We make so many choices based on environmental and social impact- what we eat, what we wear, and now more than ever where and how we travel. Regenerative holidays are a concept that is not new in Europe and South America where agro-tourism is a long-established tradition, but they are gaining new appreciation here in the US. Guests at farms, ranches and retreats are part of the process instead of simply receiving the bounties of the land and in turn learn new things and have a chance to connect deeply with a sense of place. . Not only are these experiences designed to teach, inspire and rejuvenate but by your participation as a guest, you are supporting the larger ecosystem and those working on behalf of the land, water and creatures that call these places home.
Ranchlands operates cattle and bison ranches in the American West. They partner with conservation-minded owners to implement ambitious regenerative grasslands programs. In addition, they run a series of complementary land-based businesses including hospitality, fishing, an artisan leather shop and retreats.
Zapata Ranch, located on the eastern edge of the San Luis Valley borders the incredibly scenic Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. The ranch and a formidable bison herd is owned by The Nature Conservancy and managed by Ranchlands in a partnership model that emphasizes environmental conservation practices. As a guest at the ranch you can ride horses through the Medano and the dunes (wranglers work with all skill levels and ages) dine on local produce and meat from the ranch, walk to waterfalls and through the sage prairies and learn from an incredible host of teachers who grace the ranch from March to October.
For color lovers, Edie Ure’s natural dyeing workshop in July is the perfect marriage of study, stewardship and sweetness to fill one’s cup. Ure helps participants gather wild plants from the ranch and dye gorgeous silks, cottons and linens. Participants will create a color story from plant dyes drawn from the landscape, creating a keepsake of high desert hues. Registration is limited.
To sign up for Ure’s class and more information on Ranchlands and upcoming classes visit:
Edie’s workshop July 9-14
A bit about Edie:
Originally from the UK, Edie’s career in fashion has spanned 25 years working in Milan, Paris and New York for notable designers before settling in Colorado where she grows and collects pigments from nature to use in her practice. She teaches natural dyeing and creates wallpaper and fabric inspired designs.
Getting to Zapata: Best airport is Denver or Albuquerque, both 4 hours aways or a flight from Denver to Alamosa and then a shuttle can be booked to the ranch.
Typical day at the ranch:
Breakfast at 8
Sack lunches to take with you as you head out on your day
9-12 activity one begins (dyeing workshops or riding)
1-5 second activity of the day
Fun add ons in addition to the workshop and rides that are offered throughout the week:
Hike Zapata Falls
Bison tour in vehicle
Old Homestead tours
Hike the Mosca Pass trail
Cocktail in the horse pasture
Learn to rope (taught by the wranglers)
Shopping at the mercantile