Dear Friends of Deer Valley Ranch

Dear friends, family, and fans of Deer Valley Ranch,

As you may know, a very special group of people has recently taken ownership of Deer Valley Ranch by the grace and goodness of God. It’s quite a story, and I’d love to tell you about it sometime (seriously, let’s get coffee or schedule a phone call!)

Our team is absolutely incredible, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to live life and do ministry alongside such talented, passionate, intelligent humans. But, we can’t do it alone – we need your help.

Our director, Heath Wharton, recently penned this letter. With his permission, I’m sharing it with you all. We believe in the Ranch and its history of bringing people together. We believe in the power of camp. We believe that the still small whisper of the Lord is best heard in the midst of clear mountain skies or on the back of a really good horse.

Would you like to join us on this journey?


Ladies and gentlemen,

It’s clear that God has called us to do something profound with Deer Valley Ranch and I am confident that big dreams and great teams will yield spiritual and relational rewards for Him.  After a few weeks in the director’s seat here, its also clear that we need financial and material assistance in achieving the first year vision and mission of DVR.

Transitions are important, but transitions are also rife with challenges. The legacy of this Ranch is amazing and humbling, as is the sweeping vision of the owners, Uriah and Laura Werner.  However, through years of deferred maintenance, harsh weather, and insufficient investment, we need renewal in just about every area, from maintenance and facilities to programming and daily operations.

If we want to:

  • Become an ember of faith, family, and fellowship that families around the world are drawn to regardless of their faith background
  • Offer the most valuable, meaningful, safe, and memorable family vacation possible
  • Provide the setting and environment for life-changing encounters with Jesus Christ, by hiring, leading, and developing an amazing summer staff
  • Create the best outdoor program in the Arkansas River Valley
  • Be a tremendous blessing to everyone who comes here
  • Host the best weddings in Colorado, and
  • Build the best horsemanship program in the state

Then we need:

  • Membership within the Christian Camp & Conference Association($1400) – By becoming CCCA members, our General Liability insurance premium through Church Mutual is reduced by over $1400/year. It essentially pays for itself many times over through discounts on insurance, food, and equipment purchases. It also provides exceptional training resources for our team.
  • MinistrySafe Annual Membership ($675) – Provides sexual abuse awareness training for the entire staff and cuts the cost of background checks substantially
  • An outstanding Christian children’s curriculum and resources ($500)
  • A new or used stock horse trailer (preferably aluminum, extra-tall). For many of our rides at distant trailheads, having only one horse trailer will limit us to rides of no more than 6 horses. Even just having access to someone’s unused horse trailer would be a huge blessing.
  • Access to (or a donated) truck, powerful enough to haul a fully loaded stock trailer. Presently, we have *one* ranch truck and its power is questionable.
  • Donated or new outdoor gear (used/serviceable is fine)…we need 20-degree and 30-degree sleeping bags, tents, backpacks, climbing harnesses/ropes/shoes, camp cooking items, snow activity equipment, etc. If you used it in the backcountry and don’t use it anymore, then we can!
  • An updated, refreshed, re-wheeled, repainted hayride wagon ($500)
  • An archery range construction and gear (volunteer time and/or donated items – or $500 to buy kits)
  • An ax-throwing range (if someone wants to help us build one, we’d love the help!)
  • Two customized Deer Valley Ranch cornhole sets for the front lawn and family game time ($300)
  • Children’s high chairs (preferably wooden)
  • Four pack-n-plays for our youngest
  • Four Garmin InReach Mini satellite communicators($350 each.) I (Heath) have used these for backcountry communications and they’re necessary for executing a modern, safe outdoor program.
  • New heaters in all of the Lodge rooms (approximately $1500 for 10 new, vent-free, natural gas radiant wall heaters; model #MHVFRD20NGT at $138 each) None of the existing wall heaters in the Lodge rooms are operable – this will enable us to host winter reservations in the Lodge.)
  • Monetary donation for the kitchen ($500) so our new chef can have updated pots/pans/knives for food prep
  • A new or used iPad or laptop for use by the barista at the Coffeehouse
  • Portable plastic tables (5, 4×8 feet, $90 each)
  • Tipperary helmets for horseback riding ($1500)
  • Backcountry, expedition grade, first-aid kids (NOLS med kit 4.0, $50 each)

If you believe in what we’re doing, then simple monetary gifts of any amount will be used to make a difference here. Gifts can be sent to Deer Valley Ranch, LLC. 16825 County Road 162, Nathrop CO 81236. We need investments poured into our hot springs water transport system for the pools, hot tubs, sauna, etc.

If we want to develop and grow our herd of beautiful horses and create the best guest riding and teaching facility in the state, we also need investments within our horsemanship program. Horses will continue to be a powerful tool for ministry as we strive to serve and strengthen families and their outdoor opportunities in this beautiful place.

This is a BIG wish list, and we know it’s a lot to ask for, especially as a FOR-profit operation that cannot issue tax-deductions. However, through a committed team of people who have a vision for what DVR could become, I believe these relatively small requests individually could have a tremendous impact on the safety, operations, and overall experience of our guests.

Would you consider investing your time, money, or unused/available material resources to DVR as we pursue a bold dream in this community? If so, please contact us through email ( or by phone (719-395-2353) and let us know you’re interested and what you’re able to contribute to the cause.

Thanks for your loyalty and commitment to this great family ranch and thank you for your time! Let’s make Deer Valley Ranch even better and more impactful than it once was… Please feel free to share this with friends and family who have a passion for what we’re doing here.

For His Glory,


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