Grassland Restoration

One of the ongoing projects at the Painted Pony Resort is the restoration of the grasslands on the property.  The lands around the resort were and continue to be grazed, especially the public lands.  The quality of the grasslands varies considerably across the valley as a result of different range management practices ranging from good to poor ground cover  and in the 7 years the 80 acres encompassing the estate have been fenced cattle have not had the opportunity to graze.  As a result the landscape is beginning to recover and there is a noticeable difference in the amount of ground cover on the property.  The 2 panoramic images below show a comparison between the recovering landscape and State land that is continually grazed.  The first panorama was taken last fall looking east along the drive from the Painted Pony Resort showing State land on the left and resort land on the right.  There is a clear difference in the density of ground cover, especially increased grasses on the resort side of the fence.  While the second panorama is taken looking west from the bottom of the San Simon Riverbed showing the grazed State land on the right and fenced private (the resort expansion) land on the left.  Again note the difference in vegetative cover.  The Painted Pony Resort contains a large swath of mid calf high grasses along the riverbed while the grazed State land shows significant loss of grasses and a corresponding increase in woody shrubs.

By fencing and allowing the land to rest the grasses should continue to recover and return to its' pre-grazing state.  Ideally encouraging more native browsers such as deer and pronghorn antelope on the landscape.

For additional information on restoring New Mexico's grasslands please visit Restore New Mexico.

over grazing in new mexico
Grazed versus ungrazed

grazed versus ungraved grasslands
Ungrazed versus grazed


  1. People ask why we fence in this area and I always say to keep the cattle out. This does show the result of fencing. Greet job on this blog!

  2. Thank you. It is important to point out that New Mexico is a fence out state and it is the landowners responsibility to fence out cattle belonging to others. Guests at the Painted Pony Resort are amazed that it is my responsibility to keep cattle out not the cattle owners responsibility to keep his cattle in. While I believe cattle and the grasslands can co-exist, the number of cattle that congregate in areas can overwhelm the lands ability to sustain itself. I have observed over 40 head gathered on the new expansion. The number of acres required to support a single cow range from 40-90 in southern New Mexico yet 40 head on 236 acres is almost 6 head of cattle/acre, clearly an unsustainable number, hence my fencing around the new property. I do not blame the ranchers, they are abiding by their legal requirements. But as more and more private land is fenced in the area ranchers who have relied on leases and their ability to graze cattle on private land will continue to shrink.