At Topos & Anthros, we believe that single properties belong to larger communities, ecosystems, and economies that extend far beyond land boundaries or bricks and mortar. We advocate that real estate and conservation work best in tandem, and that property can honor heritage and strengthen community.
Thankfully, we are not alone in our conviction. Our home of southwest Montana has a number of landowners who steward their properties with a similar community-driven mindset. Arthur Blank, owner of Mountain Sky and new owner of neighboring West Creek Ranch, is one such landowner.
Mountain Sky opened as a dude ranch in 1929. Mr. Blank bought the property in 2001 and continued the property's family-centric guest ranch legacy and cowboy heritage.
In addition to the resort ranch operations, Mountain Sky also serves as a generous philanthropic community party in southwest Montana. The associated The Mountain Sky Guest Ranch Fund exists to enhance the quality of life for the residents of Park and Gallatin Counties in Montana. In 2016, the Fund issued more than $470,000 in grants to Montana-based non-profit organizations. A full list of past recipients from 2013-2016 can be found here.
Earlier this month, Mr. Blank upped his investment in both land and the community by acquiring West Creek Ranch, a neighboring property to Mountain Sky. Last week, the Billings Gazette broke the news that Mr. Blank expanded his land holdings in Paradise Valley to include the 6,300 acre property, which borders the Yellowstone River and the Custer Gallatin National Forest. Both properties, West Creek Ranch and Mountain Sky, will continue to operate independently. According the press release, "the acquisition of West Creek Ranch expands Blank’s growing portfolio of businesses, and will also serve as an additional platform for The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation’s philanthropic work in the West. The Foundation will utilize the ranch to expand its scope and impact of meaningful philanthropic work focused on conservation of natural resources and wildlife habitat, as well as values-based leadership programming."
The Billings Gazette article gives greater insight into the future for West Creek Ranch and how it might work in tandem with Mountain Sky. As advocates for real estate as more than just an asset or investment, we are excited to see landowners like Mr. Blank leading the way in American West by using the distinctiveness of place to foster the connection of people and build community.