Date of Award:

5-2005

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Wildland Resources

Advisor/Chair:

Mark W. Brunson

Abstract

Like many ranchers in the West, ranchers in West-Central Colorado are reevaluating their management strategies in the face of forces like drought, rising land prices, and encroaching development. While ranchers seek answers on alternative management strategies, research and Extension personnel search for adequate means of diffusing needed information. Relative to many rural western communities, ranchers in West-Central Colorado show high interest in alternative range management ideas, and many implement changes to their ranch management based on these ideas. This can partially be attributed to a unique support system of Extension and agency personnel with effective, untraditional outreach and land-management approaches. A survey was mailed to all 647 persons on the mailing list for the CSU Tri-River Extension Office, including Forest Service and BLM permittees in Mesa, Delta Montrose, San Miguel, Ouray, Hinsdale, Saguache, and Gunnison counties. The survey was designed to gain insight on how ranchers perceive current Extension efforts, how they learn new management information from peers and Extension/agency personnel, and how they apply these new ideas to their operations. Subsequent qualitative interviews with respondents gathered information on the process of adapting and implementing range management innovations into individual operations. This paper presents the findings of the survey and interviews, and implications for future outreach efforts.

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