Representatives with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) honored Mike Nottingham, of Nottingham Land & Livestock, with the Landowner of the Year Award at the 2023 Colorado Cattlemen’s Annual Convention in Steamboat Springs on June 19.
Moffat and Routt counties are known to be home to the largest elk and deer herds in the U.S. and critical sage grouse habitat. Because of this, many projects involving wildlife management, monitoring, and research are taking place in this area. Mr. Nottingham has graciously allowed CPW access onto his property, regardless of the time of year, to assist with big game capture and collaring efforts, elk calf survival research, big game classifications/counts, and sage grouse monitoring efforts. Accessing his property has become even more critical as CPW terrestrial biologists and researchers try to understand the impacts of last year’s severe winter.
“Mr. Nottingham has long been instrumental in assisting CPW with wildlife management goals in northwest Colorado,” said CPW Assistant Area Wildlife Manager Johnathan Lambert. “As the primary owner of Blue Sage Ranch, he has not only held himself to the program’s highest standards. He has also been a habitat management leader amongst his peers, other land stewards, and neighboring ranches since his time here.”
In addition to habitat improvement and conservation through multiple water projects, protection of riparian areas, and best management grazing practices, Mr. Nottingham leaves an open invitation every year to host both CPW-sponsored youth and novice adult elk hunts on his ranch.
“Mr. Nottingham’s efforts to support wildlife through cooperative partnership, all while having wildlife at the forefront, is why Mr. Nottingham is deserving of CPW’s Landowner of the Year Award,” said Lambert.
Since 1982, the Wildlife Landowner of the Year Award has recognized outstanding contributions made by private landowners in providing habitat and public access to Colorado’s wildlife on private lands. This annual award is part of CPW’s Landowner Recognition Program, which works to improve relationships between landowners, sportspeople, and CPW.
“Private landowners play a significant role in helping us manage wildlife in Colorado,” said CPW Private Lands Program Manager Ray Aberle. “Public access to private lands through the Ranching For Wildlife program, wildlife management projects, monitoring, and research plays a crucial role in how we manage wildlife in Colorado. Without our private landowners opening up their lands to us, we couldn’t do what we do.”
Blue Sage Ranch, located about 10 miles north of Craig, is one of the 24 ranches currently enrolled in CPW’s Ranching For Wildlife Program. To learn more about RFW and its role in managing and conserving Colorado’s wildlife, visit the Ranching For Wildlife page at cpw.state.co.us.