Montana Grand Ranch Sold to Montana Resort Affiliate | Montana News
By JULIANA SUKUT, Daily Column of Bozeman
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) – A subsidiary of the company that owns the Yellowstone Club has purchased an 18,000-acre ranch at the foot of the Crazy Mountains east of Clyde Park and has said it has no plans to develop or modify the property.
The Lone Mountain Land Company announced the purchase of Crazy Mountain Ranch last week.
The company said in an announcement that it has no plans to develop any residential developments or a commercial heli-skiing operation on the property.
“Lone Mountain Land Company will continue to operate the cow-calf ranch operation and guest ranch,” said Sam Byrne, managing partner and co-founder of CrossHarbor Capital Partners in a statement.
“We look forward to working with our neighbors, the Clyde Park community and the Forest Service to be caring stewards of the land and good members of the community.”
The potential for residential developments and a heli-skiing operation raised some public concern ahead of the sale, Erica Lighthiser, deputy director of the Park County Environmental Council and a member of the Crazy Mountain Access Project, told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
This part of Park County is not zoned, Lighthiser said, leaving any future development to the sole discretion of the new owners.
“Especially with this group and their connection to CrossHarbor, the biggest concern is a major development at the foot of the Crazies,” Lighthiser said.
The property will be managed by CrossHarbor Capital Partners’ subsidiary, Lone Mountain Land Company, which is based in Big Sky and manages several resorts there.
CrossHarbor is a Boston-based real estate investment firm that owns the Yellowstone Club and co-owns Moonlight Basin, Spanish Peaks Mountain Club and Montage Big Sky, an ultra-luxury resort that will open in Big Sky in December.
Crazy Mountain Ranch, known locally as Marlboro Ranch, was previously owned by tobacco company Phillip Morris USA, Inc. The tobacco company operated it for about two decades as a commercial ranch for adult smokers.
Over twenty buildings, the guest ranch included a lounge, event barn, spa, and hotel rooms.
In high season, the ranch can employ around 100 people.
“Due to COVID-19, the ranch has not employed most of the guest ranch employees, and Lone Mountain Land Company is eager to resume operations,” the press release said.
Lone Mountain has retained 13 full-time employees with plans to hire more staff, the statement said.
The ranch was recently in the public eye because of a controversial proposed land swap with the Forest Service.
Several sections of the ranch lands within the boundaries of the Custer Gallatin National Forest were to be exchanged for Forest Service Lowlands. But conservation and hunting groups have raised concerns that the forest service is abandoning elk habitat available to the public.
The exchange was withdrawn in December. At the time, the forest service said the deal was not necessarily dead and could consider swapping again.
A spokesperson for Lone Mountain declined to answer questions about whether the new owners plan to revive the land swap and whether there are any intentions to place conservation easements on the ranch. The spokesperson also declined to say how much CrossHarbor paid for the ranch.
Lighthiser said she was optimistic about the sale and that the change in ownership could open up new avenues for conservation.
“I feel encouraged. They had said they had no plans for heli-skiing or residential development – it was a good indication that they were listening to the concerns of the public, ”she said.
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