Regional Offices > Sheridan Region > Sheridan Region News > Sheridan Region 2023 Landowners of the Year

Sheridan Region 2023 Landowners of the Year

September 27, 2023
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Sheridan -

Congratulations to Kathleen Hollcroft and her son Sam Reinke, this year’s Sheridan Region Landowner of the Year recipients.

Hollcroft and Reinke own and operate the Leo Land and Livestock and RF Ranch operations in northeast Johnson County and west-central Campbell County. The ranches have diverse habitat types, from floodplains and riparian areas to grassland and sagebrush openings with juniper draws.

Their  property lies within Elk Hunt Area 2, where elk are thriving and there are challenges with managing the herd, as much of it is private land with limited public access.  

“Kathleen has always been open to conversations about how to improve access in this area,” said Gillette Wildlife Biologist Erika Peckham. “She and Sam have been instrumental in helping take a step in the direction of managing this elk herd towards numbers that are closer to the herd objective.”

The ranches steward about three miles of the Powder River, which hosts the highest native fish diversity in the state.  Fish population sampling in the Powder River is challenging, made more difficult because it flows mostly through private land in the northeast corner of Wyoming.  Fisheries biologists approached Hollcroft and Reinke in 2004 about accessing the river on their property for surveys needed in the area as part of an intensive three-year project assessing the status of the fish community along the main stem river. 

“They not only obliged, but were  accommodating and helpful with relaying conditions in the river and on access roads,” said Sheridan Fisheries Biologist Gordon Edwards. “Their cooperation helped complete the project, which culminated in a comprehensive, multi-agency report on the Powder River ecosystem.” 

In 2021 and 2022, Hollcroft and Reinke were important partners in the Clear Creek/Powder River fish telemetry study.  The project investigated the effects of fish passage structures on fish migrations among lower Clear Creek, the Powder River, and the lower Yellowstone River in Montana.  They allowed fisheries biologists to construct and operate a telemetry receiver station on the river bank of their property, as well as capture and tag fish for the project. 

Hollcroft and Reinke have also allowed for access and temporary placement of equipment on their property for acoustic surveying of amphibians. In 2022, Game and Fish biologists placed three automated acoustic recorders on the ranch to record amphibian mating calls. All four of the expected amphibian species were documented.  

“Documenting the presence of the plains spadefoot and Great Plains toad was particularly important as they are listed as Wyoming Species of Greatest Conservation Need,” said Sheridan Fisheries Biologist Andrew Nikirk. “Data on their distribution and abundance is lacking, and through this survey, important new information was gathered, reconfirming amphibian presence in the Powder River Basin.”

In recognition of these projects and for their many years of interest and support of wildlife conservation and management on their property, the Sheridan Region was pleased to recognize Kathleen Hollcroft and Sam Reinke as Landowners of the Year.


- WGFD -

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