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New Release Portrays Ranches of the West
Great American Ranches of the West highlights 30 family-owned ranches in 17 western states and the people who operate them

But even if the neighbors are far away, they still cooperate and help each other, he said.

"The curse of the urban area is the garage-door opener," Keen said. "They come home, go in the garage, and you never see them."

The book displays his skills at photography. He has been passionate about photography most of his adult life, ever since his wife gave him a camera years ago.

He owned a photography gallery for more than 20 years in California. He and his wife now live in Colorado Springs, where he operates Keen Media.

Keen doesn't have a ranching background. He grew up as a beach kid in California. When he came to Colorado, he got interested in the mountains and climbed all 54 of Colorado's peaks higher than 14,000 feet.

Keen said he was at the stock show in Denver when he became interested in ranching and ranch people. The idea of book about ranches started out as a business venture. But it didn't stay that way for long.

"This began to be more of a calling of God to tell their stories," he said of the ranchers.

He said he wants to tell their stories.

"They have become my heroes," he said. Ranchers should be America's heroes and be recognized for their contributions, he said.

He said he is troubled by America's increased reliance on food sources from outside the country.

His book isn't political, he said, but he wants people to know some challenges ranchers face.

There were 900,000 cattle ranches in 1993, but that has dwindled to 775,000.

The section in the book about the Warren Ranch is filled with colorful photographs so detailed that there's a texture about them.

Doug Samuelson, who owns the ranch, is featured in the book.

Keen writes about the first ranch owner, Frances E. Warren. Warren ran both sheep and beef at the ranch, a practice that continues today.

"Ranchers are really the true environmentalists," Keen said. "They understand the land and know how to take are of it."