The Leopold Conservation Award stewardship tour will be held June 21 at the Mortenson Ranch near Hayes, S.D.
The Mortenson Ranch received the 2011 Leopold Conservation Award for its in achievements in improving air, water and grassland quality and wildlife habitat.
In the late 1940s Clarence Mortenson, who was concerned about the operation's sustainability, starting restoring the ranch to its natural state. Today, his sons, Todd, Jeff, and Curt, who currently operate Mortenson Ranch, continue the work. More than 90% of the 19,000-acre ranch is back to native grasses, forbs, shrubs and trees.
The tour starts with registration at 9:30 a.m.
The Mortenson Ranch is located at 25091 Foster Bay Road, Hayes, S.D. Directions to the ranch are as follows:
- From the south at the intersection of Hwy 63 & Hwy 34 - On 63, go approximately 22 miles north to the public access for Foster Bay - follow about 5 miles going northeast
- From the north at the intersection of Hwy 212 & Hwy 63 - On 63, go approximately 25 miles south, to the public access for Foster Bay - follow about 5 miles going northeast
The tour is hosted by the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association, the South Dakota Grassland Coalition and Sand County Foundation.
The Leopold Conservation Award in South Dakota is sponsored by American State Bank, Belle Fourche River Watershed Partnership, Daybreak Ranch, Ducks Unlimited, Farm Credit, Millborn Seeds, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Partners for Fish and Wildlife, the Rasmussen Leopold Fund, South Dakota's Conservation Districts, the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the South Dakota Farm Bureau Federation, the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, the South Dakota Grassland Coalition, the South Dakota State University Foundation, The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Source: SD Cattlemen's Association.