Pipe Springs Ranch
By: Leopold Conservation Award Program
In 1997, the family made the decision to switch from a traditional ranching operation to a model where pastures are utilized for approximately two weeks during the annual growing season. The long rest periods increase the productivity of the soil and result in a greater diversity of native grasses and forbs. The McEndrees were able to make this transition due to a reduction in pasture size and a water management strategy that included the installation of 25 miles of pipeline, 20 water tanks, and a water collection system in Pipe Spring to allowfor better water flow. These efforts, as well as the installation of a shallow water habitat and the maintenance of 24 ponds, have dramatically enhanced the wildlife population at Pipe Springs Ranch. These projects were all completed in the face of severe drought, which has affected northwestern Baca County since 2001. As the McEndrees state in their award application, “Focusing on conservation has allowed the land to flourish even when Mother Nature has not cooperated.”
All of the McEndree siblings and their families believe strongly in the importance of community involvement and the promotion of agriculture. For example, Jo Ann is the Colorado CattleWomen Education Chair, leading the organization’s members across the state to educate youth about agriculture. All are highly involved in FFA and 4-H with over 80 years of 4-H leadership experience among them.
“They pass along their love for the land and cattle as they share their knowledge and experiences with youth,” wrote Susan Russell, Bent-Prowers Cattle & Horse Growers Association, in her letter of recommendation. “Leadership was ingrained in the siblings growing up and has matured into a true belief that they can make a difference in future generations.”
The McEndrees also utilize Pipe Springs Ranch as an educational tool, hosting workshops on rangeland and water management techniques.
“In all of his efforts, Steve and Pipe Springs Ranch have worked selflessly, sharing their time, talent, and treasure without asking favors in return,” wrote Tim Steffens, Rangeland Management Specialist, NRCS, in his letter of recommendation.