The ink is officially dry on the long-rumored sale of one of the largest properties in the foothills of the Crazy Mountains, the 18,000-acre Crazy Mountain Ranch east of Clyde Park.
In a press release about the purchase, Lone Mountain Land Company said it has no plans for a residential subdivision of the property. The company also said it has no plans to conduct a commercial heliskiing operation there. Both prospects had generated public concerns in the area.
The property will be managed by Lone Mountain Land Company, a subsidiary of CrossHarbor Capital Partners, which also owns the Yellowstone Club, the exclusive ski resort and residential community south of Big Sky.
“Lone Mountain Land Company will continue to operate the ranch’s cow-calf operation and guest ranch,” CrossHarbor co-founder Sam Byrne said in the release. “We look forward to working with our neighbors, the Clyde Park community, and the Forest Service to be thoughtful stewards of the land and good members of the community.”
Crazy Mountain Ranch, known locally as Marlboro Ranch, was purchased from tobacco company Philip Morris, which acquired the property in 2000 and operated it as a commercial guest ranch. The property includes a cattle operation and 20 buildings designed to create an Old West ambience. When not horseback riding, fishing, snowmobiling or skeet shooting, guests could wander through an old saloon, receive a spa treatment or attend events at a barn venue. For the past year and a half, guest use of the facility has been limited by the pandemic.
With a heliskiing operation looking for a foothold and the rumored sale of one of the largest ranches in the range, Montanans are wondering what’s next for this isolated and iconic landscape.
“Due to COVID-19, the ranch has not employed most of the guest ranch employees, and Lone Mountain Land Company looks forward to resuming operations,” the release said, adding that the company will retain the 13 full-time employees who currently work there and plans to hire more.
The Forest Service recently explored the possibility of conducting a land exchange with Crazy Mountain Ranch, which owns several sections of land inside the boundary of the Custer Gallatin National Forest. Last December, the agency decided not to move forward with the exchange, which would have swapped 1,305 acres of lower-elevation forest land for 1,920 acres of Crazy Mountain Ranch property at higher elevation. At the time, the Forest Service said it might take another run at an exchange in the future, given more time and consideration.
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