historic crail ranch


Preservation of the Crail Ranch began in the late 1970s as a grassroots effort of a group of women and men from the rapidly growing Big Sky, Montana resort area. Naming themselves the Gallatin Canyon Historical Society, and affiliating with the larger Gallatin County Historical Society, they met during the early 1980s. Early members included Judy Onslow, Howard Alverson, Bob Donovan, Paula Halverson, Susie Weir, Oralee Alverson, and Nancy Cooke. Through their efforts, the buildings and grounds of this exemplary Montana homestead were added to the National Register of Historic Places.

To continue the work of this early group, the Historic Crail Ranch Conservators were established in 2006 as a committee of the Big Sky Community Organization, an IRS 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation. See our list of Donors below.

The mission of the Historic Crail Ranch Conservators is to develop an awareness and appreciation for the Crail Ranch, to preserve and maintain it as a heritage property, and to promote it as an educational resource of the Big Sky community, Gallatin County, the State of Montana, and the Great American West.


Anne Marie Mistretta

Meet Anne

Anne Marie Mistretta, HCRC Chair, has been active with Crail Ranch preservation since 2003. Anne Marie retired from Big Sky’s school district, where as the Superintendent/Principal, she was instrumental in expanding the district to include Lone Peak High School. Anne Marie and husband Jerry raised 4 children, and have 6 grandchildren. Full time Big Sky residents, they volunteer with several local non-profit initiatives.  Anne Marie enjoys fishing and skiing.

Al Lockwood – Emeritus

Meet Al

Al Lockwood and his wife, Jane, came to Big Sky in the summer of 2003 to get away from the heat in Tucson, AZ their hometown.  Al had a grassroots interest in local history wherever he happened to be living. In Tucson, he was a docent at the Arizona Historical Society museum for many years, and he developed the first docent program for the 300-year-old San Xavier Mission on the Tohono O’odham reservation near town. In Big Sky, Al signed on as a docent at the Crail Ranch in 2006 and was elected first chairperson of the Historic Crail Ranch Conservators when they were formally chartered in 2007. In his five years as chairperson, Al worked to make the Crail Ranch a self-sustaining, accessible, and enduring educational resource for the Big Sky community. 

Margaret Leeper

Meet Margaret

Margaret Leeper lived in Fairfax County, Virginia for 40 years where she taught elementary school and served as a Reading Specialist.  She and her husband John bought a condo in Big sky in 1990 and thus became seasonal visitors for many years.A home purchased in Bozeman brought them back to Montana on a permanent basis.. After living there for 10 years, they bought a home in Big Sky and one in Englewood, Florida allowing them to enjoy both wonderful places.Two sons, their wives and two grandchildren live on the east coast. Margaret likes skiing, hiking golf, tennis, camping and learning about early life in the Gallatin Canyon.

Sarah Peterson

Meet Sarah

Sarah Peterson fell in love with Big Sky in 1973 while vacationing in MT with her husband Marv and their two daughters. She’s returned every year to enjoy skiing and hiking and other winter and summer outdoor activities.  After teaching middle school U.S. history and language arts for four decades in Ann Arbor, MI and Watsonville, CA, she and Marv retired and began spending winters and summers in Big Sky. She became a docent at the Crail Ranch several years ago and has found working at the ranch a wonderful way to continue to learn and teach history to the many summer visitors who find the story of the Crail family and other homesteaders in the Gallatin Canyon intriguing.

Carol Thoresen

Meet Carol

Carol Thoresen retired from MSU Bozeman as a science educator. Her 40 year career included over 20 years as a chemistry instructor, followed by work on a series of NSF grants, and 10 years as director of the innovative Master In Science and Science Education (MSSE) program.  She recently moved to Big Sky where she enjoys hiking and skiing.

2020 Donors

Shelley Bermont & Clay Lorinsky
Big Sky Conoco
JoDean & Doug Bing
Phyllis & William Breeden
Douglas & Susan Brengle
Roger & Carolynn Brislawn
Mary Ann Comstock
Audrae Coury
Patricia Doherty
Bill & Becky Finnegan
Marianne & David Gasser
Mary Grundman
Christl Gump
W.R. & Jamie Hamm
John & Joan Heimsch
Michael & Suzanne Hennessy
Wayne & Marilyn Hill
Grant & Fern Hilton
Marilyn & B.W. Perk Hoecker
Susan Homer Loudenslager
Dave & Kathryn House
Scott & Martha Johnson
Jim Jones
Steven & Carolyn Jones
Edward Kenwood
Robert & Patricia Kimmel
Lisa Knorr

Rene Kraus & Frank SUmmers
Ronald & Nancy Kurz
Janet Lampe
Darius & Cynthia Larsen
Wayne & Flora Lee
John & Margaret Leeper
Al & Jane Lockwood
John & Patricia Loomis
Linda Meade & John Luechtefeld
Jerry & Anne Marie Mistretta
Duncan & Eva Patten
Artem & Kimberly Pechischev
Marvin & Sarah Peterson
Steve & Renae Schumacher
Kathleen Scott
Joel & Patty Scrafford
Jeff & Karen Strickler
Marisue & George Tallichet
Carol Thoresen
Denise & Dan Wade
Heather & Don Walker
Dewitt & Jane Ward
Ted & Kate Williams
Robin & John Willink
William & Patricia Wilson
Helene Wilson


The Buck and Helen Knight Foundation
The Glore Fund – Maude E. Glore
The Harold Sweatt Foundation – Bill & Jennifer Reed

Artifact Donors

Dave O’Connor
Michael Oshier
Chuck Schommer
Helene Wilson

Community Partners & Agencies

Big Sky Chamber
Big Sky Community Organization
Big Sky Owners Association
Big Sky Water and Sewer
Buck’s T-4
Crail Ranch Townhomes Owners Association
Durant Construction Company
Gallatin Canyon Women’s Club
Gallatin History Museum
Gallatin Invasive Species Alliance
Lone Mountain Ranch
Montana Supply Company
Warren Miller Performing Arts Center
Visit Big Sky

Docents, Gardeners, and Ranch Hands

Debbie Applebaum
Jennie Bibbins
Phyllis Breeden
Cassie Bucleigh
Jeannie Cohen
Patricia Doherty
Mel Emery
Phil Fluke
Andrew Garcia

Jamie Hamm
Rick Hamm
Cindy Larsen
Margaret Leeper
Al Lockwood
Betsy McFadden
Linda Meade
Jerry Mistretta
Anne Marie Mistretta

Abby Meredith
Linda Nell
Artem Pechischev
Sarah Peterson
Ruthi Solari
Carol Thoreson
Randy Vanhorn
Beth Vanhorn
Kate Williams

BSCO Public Trails

BSCO manages 23+ miles of trails that are all multi-use and multi-directional.

Info & Maps:

Multi-Seasonal Use

The majority of BSCO trails are open year-round, barring any temporary seasonal hazard closures.

= Groomed or plowed during the winter.

Note: Ungroomed / plowed trails are still open & get packed down by use.

BSCO Projects

We are always looking at opportunities to increase parklands and open spaces while further developing public recreation amenities.

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Big Sky Community Organization