This paper explores the parallel histories of two institutions in the Soviet north: the Lapland Nature Reserve just west of Lake Imandra on the Kola Peninsula and the neighboring Red Pulozero collective farm. Both created in the throes of Stalinism in the early 1930s, the former aimed to restore wild reindeer on a protected parcel of land and the latter sought to turn a small Sami community into practitioners of socialist reindeer herding. Over time the relationship between these reindeer pastoralists and preservationists vacillated from mutual assistance to mutual antagonism. Sami herders provided essential knowledge for the conservation program but later found their domestic reindeer roaming on the territory of the reserve. Conservationists hired Sami staff but later accused them of poaching wild reindeer. In the end these tensions contributed to the closure of the collective farm in the early 1960s and appropriation of Pulozero reindeer by veterinary scientists.