Have you ever wanted to learn more about the history of the Gros Ventre River Ranch? Well you are in luck! Ranch manager Tori McGough has complied a brief history—along with wonderful photographs—to share a bit more about our beloved ranch and how it has become the wonderful place that it is today!
The ranch had a brush with disaster in 1925 when a nearby mountain collapsed in a massive landslide. The town of Kelly, downriver from the Ranch, was nearly wiped out and even Jackson, 18 miles distant, had knee-deep mud in the streets. The slide formed a dam across the Gros Ventre River, creating Slide Lake. The slide path is still easily recognizable today at the eastern ridge of the ranch.
Previously run as a hunting camp in the early 1950’s, the property was purchased in 1958 by Roy and Becky Chambers. They restored the camp and opened the Flying V Guest Ranch in 1966. After 20 years in operation, Roy and Becky sold to Karl and Tina Weber, who continued with the tradition of guest ranching, opening the Gros Ventre River Ranch in 1987.
When Karl and Tina bought the Flying V in 1986 from Roy and Becky Chambers, they decided to give the ranch a “facelift.” Plans for a new horse barn, a new main lodge , and a few more guest accommodations were quickly put into action. The lodge placement took much thought, as Karl envisioned placing as many ranch buildings as he could where they couldn’t be seen from the main road. The main lodge was built along the Gros Ventre River, nestled in the Pines and Aspens, with a beautiful view of the Grand Teton in Grand Teton National Park. We love this building!
As the ranch began to “settle in” with its operation, Karl began to think of projects and additions. One of his ideas was to build a bridge (actually two) across the river so our guests could access the Forest, Wilderness, and Refuge. Karl’s vision was to provide as many opportunities for people to enjoy our natural surroundings as possible, and the “Karl’s Fork Bridge” and the “Wooden Bridge” have done just that!
Karl has always had a saying to describe things that aren’t quite perfect. He terms things as being “Wyoming Perfect.” Now this can apply to a table that is so slanted that you have to be careful not to fill your water glass too full for fear of it spilling to a beat up Ford Bronco that is rusted and dented and used as our airport shuttle for guests. He says– “it has character. It is Wyoming Perfect!”
This was the case with our old Maintenance Shed. In Karl’s eyes, it was Wyoming Perfect. However, some of our guests described it as an “eye sore.” Now, upon hearing this Karl got to thinking that maybe the shed did indeed need a little “facelift.” So, in 2001, we began construction on the New Maintenance Shop. Now we have a maintenance shop that is “Wyoming More Perfect.”
We pride ourselves in maintaining the wonderful traditions of the western culture and sharing our love for the ranching lifestyle with our guests, and preserving the history of the Gros Ventre River Ranch helps us do just that!