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Welcome to the
Alone on the Range Library Project


Image Source:
Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials
http://www.meekersheepdog.com/sheepcamp.htm



Mission Statement: To provide basic library services to sheep camp tenders working during the months of June, July, and August in remote areas of Rio Blanco, Moffat, and Garfield counties of Northwestern Colorado.


Overview:

Northwestern Colorado, consisting of Moffat, Rio Blanco, and Garfield counties, is an area of open lands and low population. Rio Blanco County residents say that 50,000 deer and 5,000 people share their 3,200 square miles of county land. Extraction industries, and both cattle and sheep ranching are the primary sources of income in this remote area. Sheep have been tended here since the turn of the 20th century. Many of the original sheep tenders were of Greek origin. Over the years, a summer job as a tender has been common employment for young men from Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. Now, as times and the economy have evolved, the men who tend the sheep come not only from the western United States, but also from the Basque region of Spain, and from Peru.

Referred to as tenders, trailers, or herders, these young men live with their wooly charges in summer pastures from June until late August, when the sheep are moved to winter pastures. During this time, the herders move with the sheep as needed to find food. The herder generally has a horse, a herd dog or two, often border collies, and what is called a sheep wagon. The sheep wagon configuration is based on that of a boat, with economy of space the essence of its design. The herder is dependant on the rancher for supplies that are delivered every week or so. It's a very solitary existence.

The purpose of this proposed library is to provide basic library services to the isolated herder.


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