Sterling Ranch welcomes annual cattle drive


The western tradition moves cattle from summer to winter grazing pastures, providing fire mitigation and advancing a healthier ecosystem

Sterling Ranch, Colorado’s 21st century master-planned community and the leading community in the greater Denver market, provides residents with an innovative and amenity-rich place to call home, is continuing to advance land stewardship and environmental sustainability with the upcoming annual cattle drive through the community.

On Saturday, October 1 beginning at 11:00 a.m., about 50 head of cattle (part of a 200 head herd that will winter on Sterling Ranch and birth their calves there) will be herded across the 3,400-acre property brought from their summer grazing pastures to their winter home, as part of a rotational grazing strategy, a critical way to foster a healthier ecosystem across the landscapes.  Rotational grazing also provides an important source of fire protection for Sterling Ranch as the cattle feed on the prairie grasses that would otherwise become excessive fuel to feed a fire. 

 Douglas County itself is planning to include cattle herds in the county’s own fire mitigation plan.

 “Cattle grazing might seem like it would have a minimal effect on fire mitigation, but in reality, these cows are devouring ‘fire energy’,” said Harold Smethills, a founder of Sterling Ranch and a Colorado rancher himself.  “Cattle drives are a longtime western tradition and grazing of cattle is a key part of the strategy of building a robust ecosystem and is part of the unique vision of Sterling Ranch where the community lives with nature.  By grazing the land, not only is fire risk reduced, but the hooves of the cattle aerate the land, the cow manure fertilizes the land, and the low grass provides protection for all types of species from predators.”

Before the first home was built at Sterling Ranch, the ownership team worked with experts to create a Prairie Management Plan.  The Plan provided a roadmap for managing and supporting wildlife cultivating the property which had served as a cattle ranch for many years but had been overgrazed and turned into little more than weeds and dirt.  With new plantings in place, the ownership team brought the cattle back to Sterling Ranch and implemented rotational grazing.  The result is a vibrant prairie land that provides forage and shelter for wildlife and an incredible wildlife habitat for Sterling Ranch residents to respect and enjoy. 

 The upcoming cattle drive at Sterling Ranch will include cowboys and cowgirls, horses and dogs from the Clough Cattle Company who will team-up to move the cattle to their winter home.  In addition to the team of hard workers, large numbers of Sterling Ranch residents will likely turn out to watch the cattle drive and celebrate the Colorado heritage.

 More information regarding Sterling Ranch is available at