Joe and Leslie Tripps' 15,000-acre parcel of land has been in the family for five generations. The husband and wife team controls the management and operations of the Bull Run Ranch, located on the Missouri River. Twenty-five miles southwest of Great Falls, Montana, and seven miles from the town of Cascade, Bull Run Guest Ranch has been a working cattle ranch for the last 100 years. Even today, 500-plus head of Black Angus are pastured there. But over the last several years, there's been a distinct shift in the management philosophy of what this Montana homestead can and should be about. It's the Tripps' belief that this pristine land can be managed in such a way that many different kinds of land-use needs can be met.
The Bull Run Guest Ranch is becoming much more than just the working guest ranch it's been for many years. Visitors from around the world come here to enjoy horseback riding, campfire cookouts, and, at certain times of the year, cattle drives, when the livestock is moved to and from the high mountain pastures.
About five years ago, however, Joe and Leslie began to look at additional ways to maximize the return on their land. Through careful planning and close coordination with Russ Ehnes, executive director of the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, the Tripps began cultivating this land for a different kind of market.
Using the existing livestock and game trails and carefully planning and contouring environmentally friendly new trails, they've created and groomed more than 100 miles of trails for ATV and motorcycle use, plus miles of roads where family SUVs and pickup trucks can be put into 4WD to have their mettle tested. In many cases, for those arriving at the Ranch in their SUV or pickup truck, this will be the first time the family transportation has left the pavement to do what it was designed to do. With its new trail system, this multiple-use ranch provides adventures and recreation for a wide variety of enthusiasts, including photographers, birdwatchers, fishermen, hunters, backpackers, naturalists, ATV and motorcycle enthusiasts, and those who simply want a true ranch experience.