News from March 2017

    The Pride of Being a Guide

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    From Reside Foundation March 18, 2016 Words by Emerald LaFortune Photography by Nate Wilson, Aaron Beck and Tanner Haskins A serious nine year old boy is perched on the front of my boat. In one hand he grips a spinning rod, his other hand is clenched on a blue cam strap. We’ve just passed the confluence of the Snake River and the Salmon River. It feels like a symbolic spot, Idaho’s wildest river and it’s most domesticated meeting to shake hands. I almost speak up, ask this kid what he thinks these two rivers are trying to tell us. Then I remember he is nine and keep quiet. As the surging rapids of the confluence turn to glassy flat water, he turns to look me in the eye. “What’s your favorite animal, Emerald?” he questions. “Probably a river otter?” I reply, caught off guard. He studies me for a second. “That is a water animal. What is your favorite land animal?” “Um. Elephant.” I say. It’s the end of a long... Read More

  • 2016 Annual Report

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    MOGA had an outstanding year of accomplishments because of the tireless efforts of many fine members, and of course, our staff. We are pleased to be able to communicate with our members and friends all what MOGA has done throughout the year and our plans going into 2017. We hope you enjoy taking a look through the 2016 MOGA Annual Report. View the 2016 Annual Report

  • Outfitting and dude ranch big business in Montana

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    From The Great Falls Tribune March 6, 2017 It’s not unusual for tourism-related businesses to combine services, such as the dude ranch stays, pack trips and guided hunting trips offered by JJJ Wilderness Ranch out of Augusta, said Norma Nickerson, director of the Institute for Tourism & Recreation Research at the University of Montana. Providing a blend of related offerings, which all revolve at least partly on providing horses for riding and pack trips, “allows such businesses to be a little less seasonal,” she said. “They also get a different clientele in the summer enjoying dude ranch activities or scenic pack trips than those who might relish hunting trips in the fall.” Those sorts of services – dude ranches, pack trips and outfitter-guided hunts – are common throughout Montana and contribute a lot to state and local economies, Nickerson said. Overall Montana, a state of 1 million residents, experienced 12.3 million... Read More

  • Front outdoors experience wins over New Hampshire family

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    From The Great Falls Tribune March 6, 2017 New Hampshire farmer, businessman and educator Gray Cornwell is keen on the attractions of backcountry Montana and a big fan of the JJJ Wilderness Ranch and its owners Ernie and Kim Barker. Cornwell, now 53, first brought his wife Kitty and two daughters to spend a week at the Barkers’ dude ranch in 1990. “I wanted to give my family a western dude ranch experience, and did a lot of research,” he recalled. “It was in beautiful country and they provided an option in which my daughters could either participate with us in family horse trips or take separate, shorter kids’ trips. Our daughters loved it.” Read Full Story

  • Outfitting business: Dude ranch is a year round job

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    From The Great Falls Tribune March 6, 2017 Each year from June to late November Ernie and Kim Barker managing pack trips, arrange meals and dude ranch activities and serve customers’ needs and oversee staff at the scenic JJJ Wilderness Ranch west of Augusta. They hire and train seasonal employees in May and run both weekly dude ranch activities and regular horse pack trips into the Bob Marshall Wilderness – two complementary roles with overlapping schedules that are particularly busy from mid-June to early September. There are no days off for the Barkers, who plan and manage activities and pitch in as cooks, horse wranglers, fishing guides or a variety of other tasks as needed. Read the Full Story

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