Ranch & History

The Wagon Wheel Bunkhouse, flood 2013

The Wagon Wheel Bunkhouse

Dear Friends of Sylvan Dale,

Shock and awe. Twice in two days.

First came the massive torrent that ripped through our beloved Sylvan Dale Ranch during the pre-dawn hours of Friday, September 13. Linda and I, and Susan and her Dave, couldn’t believe our eyes. How could another “500-year storm” happen only 37 years after the one that menaced our parents, Maurice and Mayme Jessup? This time, unbelievably, the destruction was even greater than the famous flood of 1976. You can view the damage on the video below. Read more on A Flood of Water; A Flood of Support…

Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch is a great place to visualize patterns and processes of Earth’s history. Earth science students from local middle and high schools as well as the University of Colorado, the University of Northern Colorado, and Colorado State University often use the Ranch for field trips. Patterns of geology are the foundation for everything else, from vegetation to human land use to the awe-inspiring scenery.

Several of the great ages of Earth are on display at Sylvan Dale.

The granite and schist of Green Ridge, Inspiration Point, and Alexander Mountain represent the Precambrian Era.

A view across 1.8 billion years:

A view across 1.8 billion years: from Ice Age Little Canyon of the Big Thompson
to Pre-Cambrian rocks of Alexander Mountain. ⇱

The Paleozoic Era, the “Age of Fishes and Amphibians,” is represented by the Fountain Formation, the oldest of local sedimentary rocks. Most of our sedimentary rocks are from the Mesozoic Era, the “Age of Reptiles.” Cenozoic rocks, from the “Age of Mammals,” are missing from our immediate area, eroded to sandy bits, hauled downstream, gone to rest in the Gulf of Mexico. The last 2 million years, Read more on Earth History at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch…

Sylvan Dale Ranch Livery Stable

On the Rail at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch ⇱


Choosing a quality riding stable

Heads up! If you are looking for a quality horseback riding adventure near Fort Collins or Loveland, you may find the experience is not that easy to find.

A few weeks ago we received a call from our good friend Jeff Anderson at Tip Top Ranch in Bellvue letting us know that they have closed their riding operation and guest facilities. Now, Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch remains the sole riding stable in the area. In this article you will learn how to choose a quality riding stable.

When choosing a riding facility here are some things to look for:

Read more on How to Choose a Quality Riding Stable…

cedar-park-grazing-road-crossing

Road Crossing at Cedar Park ⇱

The ecology of Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch is remarkably diverse. Its 3200 acres are ideally situated to include a huge sample of Colorado’s native wildlife. For example, over 60% of the mammalian species of Colorado occur on the Ranch. In fact, Sylvan Dale has more species of native mammals than does the entire state of Iowa.

Maybe the rabbits tell it best. In the grazing lands and hayfields of the Big Valley, a mile east of the Main Ranch, the Big Thompson becomes a lazy, prairie stream and the well-developed riparian vegetation shelters eastern cottontails. The native and tame pastures on the Main Ranch support desert cottontails. The west end of the Ranch, on Palisade Mountain, is habitat for mountain cottontails. Our three species of cottontails demonstrate that Sylvan Dale is a microcosm, a "cross-roads" for species that, combined, range nearly from coast-to-coast—from Washington DC to Washington State, and from Alberta to Costa Rica.

Read more on Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch—Remarkable Ecological Diversity…

Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, west of Loveland, Colorado, encompasses about 3200 acres, 5 square miles of foothills beauty, a naturalist’s paradise.

This is "up-and-down country." Elevations range from 5140 ft. along the Big Thompson River in the Big Valley to 7340 ft. on the north slope of Palisade Mountain above Cedar Park. That is some 2200 feet of elevational range, a greater range than in 15 of the 50 states!

old-hay-rake-cedar-park

Old hay rake in Cedar Park ⇱

Read more on Elevation and Biodiversity…

Holiday parties are a great way to celebrate and reconnect on a personal level with staff and their families…we’ve been hosting holiday parties for over 60 years, and have recently introduced a variety of fun activities for to enhance your holiday party experience:

  • Holiday campfire, with S’more and hot chocolate- nothing says “cozy” more then sitting around a campfire enjoying yummy s’mores and hot chocolate.
  • Horse drawn wagon ride- Belgian draught horses and sleigh bells make this a holiday favorite
  • Tractor-drawn hayride- a slow and easy ride along the foothills trail
  • Christmas caroling and singalongs a songfest of classics carols accompanied by piano or guitar…it’s not fancy, but it will warm your heart
  • Cowboy entertainment, singing and lots of laughter- Cowboy Jake is the funniest gunslinger around…the real deal
  • Cowboy Santa Claus- it’s the Jolly old elf himself…don’t forget your wish list
  • Face Painting for the kids -Santa’s elves bring their own brand of fun
  • Caricatures- sure it’s goofy, but a great ice-breaker too
  • Holiday Hoedown-all your dance favorites- line dancing, square dancing, two-step and Cotton Eyed Joe!
  • Holiday Karoke- here’s your chance to belt out your favorite holiday (or other) tune to the whole company… go for it!
  • Holiday Photos- add your company background or choose from different backgrounds…no charge for posing or making fun faces with the boss.
  • Holiday Crafts- create your own old-fashioned wooden Christmas ornament…we’ll supply all the materials, you supply the creativity

 We offer a choice of party rooms, tasty brunch, lunch and dinner menus and bar service featuring fine wines and Colorado brews.  Plus 50% savings off your party room rate!

If you’re unsure about your holiday party plans, give us a call or email…we’d love to help.  Cheers!

 

high-park-fire-update.gifLarimer Country GIS Landscape & Imagery Explorer


July 2, 2012 @ 11:10a

The High Park Fire is 100% contained at 87,284 acres. … Hot spots will continue to exist within the perimeter during the containment phase and residents should expect to see smoke for days and weeks as the fire moves from containment to control.


June 29, 2012 @ 11:38a

The High Park Fire is estimated at 87,284 acres, meaning the fire has not grown since June 27th. Containment is now estimated at 85 percent. The estimated containment date has been moved up from July 15th to July 1st. (source: Larimer County Emergency Information)


June 26, 2012 @ 8:22p

The High Park Fire is estimated at 87,284 acres with 65 percent containment. The current cost of the fire to date is estimated at 33.1 million dollars. There are 1,805 fire personnel assigned to the firefighting effort. Equipment resources include: 10 Type 1 hand crews, 18 Type 2 hand crews, 156 engines, 11 dozers and 24 water tenders. Air Resources include; 7 Type I (heavy) helicopters, 3 Type II (medium) helicopters, 6 Type III (light) helicopters, 1 Type II helicopter with a radiometric imaging system attached, fixed wing support aircraft, and available heavy air tankers. … The total of homes destroyed to date remains at 257. (source: Larimer County Emergency Information)


June 21, 2012 @ 10:00a

The High Park Fire is estimated at 68,200 acres with 55% containment. The current cost of the fire to date is estimated at $19.6 million dollars. There are 1,978 fire personnel, 18 helicopters and 135 engines fighting the fire at this time with a 24-hour work schedule in place. Larimer County Emergency Information


June 20, 2012 @ 10:30a

The High Park Fire is estimated at 65,738 acres with 55% containment. The current cost of the fire to date is estimated at $17.2 million dollars.


June 18, 2012 @ 9:00p

The High Park Fire is estimated at 58,770 acres with 50% containment.

http://www.larimer.org/emergency/emergency_detail.cfm?nam_id=85


June 17, 2012 @ 7:30a

The High Park Fire is located approximately 15 miles west of Fort Collins and has burned 55,050 acres to date and is estimated 45 percent contained.

http://www.inciweb.org/incident/2904/


June 16, 2012 @ 10:59a

Statistics about High Park Fire

  • 54,232 acres (84.7 square miles)
  • 20 % contained
  • 1,553 staff
  • 103 engines working in the fire area & 112 assigned to High Park Fire
  • 16 helicopters
  • $9.1 million is current cost of fighting the fire
  • Citizen briefing scheduled for 3 p.m. at The Ranch

http://www.coemergency.com/2012/06/high-park-fire-map-june-16-highparkfire.html


June 14, 2012 @ 5:05p
High Park Fire Perimeter Map. (The map will take a moment to load.)

June 14, 2012 @ 11:27
The High Park Fire is still at around 10+% containment as of this morning. The skies are clear this morning at the ranch. View thew latest fire update: coemergency.com/2012/06/high-park-fire-update-june-14-at-1027.html

clear-skies-at-sylvan-dale

You can view the most current map of the High Park Fire here.


June 12, 2012 @ 16:07
Thank you to all who have called to check on us regarding the High Park Fire west of Fort Collins. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who has been touched by this tragedy.

Fortunately for the ranch the fire is not near and there is currently no cause for alarm. There was some haze from the smoke this morning but it has cleared significantly.

high-park-fire

The Heart-J logo above indicates Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch’s approximate location.

