MYSTERY RANCH 2023 Giving Impact

Published 2023-12-19

At MYSTERY RANCH, our commitment to giving back extends beyond mere words—we believe in tangible impact. As we reflect on the strides made in 2023, this summary encapsulates the profound outcomes our support has facilitated for the nonprofits we proudly champion.

Like the warp and weft interwoven to create fabrics, MYSTERY RANCH and the organizations we support have overlapping values and missions that when brought together, create an object of strength and dependence on one another. From communities to causes close to our hearts, we’ve actively contributed to the real work, fighting alongside organizations who – in our humble opinion – genuinely deserve support. This overview serves as a testament to the collective strength forged through shared values, creating a positive ripple effect in the world.



Mental Health

Pararescue Foundation

How did MYSTERY RANCH help you make a difference this year?

The Pararescue Foundation is immensely grateful for the opportunity to work with MYSTERY RANCH in the support of our most critical Resiliency Program. Specifically, MYSTERY RANCH helped to enable the Foundation to bring together a group of twelve U.S. Air Force Pararescue veterans to engage with the Upper Canyon Ranch’s Got Your Six Horsemanship Program in Montana. This program embodies the Foundation’s vision to provide relief from the physical and psychological demands of service in a Montana setting that is every bit as beautiful as you can imagine. Weaving together the support of MYSTERY RANCH, the valiant Pararescuemen of U.S. Air Force, and the blessings of the Upper Canyon Ranch was an epic experience for us all! We embody and will forever appreciate the unique warp and weft of MYSTERY RANCH.

Learn more about the Pararescue Foundation here.

Warriors and Quiet Waters

How did MYSTERY RANCH help you make a difference this year?

Our partnership with MYSTERY RANCH helped bring significant milestones and positive outcomes for Warriors and Quiet Waters in 2023. We saw 26 weeks of impactful in-person events, complemented by over 50 virtual and in-person guided discussions. The organization successfully hosted seven initial fishing experiences for Built for More, specifically designed for over 40 first-time Warriors. The program also included three “Hunt for Purpose” experiences, with a noteworthy inclusion of the first two women hunting Warriors. Five capstone hunting and fishing experiences, each with a cohort of six Warriors, further enriched the offerings. We ended the year with over 300 participant experiences.

The mid-year 2023 report from the third-party program evaluator, IVMF, revealed promising outcomes for WQW, Utilizing the Brief Inventory of Thriving (BIT) Scale, participants initially scored below the mean for the general population. However, after attending the Initial Fishing Experience and entering the discovery phase of Built for More, their BIT scores surpassed the average for the general population. A similar positive trend was seen in the Brief Measure of Purpose in Life Scale, as participants transitioned from below the general population mean to above it after embarking on the discovery phase of Built for More. These results underscore the program’s effectiveness in enhancing psychological well-being and instilling a sense of purpose in the lives of its participants.

“The 2023 Hunt For Purpose program began with an in-depth tour and demonstration by the dedicated team at MYSTERY RANCH, unveiling the craft behind their backpacks. Each Warrior received a customized pack designed specifically for a challenging backcountry archery elk hunt. Throughout the season, these Warriors trained with their custom packs, highlighting the crucial role of high-quality gear in our WQW programming. With a focus on longevity, the MR backpacks promise long-lasting support for our Warriors, creating positive impact and memories. WQW Warriors are proud to wear MYSTERY RANCH’s comfortable and rugged packs, and we are grateful for their friendship and support.”
-Jesse LeNeve, WQW’s Director of Program Operations

Learn more about Warriors and Quiet Waters here.



Youth Empowerment and Education

The Station Foundation

How did MYSTERY RANCH help you make a difference this year?

