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 The operation of  Beaverhead Peaks Ranch is guided by the strong philosophical and ethical positions held by co-owner and manager David Ellis. As a result of this personal ethical position, he does not set specific goals for the ranch but instead wishes to create a flexible model for operating a ranch in a manner that truly defines and describes economic, social, and ecological effectiveness.

The Beaverhead Peaks Ranch once belonged to Dave’s grandparents and he hopes to pass on the ranch as an example of an open space and a working landscape. Ranch work is done either on foot or horseback with very few mechanical or industrially processed inputs. This  accommodates an allocation of labor that is less intensive, intrusive, and stressful to the ranch’s landscape and the myriad forms of diverse life that thrive there.

Personal reward and purpose are more important to Dave than pure profitability of the ranch and he has designed an operating model and philosophy for the ranch that fulfills those human needs and is an experiment in sustainability for everything that supports life on the ranch or on the surrounding rangeland.

In an effort to operate the ranch effectively, the cattle are run on a forage basis only. No supplemental feeding is provided to the cattle unless absolutely necessary.  Additionally, there is very little intervention provided for the cattle once they are on the range. It is also an objective of Dave’s to raise and produce cattle that express behavioral and genetic traits that allow they and their offspring to have the capacity to live off surrounding rangeland year-round, be comfortable with and adaptable to handling, and produce high quality beef.

Dave also uses the cattle as a tool that allows natural cycles to exist as they normally would. Ideally, this will leave the landscape intact as an integrated ecologically functioning whole in which the grazing practices compliment the natural water, nutrient and decomposition cycles that occur on the ranch. If the ranch is managed effectively, there should be little difference in the quality of range conditions between private and allotted boundaries.

Much of Dave’s winter grazing occurs on allotted lands with some grazing occurring on private lands. This has allowed less or no dependence on hay production during the winter months. Another site of winter grazing is on private land in Twin Falls. By switching this property over to winter grazing, the forage conditions are much higher in quality than they would be if they were grazed in the spring and summer as was previously the case.

Beaverhead Peaks Ranch strives to maintain the ecological integrity of the landscape upon which the ranch operates. A primary concern is to keep the ranch as wild as possible while still generating economic revenue. As Dave describes, the profit margins of the ranch are very small given its current method of operation. If the ranch were to become more mechanized and industrialized the profit margin would likely diminish, in his opinion.

There are currently no formal stewardship or restoration efforts taking place on Beaverhead Peaks Ranch. Dave has stated that he is not interested in doing a lot of specific projects on his ranch and feels that his daily philosophy of ranch management overrides the need for specific projects.

Dave Ellis feels that the one of the most important aspects of the CIRN is to gather together organizations and people with a similar a rangeland philosophy.  While the CIRN is “embryonic”, Dave also sees a time when perhaps the CIRN can help ranchers with issues that are specific to their own ranch.

Freeman Allotment 1
Freeman Allotment 2
Freeman Allotment Allotment
Freeman Peak
Lone Tree
Steep Country
Ravine
Overview of Valley
Steep Draw
Wildflowers
Dead Tree
Overview of Carmen Creek
Freeman Tree
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