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Skyrider Wilderness Ranch is located just outside of Tabiona, Utah, and its pinon forests and rocky bluffs are home to thriving populations of native animals and fragile ecosystems. The ranch is also home to the D. Gary Young Wildlife Sanctuary, a conservation easement donated to The Nature Conservancy in 2019, which includes over 18 square miles of critical wildlife habitat and protected land areas which are the natural migration paths of both wild elk and deer populations.
Skyrider Ranch land, houses a unique high-fence area, previously used for domesticated elk. For years, the Ranch has been a destination hunting outfitter. Wildlife enthusiasts have visited from around the globe to be part of the guided game hunts. Conservation has always been at the core of the Skyrider Ranch’s hunts, but now, conservation will move the ranch in a new direction as Utah’s first Desert Big Horn Sheep Nursery. In a first-of-its-kind partnership with the state of Utah and Nevada, the ranch has ended its hunting operation and converted the high-fence elk space to be a habitat for a nursery herd of Desert bighorn sheep, relocated from Nevada.
Conservationists throughout the west are searching for ways to support the Bighorn Sheep and create opportunities to improve the health and longevity of herd populations. Phil Crowther, Director of the Domesticated Elk program for the state of Utah, is one of the people seeking a long-term solution for bighorn sheep survival in the west. His thinking spurred the idea for the bighorn sheep project at the Skyrider Ranch. In this new approach, sheep will be moved from their current habitat, where they are potentially at risk for disease and death, to the protected location on Skyrider Ranch. Once the herd is healthy, sheep will be placed in weaker herds across the west to help improve overall health of the species.
Several features make the Skyrider Wilderness Ranch the ideal location for this endeavor. The ranch. The property plays a pivotal role to native wildlife, serving as a migratory corridor to the large herds of elk and deer that pass between winter and summer ranges, along with mountain lion, bear, and the struggling greater sage grouse population. With a model for conservation partnership already in place and a perfectly suited environment, the ranch is an ideal location for the location of the Nursery herd of Desert Bighorn Sheep.
The high-fence area the ranch has for its domestic elk is ideal for supporting the bighorn sheep herd; it will protect them from some of their greatest threats while allowing them to be protected in a natural habitat with the high cliffs and bluffs where their species can thrive.
Young Living CEO Mary Young and a team of Young Living farm managers decided that ending commercial hunting on the property to help preserve the bighorn sheep population is directly in line with the conservation efforts that founder D. Gary Young had in mind when he started the ranch many years ago.
Government and Young Living leaders alike hope this partnership serves as a model for other organizations. Commitment to conservation and protection of nature and wildlife are core to Young Living’s values, they hope other business leaders can find ways to leverage property and resources in support of protecting wildlife, natural resources and ecosystems regardless of their operational goals.
100% of your proceeds go to conserving & protecting the BIGHORN sheep.