Steamboat Springs It’s not something they expected.
The Herold family, of South Routt, was recognized as Landowner of the Year at the second Routt County Agriculture Fall Gathering on Sunday. The event was held from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Steamboat Springs Community Center.
The purpose of the event is to bring together the county’s agriculture community, Routt County Extension Agent CJ Mucklow said.
“It’s business, but it’s an opportunity to socialize with other farmers and ranchers in Routt County,” he said. Mucklow added that although the agriculture industry nationwide and locally is shrinking, it’s still a big part of the county’s identity. “Ag still matters.”
After each of the agriculture groups held their fall meetings, dinner was served and the awards were presented. The Herolds, a South Routt ranching family since the mid-1880s, were recognized for their sage grouse habitat improvement and livestock grazing enhancement project.
The project on the family’s ranch about 1.5 miles north of Yampa, increases water access for livestock and, in turn, benefits the grouse population.
Carl Herold said he and his son, Chip, were involved in a work group that consisted of, among others, the Division of Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Resource Conservation Service.
Carl Herold said the work group is one of five in Colorado that is working to assist the grouse population by grass-roots efforts “instead of from the top.” He said they couldn’t have completed the project without the help of the work group participants and others.
“It’s nice. It’s nice to be recognized,” Carl Herold said. “But really, the project for us was quite a bit of fun, actually. We learned something. There was also a lot of hard work involved, don’t get me wrong.”
His wife, Rita, said the project was important because it helped them manage the land at their ranch but benefited the wildlife.
“When you do a project like this, you don’t do it for recognition,” she said.
Liza Rossi, a wildlife conservation biologist for the Division of Wildlife, worked closely with the Herolds on the project.
“They were recognized not just for the project, but for everything they do,” she said. “They’re really active in South Routt and just really wonderful people.”
Other awards also were presented. The Routt County CattleWomen’s Association named Karina Spitzley, of Steamboat Springs, as Rookie Cattlewoman of the Year. They honored Joan Gibbs, of Oak Creek, as Cattlewoman of the Year. The Routt County Soil Conservation District recognized Ross and Medora Fralick, of Hayden, as Small Acreage Landowner of the Year.
— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 871-4203 or e-mail email@example.com