Eco Initiatives at The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch
At the Hideout we do not take our resources for granted but try to work in conjunction with the natural resources that we have been given.
For years, we have practiced rotational grazing on the Flitner Ranch, The Hideout and Trapper Creek Ranch properties. Rotational grazing can be defined as the selective use of grazing to allow the diversity of grasses, plants and herbs the opportunity to flourish. Certain areas are grazed or not grazed during various periods of the year in order to respect the flowering and growing times of different plants and grasses, as well as the needs of the birds and other animals that thrive on those plants.
By constantly rotating our cattle and horses from area to area, we do not overgraze our lands which allows us to leave plenty of forage for wildlife. We invest heavily in irrigation and make sure that our livestock are well supplied with water in the drier regions of our lands. The combination of access to water and rotational grazing has attracted an increasing amount of wildlife to the properties we manage. Whether riding on the range or ranch property, we encourage our guests to spread out across the land, instead of the traditional form of trail riding, often referred to as “nose-to-tail.” Free-range riding is not only more enjoyable for the guests, it also means less stress on the soil.
Some of The Trapper Ranch BLM grazing areas have not been grazed by us for many years because when we took over the property it had been overgrazed by previous owners. We have recently started grazing these areas, putting fewer horses on the land to allow nature to restore itself.
Low stress stockmanship & natural horsemanship
Our use of low stress stockmanship results in healthier livestock and healthier horses. Healthier also means safer and more enjoyable, because less negative stress gets more positive results out of all creatures, and it means that we have less need for drugs and medicines. If you are interested in learning more about this, contact The Hideout for information about our guest training opportunities in Low Stress Stockmanship.
Protecting our streams
We are working with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to keep Trapper Creek pristine by fencing off sections from livestock and horses. Cows are especially notorious for “parking” themselves on the banks of rivers and streams and destroying trout habitat. This initiative includes fencing off Trapper Creek. Our next step is planting indigenous shrubs and trees along the creek to protect the banks. We are also working on selectively placing big boulders in the stream to create rapids and improve hatching areas in the creek.
Many streams in the West claim a lot of water for irrigation. This means that in dry years the creeks get less water which causes the water flow to slow and the creek to warm in temperature. This of course reduces the oxygen in the stream’s water which the aquatic creatures need to survive. Where we have control of the water, we allow plenty of water to stay in the stream by using water conserving irrigation practices or through extensive infrastructure work.
Weeds and Russian Olive Project
Over the years, certain shrubs and plants, not indigenous to the area, have invaded, thus crowding out the native plants. The Russian olive tree was introduced in this area generations ago but has now become a pest and is listed as a weed. We have worked hard to limit the impact of the Russian olives and have started to plant many other native species of trees and shrubs.
Cardboard, Tin Cans & Water Bottles
At The Hideout we recycle our cardboard as much as possible while exploring other recycling plans. This is of course more challenging in this remote area compared to larger urban centers with more access to recycling centers. We also encourage our guests to drink our great tasting tap water, using reusable water bottles, which saves us the waste of thousands of plastic bottles.
We encourage people fishing on the property to use barbless hooks, and we only allow catch and release fishing. We teach our guests the technique of releasing a fish in such a way that the fish can survive and continue to thrive. Our fly-fishing guide is an environmentalist with an eye on the long term use and benefit of streams, creeks and lakes. He will be happy to share his knowledge and how it impacts the environment with you.
Environmental cleaning products
We are constantly experimenting with new cleaning products that are both environmentally friendly and healthier for our staff.
Renovating, recycling and building with reclaimed logs, wood, etc.
With part of our family coming from Europe, they brought the respect and knowledge to remodel and renovate using reclaimed timbers, logs and other building materials.
In downtown Shell, Peter and Marijn have been instrumental in renovating The Old Shell Lodge which dates from 1896. During this renovation, balance has been struck between preserving the old style of this rock building while incorporating the modern necessities a building needs. The septic system is designed according to the latest environmental concepts and all of the good quality wood that was reclaimed from the site has been cleaned and stored and is ready for use in other building projects.
Some of the reclaimed wood from The Shell Lodge has been used in the upgrades we did in The Casitas. These upgrades are partially done with wooden beams from The Shell Lodge that are well over one hundred years old. At Trapper we have started the renovation of the hand-hewn old trapper building and barn that were built well over one hundred years ago by some of the first trappers and homesteaders in the area.
Part of a Culture not to Forget
Living in this beautiful, sparsely populated area, it is easy to take for granted the natural beauty and resources of the region. At The Hideout we treasure the natural beauty and environment in which we live and work.
We believe, above all, that the importance of our natural resources needs to be inherent in our culture. Only when it is imbedded in our culture and organization can we hire the staff who will be able to preserve and bring awareness for the future generations.
Our guests are often the messengers that keep us focused on this beauty and the need to preserve. Many of our guests live in urban areas and come here to enjoy the breathtaking scenery. They see the natural beauty with fresh eyes and it gives us constant reminders that this place is special and needs to be treasured.
We do not own this land, properties and beauty. We are just travelers passing by who have been given the wonderful opportunity to be its caretakers who can preserve the beauty for the others will follow in our footsteps.