Wolf Springs Ranch faces new challenges

LEUPP, Ariz. — On June 20, the Resources and Development Committee (RDC) received a report from the Navajo Nation Fish and Wildlife manager Samuel Diswood regarding ongoing activities, operations and challenges associated with Wolf Springs Ranch. The ranch consists of approximately 16,379 acres and is located within Huerfano and Custer Counties in Colorado, approximately 195 miles south of Denver.

In July 2017, the Naabik’íyáti’ Committee approved legislation allowing the Nation to purchase Wolf Springs Ranch utilizing the Land Acquisition Trust Fund.

RDC chair Council Delegate Alton Joe Shepherd (Jeddito, Cornfields, Ganado, Kin Dah Lichíí, Steamboat) said the purpose of the report was to identify challenges in order to provide the committee with the opportunity to assist in making the ranch venture a success.

“The Navajo Nation purchased the ranch with the intensions to make it a successful and sustainable business. The report outlines the policy changes that need to be made to address the unique problems of the ranch. The intent is to support the ranch’s efforts,” Shepherd said.

In his report, Diswood reviewed the ranch’s third quarter report that included the irrigation of hay, replacement of waterline pipes, fence repairs, status of cattle and bison,and the initiation of the hunting program. Challenges include issues with human resources, procurement policies, ranch vehicles and equipment and drought conditions, added Diswood.

Council Delegate Walter Phelps asked how the committee could resolve the issues and avoid the loss of revenues and resources at the ranch.

“It troubles the committee that the ranch is having personnel issues. We need to find avenues to keep employees who know the ranch and the animals. It is also alarming that the ranch is having difficulties and delays to pay for bills, repairs and equipment due to the Nation’s procurement policies. We need to address this immediately,” he said.

It was recommended the Navajo Nation Fish and Wildlife provide and present the management plan that was required in legislation.

The RDC approved the report with a 3-0 vote with a directive to the Navajo Nation Office of the Controller and Office of Management and Budget to expedite the procurement process and to have the Navajo Fish and Wildlife manager stationed at the ranch to oversee the ranch’s operation.

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