparian corridor of the New Fork River to Willow Creek and to the sage covered foothills of the Wind River Front. The property provides crucial winter-yearlong habitat for moose that helps sustain the local population. It also provides key portions of traditional seasonal migratory routes that have been used by mule deer and pronghorn for millennia, as well as all of the characteristics of elk winter habitat.
The importance of irrigated, agricultural meadows of grasses intermixed with wetlands cannot be over estimated in the arid West. Conserving the agricultural productivity, as well as the broad sweeping views of the western landscape and the corresponding habitat in the zone between the prairies and the mountains, is critical.