A Letter from the Owners:
Buffalo Lodge began rather modestly with my husband and myself choosing to leave behind the conveniences of city life to connect on a deeper level with the beauty of nature. Animal lovers at heart, the ranch was soon populated with horses, unwanted pups & kitties, chickens, ducks, and 2 adorable pot-bellied piggies, Rosie and Wilbur. On many a sunset evening, we dreamt of what the land once was and tried to imagine all the wild creatures that roamed freely here way back when. We took special joy in its current occupants: wild turkey, coyotes, deer, owls, bobcats, and an abundance of songbirds. That was when we began to envision buffalo.
Restoring the majestic buffalo to the land of their ancestors soon became a calling for us, something much bigger than ourselves. After gathering some initial research and insight from other bison ranchers, we purchased 13 youngsters to begin our herd. The joy we felt was immeasurable and grew each day as they matured. We strove to understand their ways and were ever mindful of opportunities to improve the young herd’s experience of a ranch setting.
Working hand-in-hand with the Missouri Department of Conservation, we set up a rotational grazing program on our 330 acres. This allows the buffalo to have fresh grass on a regular basis while giving grazed pastures a chance to recover. Our buffalo, now numbering around 100, have positively loved the arrangement. They have become quite adept at standing by the gate when they’re ready to move to the next pasture. Once we open the gate, they stampede into the new field, running in circles, prancing and kicking up their heels. From the massive bulls and matriarchs to the littlest calves, they all partake in celebrating their weekly “mini-migration.”
We never tire of sharing the beauty and wonderment of our home with family and friends. Repeatedly, we were told of our land’s perfect suitability for weddings. Michael and I are private people by nature and were at first hesitant to embrace the idea. As time drew on, though, we warmed to the idea of sharing our land with the public in a meaningful and sacred way. What could be more appropriate than sharing the land we love with those wishing to express their love for one another?
And thus, The Roosevelt was born, named for President Theodore Roosevelt, the man responsible for preventing the extinction of the American Bison. Naturally, it was important for us to remain sensitive to the environment and to keep our carbon footprint at a minimum. LED lighting is ubiquitous throughout the property as are all the high-efficiency technologies we could access. We implemented a property-wide recycling program and diligently haul recyclables to the closest collection center some 30 miles away. Michael’s grand dream is to introduce solar, something we hope to install in the near future. Around the building, the landscaping is dominated by native perennials to encourage pollinators like hummingbirds, honeybees, and butterflies to make their home at the ranch.
Buffalo Lodge is now in its 4th wedding season. We have enjoyed meeting so many wonderful people who have repeatedly thanked us for sharing this unique experience of the outdoors. I especially enjoy connecting with fellow nature lovers who appreciate all the work that goes into running a sustainable and environmentally-responsible ranch and business. A couple of favorite memories include the father-of-the bride who during the reception, stopped me and after a short pause said, “Perfect.” Another is the woman who upon getting out of her car at The Lodge, took a sweeping view of the grounds, and with tears streaming down her face said, “Thank you for creating such a beautiful place and being willing to share it.” There are many more touching stories I could share. It has been truly humbling to witness the effect this place has had on others. Go to our Reviews tab for a sampling of first-person accounts of our guests’ experiences.
When you choose Buffalo Lodge, you choose a local, family-owned business endeavoring to serve the community in a responsible and sustainable way. You share your passion for the outdoors and for protecting and preserving all who dwell in it. Welcome to our sanctuary, you are among friends.
~ Amy & Michael Billings