For seven weeks each summer, Elk Creek Ranch plays host to several dozen teenagers and descendents of the ranch's founding family, the Ridgway's. But there's always been talk about finding ways to do more with the ranch land, located less than an hour outside Cody, Wyoming.
"A lot of the family is involved in education in our regular jobs,"says Tina Moore, granddaughter of the ranch founders. "I've always thought this would be a great place to bring in English, history and science teachers during the fall, winter and spring. I'd love to run week-long programs with teachers and students learning in this great environment."
Moore envisions history teachers studying the old Nez Pearce route that came through the surrounding area; English students reading classic westerns and stories of survival on the American frontier; and science teachers working with students to study the area's geology.
"Of course, we'd have to do a lot of winterizing in the cabins to make something like that happen,"she admits. "The other issue is that we all have winter jobs, and we think it's important that the family is running the show here."
So for now, the ranch will simply play host to the horse herd and several caretakers in the non-summer months. But with 50 years of history to build on, there's no telling what the future holds for Elk Creek Ranch.
For more on Elk Creek Ranch, see the February 2007 issue of Western Horseman