Our 2012 Environmental Awards

Here are the people and organizations working hard to perserve the most special places of the West

Best ranchland

Best ranchland

What didn’t happen here: Nothing against Jackson Hole, but we don’t need two of them so close together.

Why it’s a winner: The 19,000 acres of the Sommers-Grindstone Conservation Project will remain undeveloped, keeping it as it was in the early 1900s. Neighboring properties along the Upper Green River in western Wyoming, Sommers Ranch and Grindstone Cattle Co. are almost as old as the state itself. When the current ranching generation realized they had to keep developers at bay, they joined forces with the Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust. Together they created four conservation easements to keep the land in ranching and preserve valuable wildlife habitat. Costing $19.7 million and stretching nearly 30 square miles, Sommers-Grindstone is Wyoming’s biggest-ever open space project.

Take a ride: The best of Sommers-Grindstone is along the Green River west of Pinedale. The restored 1908 Sommers ranch house opens later this year. In Pinedale, stop at the Wind River Brewing Co. ($$) for food and suds, then hit Museum of the Mountain Man (opens May 1; $5; mmmuseum.com) for early-1800s history.

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