“I’ve been very fortunate to work with MYSTERY RANCH in both combat and at home, and it is a special experience to know that the world class packs MYSTERY RANCH creates are here waiting for me when I return. The partnership The Station enjoys with MYSTERY RANCH is more than just bags. It truly is about wonderful people sharing their gifts to make the world a better place. For over ten years, the family at MYSTERY RANCH has quietly shown up to be true friends and teammates to The Station, helping the Special Operations Community deal with the chronic impacts of war. Their support and love touch every single program we offer, and every single person that participates in these programs. From backcountry excursions to hikes honoring our Fallen SOF, MYSTERY RANCH has literally been there to help shoulder the weight of healing, of coming home from war, and the very slow process of putting down the things that no longer serve us. I cannot think of a better partner than one who shows up early and stays until everyone is home. That is MYSTERY RANCH. Most of all — MYSTERY RANCH asks for NOTHING in return. They give without attention or spotlighting. They give freely and lovingly. They give because they want to help and be part of something meaningful. Their values and ethos are the same as the people they support in the Special Operations Community. We are deeply grateful for the love, support, and people that make MYSTERY RANCH such a special place to call home.”
-Kevin Stacy, The Station Foundation Executive Director

Participant Testimonies

“The Station is an intentional space created for Warriors and their families. The Station has helped me bring healing to myself, to reconnect with my family, to mourn my friends with honor and grace. Through activities and relationships, I experienced at The Station, I was able to look inward and begin the process of healing mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The space at The Station is a sacred manifestation of the Warrior Spirit that lies within us all. A place where we can stop the stress of what we “should” be doing and just “be”. It is a true journey home.”
-USASOC Service Member, The Return Program

“If you feel lost, burdened, unknowingly grieving, and uncertain as I was when you leave the military behind and move into the future, The Station is for you. The Station allowed me to step back into who I was prior to picking up some of the burdens life, not necessarily the military, had left on me. In the weeks and months afterwards, I was able to see clearly, be present and sharp in mind, forgive, and accept loss in ways that I don’t think would have been possible without the Station.”
-NSW Service Member, The Transition Program

“We are all so grateful to have been a part of this program. Each of the boys has benefited from their time in Montana and relationships with all of the people at The Station as well as their mentors each year. The amount of personal attention and support that this foundation pours into children of the fallen is awe inspiring. The boys have been challenged to push past limitations and gained a greater sense of connection and community. They’ve enjoyed their time in beautiful Montana where they were able to learn hiking and survival skills while learning more about their father and others like him. They participate and observe in healthy emotional sharing, which is so powerful, and have so much fun with their peers and build relationships that last long after the summer.”
-Gold Star Spouse, The Crossing Program

Learn more about The Station Foundation here.

One Montana’s Master Hunter Program

How did MYSTERY RANCH help you make a difference this year?

Support from MYSTERY RANCH ensures that the Master Hunter Program is available to anyone who wishes to participate and supports the future of hunting in Montana. MYSTERY RANCH is specifically helping to create equity and access to the Master Hunter Program by providing scholarship funding that enables a greater number of people to participate who may not have the means to pay the full tuition.

In 2023, the Master Hunter program celebrated the graduation of 78 new members, reaching a significant milestone as the community of Master Hunters expanded to 371 individuals. The program achieved an impressive pass rate of 97.4%, highlighting the success of its graduates. Demonstrating a commitment to inclusivity, 15% of participants were women, surpassing the national average of 10%, with ongoing efforts to increase this representation annually.

An encouraging outcome emerged as over 88% of the 2023 graduates expressed a desire to become Hunter Education Instructors and mentors. Currently, 20% of all program graduates have embraced this role, contributing to the education and mentorship of future hunters.

Beyond academic achievements, the Master Hunter community actively participated in 23 on-ranch service projects in 2023. These initiatives not only educated Master Hunters about the vital role of private land stewardship in wildlife conservation but also demonstrated the program’s commitment to community service. Impressively, over 70 Master Hunters dedicated a collective 600+ hours of volunteer service, exemplifying the program’s values of environmental stewardship and community engagement.

Participant Testimony

“The Master Hunter Program has changed my hunting practice and understanding in too many ways to count; most importantly, though it has introduced me to new friends, as well as changed my thinking with landowner stewardship and their management of wildlife resources.”
-John How, MHP 2021

Learn more about One Montana’s Master Hunter Program here.

Montana Wilderness School

How did MYSTERY RANCH help you make a difference this year?

