It is extremely rare to find ecologically valuable, unfragmented and undeveloped land of this size in the U.S. The Marton Ranch is a keystone portion of the North Platte region, which supports rare wildlife habitat and is a beloved recreational destination.

For over 40 years the Marton family has conducted their agricultural operations in a way that’s maintained and stewarded the conservation value of the land, and those working lands operations will continue. In 2022, the family worked with The Conservation Fund and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to see their ranch and legacy permanently protected as part of the North Platte River Special Recreation Management Area.


Photos of the Marton Ranch property taken by Ben Herndon.


Protecting Marton Ranch has enabled BLM to secure over 70,000 acres of contiguous public land, equivalent to more than 118 square miles, that will be protected and open for public access in perpetuity. The property includes roughly 11 miles of the blue-ribbon North Platte River and the entirety of the famed Grey Reef section of the river, which is considered a premier rainbow trout fly-fishing destination. In fact, American Angler Magazine has named it the #1 spot in the lower 48 states to catch trophy rainbow and brown trout. Prior to BLM’s ownership, fishing access had been limited.

The property’s unique riparian habitat makes it a haven for numerous wildlife species, including herds of antelope, elk, both white-tailed and mule deer, various duck species, turkey, sandhill crane, potential golden eagle nesting habitat, and a wintering bald eagle population. It is also considered core habitat for sage grouse—a near-threatened species in the U.S.

Just half an hour outside of Casper, this land is a popular destination for local outdoor enthusiasts and area visitors. These outdoor opportunities, especially fishing and rafting along the Gray Reef, will be an important economic driver for the area. Tourism is the #2 driver of Wyoming’s economy, and outdoor recreation generates roughly $5.6 billion in consumer spending annually for the state, according to the Outdoor Industry Association.

Former ranch owner, Randy Marton (left) and Dan Schlager, Wyoming State Director at The Conservation Fund (right) stand in front of North Platte River on the Marton Ranch property.


Protecting Marton Ranch was an unprecedented and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. For more than three decades, conservation of the Marton Ranch has been a top priority, and during that last 5 years The Conservation Fund worked closely with the Marton family to help them find a conservation solution for their land. In 2022, we purchased the ranch and then transferred it to the BLM for their permanent protection and management so it could benefit the Wyoming community for generations to come.

Funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) made the conservation of the Marton Ranch possible. LWCF is a federal funding source that uses offshore drilling revenue—not taxpayer dollars—to support conservation victories across the U.S. In 2020, the passage of the  Great American Outdoors Act allocated full and permanent funding (about $900 million) to the LWCF program, expanding our opportunities for greater conservation in Wyoming and nationwide.