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Stewardship day: Gov. Gordon proclaims Wyoming Environmental Stewardship Day to recognize ranchers

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

During a ceremony on April 12 at the Capitol Building in Cheyenne, Gov. Mark Gordon signed a proclamation deeming July 12 as Wyoming Environmental Stewardship Day. 

According to a Wyoming Stock Grower’s Association (WSGA) press release dated April 18, for the last 28 years, Wyoming Environmental Stewardship Day has marked the day of the Environmental Stewardship Tour, which showcases the conservation efforts of the particular year’s award recipient. 

“It has been a tough year for stockmen and for wildlife. When we have people who care about wildlife and the condition of the range, it is fitting we honor them for demonstrating this good work,” Gordon stated during the proclamation signing. 

Environmental Stewardship Program and Award

WSGA’s Environmental Stewardship Program and Award, in partnership with the Wyoming Department of Agriculture (WDA), recognizes Wyoming cattlemen whose natural resource stewardship practices contribute to the environment and enhance productivity and profitability. 

Each year, Wyoming ranches are nominated or have the opportunity to apply for the honor, and one ranch, exemplifying the goals of the program, is selected by WSGA and WDA to receive the award. 

By the rancher’s choice, a day is set aside each summer to celebrate Wyoming’s best land stewards – ranchers – and the recipient of the award.

Big Creek Ranch

This year, Big Creek Ranch of Encampment received honors as the recipient of the Wyoming Environmental Stewardship Award.

In the press release, WSGA explains Big Creek Ranch was established in 1878 and is currently a cow/calf/yearling operation. The ranch is owned by the Gates family of Denver, and Ranch Manager Mark Dunning is in charge of operations.

“The stewardship practices of Big Creek Ranch can be arranged into three categories – adaptive rotational grazing, ranching conservation projects and cooperation with local conservation initiatives,” explains WSGA. “For these reasons, and many others, they have been chosen to receive this prestigious award.”

Big Creek Ranch will celebrate Wyoming Environmental Stewardship Day with their community on July 12 in Encampment. 

They will also be recognized at WSGA’s 2023 Wyoming Cattle Industry Convention Awards Luncheon on June 9, in the presence of WSGA members and ag industry leaders in Riverton.

Hannah Bugas is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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