Hansen Ranch History

The Hansen Ranch is a beautiful agricultural meadow that lies between East and West Gros Ventre Buttes, with Spring Creek running through it and the Cathedral Group of the Tetons rising above. The easement-protected part of the ranch is the first 211 acres of the 1,500-acre ranch right off Highway 22, and was protected by the Hansen family and the Jackson Hole Land Trust in 2001 and 2006.  The conservation values of the property include the incredible scenic views of Spring Gulch and beyond, the ranching heritage of the land, and the important wildlife habitat and migration corridors it provides for elk, mule deer, moose, and a diversity of waterfowl, songbird, and raptor species.

 

We are happy to be able to share a few stories about the Hansen Ranch and Spring Gulch, courtesy of the TravelStorysGPS smartphone app, a free app that shares vivid and engaging stories about the landscape, geology, wildlife, and colorful history along Wyoming Highway 22 (another collaborative project of the Land Trust), and Lokey Lytjen, historian and former director of the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum.

 

Here’s the story from the Hansen Ranch GPS point on TravelStorysGPS:

 

As you leave the town of Jackson, notice the brief and dramatic view of the Teton Mountains on your right, framed between two steep hills. The small valley in the foreground is called Spring Gulch. Its ranches offer a glimpse back in time. Two long-time Jackson families, the Hansen and Mead family and the Lucas family, still ranch here. Wyoming Senator Clifford Hansen’s family moved to Spring Gulch in 1918 when he was six years old, after homesteading near what is now Teton Village. His grandson Matt Mead, who is now Governor of Wyoming grew up here, too.

 

Struthers Burt, a Princeton-educated Philadelphian and author, purchased land at the north end of Spring Gulch in 1924, the same year his famous book, The Diary of a Dude Wrangler, was published. Burt was a guest rancher or “dude” rancher, so called in the West. He co-owned the JY Ranch, Jackson Hole’s first dude ranch, and later started the famous Bar BC Dude Ranch in Grand Teton National Park. He used his Spring Gulch Ranch, the Lower Bar BC Ranch, for raising hay and running cattle.

 

Here are a few audio-stories that Lokey Lytjen contributed to the TravelStorysGPS app’s Share Your Story channel:

 

Peter and Silvia Hansen and the ranching life in Spring Gulch
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Cattle drives and cowboys in the early days of Jackson Hole
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What Highway 22 used to look like back in the day
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Spring Gulch Rancher Billy Redmond and his daughter
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I hope you take a moment to listen to these stories and imagine days gone by in Jackson Hole. Lokey is a wonderful storyteller! Many thanks to TravelStorysGPS and Lokey for sharing these stories with us.

-Leslie Steen

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