Wyoming - Little Snake and Yampa Rivers

State: Wyoming
Region: Southern Wyoming

The headwaters of the Little Snake River, a tributary of the Yampa River, lie east of Baggs, Wyoming and north of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The Little Snake River Valley is one of the few remaining intact river valleys in the West that has not experienced rampant development. The area is critical wildlife habitat for many species including the largest and most robust population of Columbian sharp-tailed grouse found anywhere in the central Rockies.

Ranchers and farmers have always been important caretakers of Wyoming's wildlife habitat and open spaces. But energy development west, north and south of the Little Snake River Valley poses an increasing threat and there is growing pressure to subdivide open space, wildlife habitat and productive agricultural lands.

In April 2009, The Nature Conservancy announced protection of 266 acres of valuable riparian areas, meadowland and sage uplands on the 1561-acre Ladder Ranch in the Little Snake River Valley near Savery, Wyoming. It demonstrates how conservationists and ranchers have come together to achieve a common goal and marks the first phase of safeguarding the entire Ranch, creating a conservation easement which will allow the continuation of traditional agricultural practices and conserve key wildlife habitat.