Budd Ranches, Inc.
Budd Ranches in Wyoming. Photo by Mark Gocke (www.markgocke.com), Wyoming Game & Fish Department.
The Fund helped with the conservation and expansion of one of the oldest operating ranches held by one family located near the town of Big Piney in the Green River Valley. Budd Ranches, Inc. is owned and managed by fourth generation ranchers and brothers Chad and Brian Espenscheid and their wives Gudrid and Annie.
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.