Did you know that for nearly a century, San Antonio was the largest city on the western frontier? Or that Texas is the only state to have farm to market roads? Our recent visit to the Witte Museum's Robert J. and Helen C. Kleberg South Texas Heritage Center immersed us in the culture and history of ranching in South Texas.
In Montana, Montana State University Extension is leading the charge to identify and preserve the heritage orchards that still exist through their Montana Heritage Orchard Program. The designation of Heritage Orchard gives landowners recognition, and helps preserve and propagate the unique fruit tree cultivars.
This summer we had the opportunity to tour one of Montana's Heritage Orchards. The Yellowstone Springs Ranch orchard is currently undergoing the process of genetic testing to determine and catalog the exact cultivars of trees.
The large task of preserving heritage and conserving natural resources across the American West takes multi-faceted and concentrated efforts. The private sector serves as an important partner in the collective work to achieve the preservation and conservation outcomes in many individual communities and ecosystems. Though there are many businesses across the country that traditionally support these efforts, the beer industry in particular has continued to support restoration, preservation and conservation efforts in both interactive and innovative ways.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Chisholm Trail, the most famous cow path in history. In the late 1800s, approximately five million head of cattle were trailed from Texas right through Bell County, where our founder and leader Kelly Beevers grew up, to railheads in Kansas.
We work to preserve and utilize the distinctiveness of place in large part to honor and integrate heritage. In doing so we connect people and strengthen our communities. Though we are based in Montana, work largely in the Northern Rockies, and focus our efforts in the American West, Kelly's roots reach down to Central Texas.
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.