Conscious repurposing and building with natural materials.
Stone-by-stone, log-by-log, a little effort goes a long way in using materials that are already provided to us by the natural landscapes we inhabit. While importing building supplies is far less expensive than domestic sourcing, one must consider the environmental impact associated with importing trees. Most often, wood is imported from rainforests that already suffer from massive deforestation, a leading driver of increased carbon emissions that cause climate change. In addition, the resources required to ship materials all the way to the US from other continents have a far greater impact on fossil fuel emissions. To save money, some businesses even ship domestic wood overseas to be manufactured or treated and then shipped back to the US–a veritable double whammy on climate impact.
Here at the Ranch, not only do we believe in using domestic materials, but we also aspire to take sustainable building practices to the next level by using reclaimed materials that are sourced locally, even from our own 6,500 acres. In addition to reducing the environmental impact of harvesting or mining new materials, our structures are made even more unique and beautiful by repurposing natural materials we already have access to. Colorado beetle-kill pine trees and river rocks reclaimed from local rockslides are two primary examples of reclaimed materials used prominently at the Ranch.
By reusing dead trees killed in the Colorado bark beetle epidemic for interior wood paneling, not only do we save resources needed to ship imported trees, but we also assist in clearing the local forests of dead wood that acts as an accelerant for forest fires–an ever-increasing annual threat to Colorado’s habitat and properties. Beetle-kill wood also offers an unexpected aesthetic with its colorful green and purple streaks left by fungus from the harmful beetles. Another beautiful focal point at the Ranch is the iconic Heck’s fireplace that stretches from the lobby up three stories with repurposed river rocks gathered from a nearby rockslide.
While not from Colorado, but still domestically sourced and repurposed, both the Broad Axe and High Lonesome Barns were constructed from reclaimed, hand-hewn Civil War-era barn timbers from the Midwest.
All these examples demonstrate magnificently how beautiful, authentic, and unique construction can work in harmonious symphony with sustainable building practices to delight guests while simultaneously lessening negative environmental impact.
Reusing building materials is another example of our commitment to the land to reduce, reuse, and recycle as a guiding principle.