Land Libraries for Young Naturalists!

For the past week of our Year-End Campaign we have focused on the Kids books and programs the Land Library has at South Park’s Buffalo Peaks Ranch, and at our urban home in Denver’s Globeville neighborhood.

We hope you enjoy this short video on the new Young Readers Library at Buffalo Peaks Ranch — a fun and inspiring clubhouse for young naturalists!

For more on the Rocky Mountain Land Library and how you can help & donate, please click here

New Life for an Old Truck

This past September, the ranch’s International Harvester livestock truck woke up from more than 30 years of “lying in state.” The truck became the focus of Wyatt Rubey’s Eagle Scout project, as she asked, how can we convert an old ranch truck into a sheltered space for Land Library campers?

Wyatt and her team had a rotting truck bed to deal with, a tarp to add to the metal roof beams, and a new set of stairs to add to the rear of the truck. Her team did it all, as these slides will show:

The old truck hadn’t budged from this spot for over 30 years, Wyatt’s team towed it a few feet to give campers a morning view of Mt Silverheels.
The rotting floor and side walls needed replacing.
Here’s Wyatt pitching old boards.
And here’s the new Truck bed! Wyatt raised all the funds for her project, including six cots that campers will use next spring!
Even the cab was completely cleaned, from top to bottom.
And part of Wyatt’s plan was to refurbish nine picnic tables that will be used to create a communal space around the “camping truck.”
Here’s the new stairs, as Wyatt and her Eagle Scout advisor Kevin take a second to enjoy what they all accomplished. What a team!
The ranch’s first Eagle Scout, Samuel Bell joined Wyatt for the last weekend of truck work. It was great to have Sam back!
So much hard work and thoughtful planning went into this transformation. Wyatt Rubey’s project has added so much to Buffalo Peaks Ranch!
And here’s the view of Mt. Silverheels that Truck campers will be waking up to. Thank you Wyatt!

Our Favorite Slideshow of the Year!

This is what the ranch is for!

We often say that whenever we see people sharing the excitement and tranquility of being at Buffalo Peaks Ranch, whether they are taking a class, pitching in at a volunteer workday, or are part of a wonderful gathering such as the one we had this past weekend….

The Land Library hosted Colorado School of Mines’ first annual Environmental Leadership Lab. Over 50 students and CSM faculty took part in two days of workshops and field classes. They explored the ranch and river, and experienced South Park’s dramatic skies. photo by Shannon Davies Mancus

The ranch is a wonderful place to wander, providing a subtle feeling of freedom and expanded possibilities. Such a great place for young students to delve deeper into their love for the natural world. photo by Emily Berry

And delve deep they did! There were clusters of students spread across the ranch for the entire weekend. photo by Shannon Davies Mancus

Often you would see just two students intent on exploring their interests and passions together. photo by Shannon Davies Mancus

The ranch’s landscape and big skies served as inspiration and prompts for learning more. photo by Shannon Davies Mancus

An early morning climb of the ranch’s Reinecker Ridge gave the CSM students a brilliantly clear view of South Park and the mountain ranges beyond. photo by Mohammed Alnabbat

For students spending all day outside, there was a special joy in gathering at the newly restored Lambing Barn for warm and nourishing meals made from scratch! photo by Shannon Davies Mancus

Then there was the evening ritual of cattle drawing near to the ranch’s buildings, checking out the curious influx of CSM’s herd of energetic and curious students. photo by Emily Berry

Hiking the inland sea: off to explore the geology and ancient landscapes of a ranch with a lot of secrets to share. photo by Shannon Davies Mancus

Sometimes you just have to run! photo by Jade Glaister

We can’t wait for the Colorado School of Mines students’ tents to be pitched once more at Buffalo Peaks Ranch! photo by Shannon Davies Mancus

We have a feeling that the conversations started this past weekend will continue on…. photo by Shannon Davies Mancus

The river and ranch await! photo by Inga Almgren

photo by Jade Glaister

Cowboys, Artists & Musicians All Across the Ranch!

Buffalo Peaks Ranch came alive last Sunday for our first Friends and Family Ranch Day, presented in partnership with the multi-talented Park County Creative Alliance. Our normally quiet, historic ranch buzzed with art, music, and storytelling too! Youngsters also dived into the ranch’s Young Readers Library, and then went off exploring on their own, using the My Day at Buffalo Peaks Ranch as their guide!

THANKS to all the artists, musicians, and historic reenactors for all they shared. What a great day at the ranch!

Thanks to our sponsors, the South Park National Heritage Area and The Summit Foundation – Soul of the Summit, for their generous support, and to the Park County Creative Alliance for being our brilliant program partners!

Something for Everyone at Buffalo Peaks Ranch

If you love history, art, photography, music, nature, books and more, please join us for a Friends & Family Ranch Day, presented by the Park Country Creative Alliance and the Rocky Mountain Land Library.

Come to historic Buffalo Peaks Ranch and experience History Inspiring Art. Artists, musicians, photographers and historic interpreters will be demonstrating their creative arts, while sharing tips and insights with everyone. Bring your own cameras, musical instruments, or art materials or grab some of the basic supplies we will have on hand and be inspired by the people and the place to produce your own art.

