First Colorado Ranch is Certified Wildlife Friendly

ACES at Rock Bottom Ranch is considered the cream of the crop for its conservation of natural habitat.


ACES Rock Bottom Ranch heritage breed pigs roam the grounds. Courtesy Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

For the first time ever, a Colorado ranch is being honored with a Certified Wildlife Friendly award.

The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies’ Rock Bottom Ranch, located in Basalt, gained the accolade for prioritizing habitat conservation, agricultural production and environmental education.

“We’re honored that our efforts align with the Certified Wildlife Friendly mission and look forward to seeing more farms in Colorado acknowledged for similar work,” says Jason Smith, the Rock Bottom Ranch director.

Specifically, the ranch caters to the world around it with instinct-friendly feeding.

“The Ranch’s multi-species rotational grazing system promotes nutrient cycling that results in healthy, sustainable forage for our domestic livestock as well as our wild neighbors,” says Smith.

So what does that mean? Basically, RBR has developed a system they hope shows how healthy wildlife, natural landscapes and domestic agriculture together are possible.

One example of this environmentally-friendly system at work can be seen through their heritage breed pigs’ on-site restoration project. The pigs, under close surveillance, are occasionally allowed to root in the soil of some of the ranch’s mature cottonwood forests. This natural instinct of disturbance can help regenerate strands of young trees, creating prime habitat for countless native wildlife species.

RBR’s methods benefit surrounding wildlife such as mountain lions, black bears, bobcats, coyotes, elk, deer and numerous birds of prey. And, to help their community, the ranch strives to teach people how to grow healthy local, sustainable food. After all, a little team effort can be a beautiful thing.

What to do when you visit:

  • Farmyard Tours. Available Monday-Saturday at 11 a.m.
  • Farm to table dinners
  • Cooking demonstrations
  • Kid’s camp
  • Explore the nature trail
  • Picnic on the grounds
  • Walk the pastures and meet the hefty black hogs, sheep, donkeys or horses, depending on the season.

For more information, visit or call 970.927.6760.

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