THE ORIGINAL IZ
The IZ Ranch is located in the town of Izee, Oregon, a small outpost along the South Fork of the John Day River about twenty miles east of Paulina. The lush grassland along the South Fork of the John Day river made this land a popular grazing location for cattle and sheep herders in the late 1800s. A ranching boom began in the 1880s and the unique name Izee was born quite spontaneously when the growing population forced the need for a Post Office in the boom-town. A local homesteader and former cavalry man, Carlos Bonham, named the town after his own cattle brand “IZ” when he applied for a postal code as the town’s first postmaster.
HISTORY OF THE IZ RANCH
Izee is located in Grant County, Oregon. Though its roots go back to Lewis and Clark’s first expeditions out West, identifying this as prime grazing country, Grant County was made famous through a gold boom. Not long after that, and well into the mid-1900s, Grant County and Izee, in particular, were noted for their timber production. Today, Izee is mostly a remnant of the 20th-century Mill boom town that erupted as a result of the rich ponderosa pine resources. After acquiring the IZ Ranch in 1993, the Nelson family made a commitment to steward the land responsibly and preserve its heritage of natural timber and lush grazing resources.
Part of preserving this landscape and natural resources for future generations involves creating learning opportunities for those generations to experience the land, and the animals and interact with the daily tasks of cattle ranching. Blessed with a strong community of family and friends who’ve committed to serving the IZ Ranch each year, we offer two work-week opportunities each summer. During those weeks groups of people gather at the ranch to build and repair fences, clean springs, develop water sources, and more.
These weeks are full of hard work and fellowship and culminate with a return trip in the fall when everyone’s sweat equity turns into rare recreational and hunting opportunities.
We’re excited to extend these learning opportunities and, in 2024, we’re bringing an agricultural internship program to IZ Ranch through a partnership with Corbin University.