The Budd-Espenscheid family can date their Wyoming roots back to 1879, when Daniel B. Budd inherited a herd of cattle and settled along the Piney Creeks, where Big Piney is currently located. In 1905, his son John established the family’s first homestead ranch approximately nine miles west of town. Over the next century, the family purchased additional neighboring properties and expanded their ranching operations.

Now, a conservation easement will permanently protect the natural resources of more than 10,000 acres across the two homestead ranches. This land preservation agreement will not only enable the Espenscheid Family to continue its ranching operations, but it also protects important wildlife habitat in the Green River Valley.

The property provides thousands of acres of crucial wintering ranges and migration corridors for pronghorn, mule deer, moose and elk as well as important wetland habitats for songbirds, shorebirds and numerous aquatic species. In addition, approximately 15 miles of streams, including several miles of North Piney Creek—an important tributary of the Green River that provides spawning habitat for the Colorado River cutthroat trout—have been secured. This effort was made possible with help from our partners: the Natural Resource Conservation ServiceWyoming Wildlife and Natural Resources Trust, the Knobloch Family Foundation, and the Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust.

Path Of The Pronghorn

Path of the PronghornThe pronghorn has the longest land migration in the lower 48 states—traversing a 150-mile route across Wyoming. Known as the “Path of the Pronghorn,"  in 2008, this became the first designated wildlife migration corridor in the nation. The pronghorn is also one of the fastest animals, with a top running speed of about 55 miles per hour—surpassed on land only by the cheetah. However, speed doesn't help the pronghorn if its migration route isn't clear: Today, pronghorn  must cross subdivisions and highways as well as private ranchland. Since 2008, the Fund, with our partners, has protected more than 8,000 acres of private land and enhanced more than 90,000 acres of public land. Learn more >>

Pronghorn Antelope-The Speed Demon Of North America

Watch the pronghorn antelope, the fastest land animal in North America, in action. 

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Places We Protect: Working Lands