The Padlock Ranch, established by Homer and Mildred Scott in 1943, is a well-known, historic ranch in northern Wyoming. In 2005 and 2006 respectfully, the Scott family placed the ranch headquarters, along with Columbus Creek Meadow, into a conservation easement with the Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust. The two easements total 2,437 acres of conserved property.
A family-owned business, the Scott Family is focused on keeping the business and family strong, both of which played a factor in deciding to place an easement on their property.
“We thought about growth patterns, and the family’s interest in preserving agriculture, and that’s how we decided to place these particular lands in a perpetual conservation easement.” – John Heyneman, 3rdgeneration of the Scott Family & Chair of the Padlock’s Board of Directors.
The Padlock Ranch is a diversified cow-calf, farm and feedlot operation that focuses on keeping their system operationally efficient and driven by quality. Not only do they take pride in improving the land they have for their operation, but they also work to maintain the land for wildlife, ensuring that the essential habitat is cared for.
The ranch headquarters are nestled along the Tongue River, one of three major streams in Sheridan County. Tongue River is supplied with a strong flow each year due to runoff from the Big Horn Mountains, and ultimately merges with the Yellowstone River. This water source, along with the cottonwood riparian woodlands it is edged with, provide essential habitat for a variety of wildlife, while also providing essential water resources for their livestock and irrigation efforts.
The Columbus Creek Meadow, immediately adjacent to the ranch headquarters, was originally used for grazing in the winter and haying in the summer. The meadow was converted to irrigated pasture which is grazed by livestock in a rotational grazing program. In addition to the agricultural use of the meadow, the property provides crucial habitat for both game and non-game wildlife species. It is not uncommon to see antelope, mule deer and white tail deer grazing alongside the cows.
You will also find a variety of predatory and non-predatory birds, and roaming predators, on the ranch.
Trey Patterson, CEO of the Padlock Ranch, said it best – “Agriculture and conservation go hand in hand.” Marrying the two allow working agricultural land to remain intact while providing open space, wildlife habitat and other environmental habitats for future generations.
The Land Trust is grateful to work with families to preserve their legacy, keep land in production and maintain essential habitat for wildlife that is important to Wyoming.