The Pitchfork Ranch is an important place to be restored and repurposed. Fostering improved habitat for wildlife is paramount for this "multi-purpose" ranch – an impact enterprise with which we hope to encourage others to pursue restoration. Returning the land toward its pre-settlement condition, restoring and maintaining its natural processes, addressing climate change, pursuing new thinking about land health via agreement rather than argument are the tasks. Learning the workings of the watershed and ciénaga will serve to save this place, ours for only a short time.
Beauty is often taken for granted, generally thought of in terms of personal taste, as in “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Yet beauty is far more than a subjective response to some observable something and is one of the ranch’s most important features.
In the American Southwest there is a unique kind of waterway few people know of: the ciénaga. And so few remain healthy that, absent awareness of what a ciénaga is and their importance, these endangered habitats will soon become extinct.
The Grant County Native Plant Society makes periodic trips to the ranch for plant study and identification. In 2009, Gene Jercinovic — a member of the group with a particular interest in smaller plants — found a species he could not identify.
We avoid referring to ourselves as “ranchers,” preferring “ranch owners” because there is a clear difference between a “cowman” and retirees using a historic cattle ranch for restoration, wildlife, and carbon sequestration.
Habitat restoration is one of five key elements, along with zero-carbon sources of renewables, weatherization, elimination of our consumptive life style and mass transit, for “The Great Transition” away from fossil fuels required to address climate change.