With the help of our partners like MYSTERY RANCH we succeeded in running 17 courses, serving 158 students, and providing more than $115,000 in financial assistance for under-resourced youth. As we read the student and parent evaluations, we are delighted to see another year of resoundingly positive feedback, which solidifies our belief that these experiences are constructive, impactful, and provide essential opportunities for personal growth. Planning for 2024, we remain laser-focused on our commitment to make MWS more diverse, inclusive, and equitable, and to improve enrollment particularly in underserved urban, rural, and Native communities around Montana. As we reflect on three seasons of enormous pandemic-fueled growth, we also look forward to a stabilizing year in which we expand our program in a more calculated way to maintain its high quality.

“MYSTERY RANCH was the first organization to support Montana Wilderness School’s equipment and gear needs, and they have done so every year since. In 2023, they helped us ensure that 158 students were properly outfitted for backcountry travel, and we are so grateful!”
-Martha Sellers, MWS Executive Director

Learn more about Montana Wilderness School here.




The Zion Forever Project

How did MYSTERY RANCH help you make a difference this year?

During the Week For Zion community celebration, MYSTERY RANCH played a pivotal role by sponsoring the live music performance by Lisa Mac. Their generous contribution added a vibrant and dynamic element to the event and significantly contributed to the celebration’s success. Thanks to MYSYERY RANCH’s support, the atmosphere was lively and engaging, fostering a sense of community spirit. Importantly, their sponsorship helped raise over $10,000 in donations, which will be directed towards crucial programs and projects aimed at preserving and enhancing Zion National Park. This collaborative effort exemplifies the positive impact that corporate partnerships can have on community events and underscores MYSTERY RANCH’s commitment to supporting our National Parks.

Learn more about The Zion Forever Project here.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers

How did MYSTERY RANCH help you make a difference this year?

MYSTERY RANCH’s financial contribution to Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) has been instrumental in advancing our mission to serve as the voice for our wild public lands, waters, and wildlife. Their ongoing support is essential to our ability to engage in hands-on stewardship activities and mobilize volunteers for the betterment of public lands. This enduring partnership empowers us to advocate passionately for the preservation of all that is dear to us. Notably, MYSTERY RANCH’s products played a crucial role in 10 different national and regional events, where our volunteers and state chapters successfully raised funds for local projects.

Furthermore, MYSTERY RANCH demonstrated its commitment to conservation by supporting the Montana Chapter of BHA through product contributions to the Mt State Mule Deer Lottery sweepstakes, extending from the current year into 2024 for the 2024 Super Tag Drawing. Their generosity extended to the financial sponsorship of Brewfest at the 2023 Rendezvous, further solidifying their dedication to our cause.

We express our heartfelt gratitude to MYSTERY RANCH for their unwavering support and for showcasing our stewardship work on their social media channels. Since this feature, our dedicated volunteers have removed over 20 miles of fencing in Colorado, with the participation of more than 300 volunteers in these efforts. This achievement has been pivotal in securing a significant grant from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to expand our habitat restoration initiatives through fence removals and modifications, transitioning to wildlife-friendlier fencing, spanning the American West over the next five years. 2023 is marked by many accomplishments and celebrations, made possible through the invaluable collaboration with MYSTERY RANCH.

Learn more about Backcountry Hunters & Anglers here.

Gallatin Valley Land Trust

How did MYSTERY RANCH help you make a difference this year?

GVLT is community. Everything we accomplished this year is because of the community that puts their dollars where their values are. And MYSTERY RANCH is one of those businesses that walks the talk. Because their employees work and play in this landscape, they invest in GVLT’s mission to protect it for the future. We’re so proud to have them as a partner in our mission of trails and conservation.

In a concerted effort, we successfully conserved 13,309 acres of picturesque working lands and vital wildlife habitat, establishing partnerships with landowners across Gallatin and Park Counties. A significant milestone was the inception of a tailored conservation program concentrated on Park County and Paradise Valley, the entry point to our nation’s inaugural national park and a habitat for some of the most imperiled and iconic wildlife in the nation. Aiming to enhance outdoor experiences, we undertook the enhancement of the Drinking Horse Mountain Trail, managing a daily influx of 500 visitors during the summer. Our commitment to fostering responsible outdoor recreation manifested through initiatives such as the Outside Kind Alliance and Hike Kind Campaign, complemented by the deployment of 32 Trail Ambassadors on local trails. Furthermore, we contributed to the community’s accessibility with the installation of scenic overlooks, creation of new trails, and improvement of existing ones, ensuring inclusivity for individuals of all abilities at the expanded Peets Hill/Burke Park in Bozeman.

