Matt Barnes

People_Matt Barnes, Research Associate

Research Associate

Matt Barnes is an integralist, collecting and synthesizing ideas. An explorer where the rivers flow from the Land of Shining Mountains to the Great American Desert. A ranger without a park, a rancher without a ranch, a scientist outside of the academy; a cultivator of wildness in self, culture, and nature.

His explorations in science and conservation have focused on leading-edge rangeland stewardship, mostly collaboratively with ranchers and other land managers, asking how to live on working wildlands and with native wildlife, especially bears and wolves, in ways that are regenerative.

Matt provides scientific information on wolves and wolf-livestock coexistence in Colorado, where the first use of direct democracy to restore an endangered species passed in 2020 and Colorado is now planning a state-led reintroduction. He is on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife wolf restoration Stakeholder Advisory Group, is a science advisor of the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project, collaborates with the CSU Center for Human-Carnivore Coexistence, and is a member of the Southwest Colorado Wolf Cooperative, where he helped organize the Durango Wolf Symposium.

He investigated potential corridors for large carnivores between the Northern and Southern Rockies, culminating in a source-to confluence expedition down the Green River from Wyoming to Colorado and Utah.

Matt is actively involved in the Society for Range Management, where he co-organized the inaugural Range Practicum, the recurring Stockmanship Symposium, and the Low-Input Grass-fed Livestock Production Symposium. As President of the Colorado Section SRM, he organized a symposium to resolve a longstanding debate over planned rotational grazing, culminating in a special issue of the Rangelands journal on Strategic Grazing Management for Complex Creative Systems.

Matt is also owner of Shining Horizons Land Management, through which he works with ranchers and agencies on rangeland grazing planning and monitoring, and previously as a ranch manager on a custom cattle grazing operation in western Colorado, where he demonstrated improvements in both land health and grazing capacity with strategic grazing management.

Matt previously worked with the nonprofit People and Carnivores in Montana and Wyoming, where he developed approaches to livestock management for coexistence with large carnivores, including strategic grazing management and low-stress herding. He served as a rangeland management specialist in the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, a prescribed fire manager with the USDI Bureau of Indian Affairs Branch of Forestry, serving five tribes in northwest-central Arizona; and seasonally as a grizzly bear technician for Idaho Fish and Game, and as a bear technician in Yosemite National Park.

He holds an MS in Range Science from Utah State University and a BS in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Arizona.

Learn more about his program Reintegrating Wildness here at NRCC, or ride along with him on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, ResearchGate, or