The kids will love the Young Readers Library, and learn more about nature and the history of the ranch with their very own Pocket Guide to Buffalo Peaks Ranch, plus a special bandana to help guide them on a scavanger hunt. 
Those who want to just relax and enjoy the beauty of the area can stop by the Main House and learn about the history of this historic ranch and South Park. Or simply take a stroll along the Middle Fork of the South Platte River!

The event is free, with a recommended $10 donation for individuals, or $30 donation for families.
Registration begins at 9:30am on Sunday, August 15th, and the Friends & Family Ranch Day gets underway at 10:00am.

Location: Buffalo Peaks Ranch is approximately 8 miles from Fairplay on Hwy 9; half way between Fairplay and Hartsel. The ranch is on the east side of Hwy 9, on the north bank of the Middle Fork of the South Platte River.
Park County Creative Alliance or
Rocky Mountain Land Library or


Thanks to our sponsors, the South Park National Heritage Area and The Summit Foundation – Soul of the Summit, for their generous support!

Buffalo Peaks Ranch, with Mount Silverheels on the horizon. Photo by Karen McChesney.

A Fresh Call for Ranch Volunteers

Thanks to our hardy band of volunteers, Buffalo Peaks Ranch has been making great strides in the last few weeks. It’s amazing what we’ve been able to accomplish, from laying a new gravel floor in the Lambing Barn, to ranch wide fence repair and removal.

On Saturday July 24th, and Sunday the 25th, we’ll continue fence work, and do more clean-up across the ranch, especially around the Young Readers Library (in time for August 15th’s Family Ranch Day). We’ll also make time for everyone to explore the ranch, and the Middle Fork of the South Platte River!

For more information, click on the link below. You can sign up for one day, or for the weekend.


Announcing our Summer Book Club Pick

Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain is our Summer Book Club pick! And Buffalo Peaks Ranch will be the perfect setting to discuss this one-of-a kind, eye opening book!

Please join us for the Land Library’s 6th Annual Summer Book Club! This year, we’ll gather on the front porch, gaze across at South Park’s mountain peaks, and discuss one of the past century’s classics of nature writing, The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd. With a voice so unique, you’ll also marvel at Nan Shepherd’s observational skills. As Robert Macfarlane writes in his introduction to the current edition, her writings presents “precision as a form of lyricism, attention as devotion.” 

We will send all Summer Book Club attendees directions to Buffalo Peaks Ranch, and a few more details about the day. 

Your local bookstore should be able to order The Living Mountain, and don’t forget to check your local library. 

Please bring a bag lunch if you like. After our book discussion you’ll have plenty of time to walk the river and explore the ranch! 

Registration begins on Sunday, June 27th, 9:00am.


“So there I lie on the plateau, under me the central core of fire from which was thrust this grumbling grinding mass of plutonic rock, over me blue air, and between the fire of the rock and the fire of the sun, scree, soil and water, moss, grass, flower and tree, insect, bird and beast, wind, rain and snow — the total mountain. Slowly I have found my way in.” — Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain

Anna (Nan) Shepherd (1893-1981)was an enthusiastic hill-walker, and she made many trips to the Cairngorms with students and friends, and often on her own. She also travelled further afield — to Norway, France, Italy, Greece and South Africa — but she always returned to the house where she was raised, in the village of West Cults, three miles from Aberdeen, Scotland. Early in her writing career, she wrote three well-received novels set in small North Scotland communities. She also published a book of poetry, In the Cairngorms.

Join us for our First 2021 Buffalo Peaks Ranch Workshop

Buffalo Peaks Ranch in South Park 

Saturday, July 10, 11:00 am to 2:30 pm
Workshop fee $60, class size: 8 participants

Join printmaker Lucy Holtsnider for a 3 hour workshop to practice drawing, carving, and printing linoleum carvings by hand! We’ll use non-toxic materials and a set of simple tools to create two-color prints based on the Land Library’s collection. Drawings can be done freehand, or traced directly from a book or photograph. Participants should bring a sack lunch, sturdy shoes for walking around the ranch, and sun protection. Optional: 4 x 6” or smaller photo to make a drawing from. 

About the artist:Lucy Holtsnider is a printmaker and book designer based in Lakewood. In her fine art practice, she combines monotype prints, handmade paper, and found objects to create collages and artists’ books that consider climate change impacts and sense of place. As a designer, she designs book covers for self-published authors. Lucy currently teaches at Colorado College, and has taught courses at Yeshiva University, Marist College, and the University of California at Santa Barbara.
We will send directions to Buffalo Peaks Ranch to all workshop attendees.
Registration begins on Saturday, June 12, 6:00 am.

Click here for Eventbrite registration.

Celebrating the Success of Our Spring Campaign

Our version of a fireworks celebration: Melon Day at Buffalo Peaks Ranch, from years past.

The Land Library’s Spring Campaign came to a close last night. We want to thank everyone for their support! We hoped to raise $10,000 to help fuel summer ranch renovation, and programming at both Buffalo Peaks Ranch, and at our city branch in Denver’s Globeville neighborhood. But thanks to you all, we raised $17,770 from over 200 supporters!

We also sold 240 Land Library T-Shirts that you’ll soon start seeing all across town! 🙂

Special thanks also goes to the anonymous Challenge Grant, that was donated in memory of Marci Kearney. Thanks to that generous gesture, we turned $5,000 into $10,000!

The Lambing Barn and Mount Silverheels on the horizon. photo by Samuel Bell

Stay tuned for Land Library summer updates from both ends of the South Platte River!