Ladder Ranch Receives 2014 Leopold Conservation Award

Watch the video story.

WY family photo 2013Pat and Sharon O’Toole were always taught to keep one eye on the livestock and one eye on the landscape of Ladder Ranch, because one does not do well without the responsible management of the other.

Established in 1881 by A.W. and Anna Louise Salisbury near the confluence of the Little Snake River and Battle Creek, Ladder Ranch has been home to six generations, raising cattle since the 1920s.

Sharon Salisbury O’Toole grew up on the ranch and now runs the balanced cattle and sheep operation with her husband Pat, son Eamon, daughter Meghan and their spouses. Daughter Bridget and her husband help with marketing. The family also raises Quarter Horses, Border collies and livestock guardian dogs, and operates a ranch recreation business.

Conservation stewardship has always been important to the family, beginning with a rotational grazing system using private and public lands in the 1950s.

The O’Toole’s have implemented beneficial river projects with Wyoming Game and Fish, Little Snake River Conservation District and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Partners Program. These integrate the fishery and the irrigation system..

The O’Tooles also work to protect and enhance habitat for Greater sage grouse and Columbian sharp-tailed grouse. The ranch is home to a Wyoming Audubon Important Bird Area and provides critical winter range to deer and elk. In recent years, antelope migrate to their high country pastures.

With a goal of giving future generations an opportunity to work the land and protect their beloved landscape and its wild and domestic inhabitants, the O’Tooles are involved in their community. They are proud to promote conservation values in Wyoming and beyond.

Wyoming Partners:

Sand County Foundation

SCF-Logo-Black-2014Sand County Foundation is a private, non-profit conservation group dedicated to working with private landowners to improve habitat on their land. Sand County’s mission is to advance the use of ethical and scientifically sound land management practices and partnerships for the benefit of people and their rural landscapes. Sand County Foundation works with private landowners because the majority of the nation’s fish, wildlife, and natural resources are found on private lands. The organization backs local champions, invests in civil society and places incentives before regulation to create solutions that ensure and grow. The organization encourages the exercise of private responsibility in the pursuit of improved land health as an essential alternative to many of the commonly used strategies in modern conservation.

Wyoming Stock Growers Association

wsgaThe Wyoming Stock Growers Association was organized on April 4, 1872 to advance and protect the interest of the state livestock producers. It was the second state cattlemen’s organization created in the United States, and was the first association formed in the Wyoming territory.

Wyoming Stock Growers Association’s mission is to serve that industry by protecting its economic, legislative, regulatory, judicial, environmental, customs and cultural interests. It is the only organization in the state focused entirely on serving the needs of the cattle industry, which is the largest segment of Wyoming’s agricultural production. The association lobbies and tracks issues at both the state and national levels; working closely with the state and federal agencies that write regulations affecting the industry.

Peabody Energy

PeaBodyEnergy_THUMBPeabody Energy is the world’s largest private-sector coal company and a global leader in sustainable mining and clean coal solutions. The company serves metallurgical and thermal coal customers in more than 25 countries on six continents. For more information, visit and