The Ruple Ranch, now part of Dinosaur National Monument, was homesteaded by Hank and May Ruple back in 1882. Although the original house burned in 1960, some of the outbuildings and old wooden corrals remain. It was a cattle ranch and later a sheep ranch held by the Ruple family until 1945. Sometime after that, the monument acquired the property.
The homestead included Island Park, an island in the middle of the Green River. Island Park was named by the John Wesley Powell Expedition in 1869. (This expedition floated down the Green River to the Colorado and through the Grand Canyon, exploring the many side canyons along the way.) The Powell expedition saw deer and antelope grazing in the scenic Island Park.
In 1825, William Ashley, a trader on a scouting trip for the first mountain man rendevouz, traveled down the Green and hunted buffalo and elk in this same area. The buffalo are long gone, but the deer, elk and antelope still roam.A Fremont Cottonwood near the old Ruple Ranch home site has been touted as the oldest tree of its species in Utah. We took this photo of the old tree in 2002:
One large limb had fallen, but the tree was otherwise intact. The picture was taken before the cottonwoods leafed out in the spring. We revisited the site this past weekend, and found that the grand old matriarch (patriarch?) is still alive, but nearly all of the branches have fallen: