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TAYLOR FORK — About an hour drive up the bumpy Taylor Fork Road, a turnoff of Highway 191 south of Big Sky, will bring you to the Trapper’s Cabin Ranch — a 640-acre property that abuts the Lee Metcalf Wilderness and is surrounded by national forest land.

The ranch’s five cabins are time capsules to the late 1960s. In April, the ranch got new owners.

Crosscut Mountain Sports Center is starting some restoration work and seeking to create a plan for year-round outdoor programming on the ranch. The nonprofit that owns and maintains a Nordic ski area in Bridger Canyon purchased the ranch from the Martin family, longtime owners of the property.

The Martins had owned the property since the 1960s after purchasing it from Dr. Caroline McGill, a co-founder of the Museum of the Rockies. The family offered the property to Crosscut for $2.9 million despite the original listing price of $15 million. The money was raised by donors.

The property can sleep about 30 people. It’s surrounded by national forest, and all but 30-acres of the 640-acre ranch is under a conservation easement.

The organization is looking at some infrastructure improvements — like installing solar panels to power the ranch — but some of that is reliant on how much the nonprofit can fundraise, said Eric Love, the chair and founding board member, during a tour of the property on Wednesday.

“Those infrastructure improvements would allow for extended use in wintertime,” Love said. “Those are the things we’re wrestling with and trying to consider and some of that is predicated on how much we can raise in donor philanthropy.”

The target within the next year for those improvements would be to match the $2.9 million originally raised to purchase the property.

Some projects have already begun, like some basic fire mitigation work on the property. Programing won’t begin on the property until 2022 at the earliest, said Managing Director Angie Weikert.

In the meantime, the organization is seeking input from other local nonprofits and individuals on what kind of programming should take place at the ranch.

Weikert’s goal for future programs would be to continue conservation efforts on the ranch, include “place-based education,” be inclusive and accessible and be a community space.

“Our goal with programming is to connect different groups to this greater Yellowstone ecosystem,” Weikert said.

Weikert wants the space to be open for people who might not get to experience wilderness otherwise. That could include veterans, survivors of illnesses or traumas and at-risk youth.

While still tentative, Weikert thinks programming will be a blend of Crosscut services and facilitating programs from other local organizations.

“Hopefully a lot of experiences with fishing, hiking, backpacking, we might be able to do horses up here, it all depends on what that community listening brings forward,” Weikert said.

Weikert, the newly hired managing director, is working to create an advisory board to come up with a three- to five-year plan for the property, which would be presented to the Crosscut board.

“This will be a great place for first-time adventures in the wilderness,” she said.

Programming ideas for the Trapper’s Cabin Ranch property can be shared on Crosscut’s website: crosscutmt.org or by emailing Weikert at angie@crosscutmt.org.

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Juliana Sukut can be reached at 582-2630 or jsukut@dailychronicle.com

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