A summary of the status of the fire can be found here. For updated fire conditions visit www.inciweb.org/incident/2904/.

We’ll let you know via our website and on Facebook about any developments that might affect the ranch.

Wow! It has been TOO LONG since we shared what’s happening at the Ranch with you — so sorry. But, we’ve been very busy with other things and we hope you’ll pardon our absence. Here’s a taste of what’s been stealing all of our time:

It’s been nearly a full month… February 1st marked the exciting date of the launch of our completely redesigned website at www.SylvanDale.com. What a major project it turned out to be, and it’s really just the beginning! Hopefully you’ve had the opportunity to look around, explore, and check it out.

We’ve made quite a few changes and enhancements to the new website since its launch and there’s still a lot of work to do as we button and polish things up, but we’re pretty pleased with how it’s going so far.

We’d love to hear from you; What do you think about it? What do you like? What don’t you like? How we can make it better? Send us an email and we promise to take your suggestions to Heart(-J)! :)

sylvandale.com

Also, 2012 brought us a priceless present — truly a gift to leap at — a "bonus" day! Yep, 2012 is a leap year, so we get 366 days of Dude Ranch goodness to enjoy.

Read more on New Website, New Facebook…

Dec 28, 2011  Headed to the valley to check-up on the horses…they look happy (as usual).  Glad to see they are finding their way to the drinking pond.  Standing in the valley with horses on a brilliant winter morning is a great way to start the day.

The hot days have given way to cooler nights and 3-½ inches of rain! What a blessing to the hills and the pastures and all the critters that rely on their forage. Soon the cottonwood will bathe the valley in bright yellow. Fall is here! And the geese are gone!

It’s time to reflect on the 65th anniversary summer season that brought so many good friends back “home” and so many new friends through the Ranch entry gates. We continue to relive the memories of your visit as we go about our daily routines—jingling horses, serving pancakes, making beds, and greeting guests. We hope you will turn to those memories when you need a bit of encouragement or a hug in your day.

View the Fall Meanwhile Newsletter here

In September we celebrated Lois Pierson-Houck as she completed 20 years in the saddle at Sylvan Dale. Lois has been a steady and resolute champion providing a sense of security to the entire Sylvan Dale family.

lois_party_group

Starting her Sylvan Dale career in the spring of 1991, Lois has seen many changes on the Ranch including the building of the Heritage not to mention several shifts in personnel and ranch structure. Lois’ current position is in group sales. Her welcoming voice on the end of the line exudes a sense of confidence that only a well-seasoned professional can provide.

We have every reason to think that Lois could launch a new career as a consultant in “How to Adapt to Change and Come Out On Top.” Thank goodness she chooses to ride the range with us!

Congratulations, Lois, with our sincere “Thanks!”

  The following article was recently published in the June issue of The Stockman Grassfarmer.
git-along-little-microbes-stockman-grassfarmer-article

Grassfed Critics Are Ignoring Methane Eating Soil Microbes

LOVELAND, Colorado: Beef cattle belch out tons of methane. Some studies claim cows account for 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.

  And, it turns out that grassfed cows belch more than their grainfed cousins, a fact that gladdens the hearts of feedlot owners seeking a patch of moral high ground on which to plant a green flag.

  Now along comes Bill McKibben to snatch the flag back for the grass-feeders. (“The Only Way to Have a Cow” by Bill McKibben. Orion Magazine, March/April 20I0).

  How is it, he asks, that vast herds of wild ruminants never burped the skies full of methane in days of old? The answer, he claims, is methane eating soil microbes.
Read more on Git Along Little Microbes…

We’re pleased to announce that David Jessup has been chosen for a fellowship awarded by Colorado State University’s Center for Collaborative Conservation. David was selected as one of the five “conservation practitioners” to take part in the program. A total of only eighteen fellowships were awarded.

David Jessup is co-owner of Sylvan Dale Ranch, a 3,500-acre working dude ranch west of Loveland that raises grass-fed beef for local sale. Jessup’s fellowship will allow him to test two soil restoration strategies, mob grazing and compost tea application on an irrigated hay field where decades of hay removal has depleted the soil. Working with university and government collaborators, he will measure changes in soil quality indices and analyze the potential value of these improvements for a ranchland ecosystem services market for Colorado and the Western United States. His report will be applicable to soil restoration, conservation and grazing land management for private and public lands” (http://www.news.colostate.edu/Release/5703).

Warner College Collaborative Conservation Fellows
Photo credit: www.news.colostate.edu

Read the full article