Learn more about Gallatin Valley Land Trust here.

The Access Fund

How did MYSTERY RANCH help you make a difference this year?

Thank you, MYSTERY RANCH, for supporting Access Fund’s conservation and stewardship work. Our 2023 season launched in February when Access Fund’s dedicated Conservation Teams embarked on a 10-month journey of living and working on the move. They traveled across the country, bringing their tools and expertise to local climbing communities. Along the way, they helped climbers manage their environmental impacts so that climbing landscapes can thrive.

Collaborating closely with Local Climbing Organizations, the Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps, corporate partners, collegiate groups, volunteers, and various conservation organizations, the Conservation Teams executed projects at nearly a dozen climbing areas across the country. The teams orchestrated Adopt a Crag volunteer days at each location, building 9,500 feet of new trail and refurbishing an additional 2,277. They also closed 3,763 feet of unsanctioned social trails, leaving these areas for restoration. Over the course of the work season, the team moved 792 tons of rock and built 374 stairs. The list of areas visited during this transformative year include the rugged Linville Gorge, North Carolina; Homestead and Baboquivari, Arizona; Indian Creek, Utah; Fitzgerald Crag, Arkansas; Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah; Muir Valley, Kentucky; Lovers Leap, California; Rumney, New Hampshire; the New River Gorge, West Virginia; the Red River Gorge, Kentucky; and the Thumb Open Space, Colorado

In March 2023, our Climber Stewards took their posts at two of America’s most popular climbing destinations: Indian Creek, Utah and the New River Gorge in West Virginia. In September 2023, through the support of partners like MYSTERY RANCH, we added a brand-new team at the Red River Gorge, Kentucky to educate visitors about stewardship and conservation. Working with the Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition and volunteer teams, they were able to install sustainable climbing infrastructure, fix eroding access trails and base areas, and mitigate climber impacts. All told, the Access Fund Climber Stewards gave out 2,358 cups of coffee, hosted 121 “Crag Chats” to meet climbers at climbing walls, and hosts Q+A sessions with the community, and were able to connect with 8,401 individual climbers across the three destinations.

Thank you, MYSTERY RANCH, for helping protect and conserve the climbing environment. This work is only possible thanks to support from partners like you.

Learn more about The Access Fund here.




Business for Montana’s Outdoors

How did MYSTERY RANCH help you make a difference this year?

MYSTERY RANCH has supported Business for Montana’s Outdoors since its inception over a decade ago. Having the leverage of businesses like MYSTERY RANCH, with a reputation steeped in Montana values, and one that values their product and their impact in equal ways is invaluable to our work. MYSTERY RANCH rises to every occasion, adding their name and their perspective to any opportunity that brings awareness to why protecting Montana’s outdoors will make a difference to our communities, our businesses, and our outdoor way of life. MYSTERY RANCH helps us make a difference because they know the value of our landscapes and the importance of protecting them by raising awareness and creating communities and generations of good stewards of the outdoors.

Business for Montana’s Outdoors’ mission lies in raising awareness about the value of Montana’s outdoors, and putting anecdotal stories together with real impacts of how advocacy helps move the needle for our treasured outdoor spaces, and Montana way of life. To do that, we engage businesses, and we rely on their voices to help make a difference.

We believe the business voice matters, and that it helps solidify what we know: that our outdoors supports a roughly $3 billion economy and nearly 30,000 jobs. Our businesses tell their own stories and use their voices to advocate for strong, healthy, and accessible public lands, and an outdoor economy that supports business and communities statewide.

In 2023, we were instrumental in helping move Senator Tester’s Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act forward, advancing the proposed legislation further than it has ever gone, and getting it even closer to adding nearly 80,000 acres of wilderness to the Bob Marshall, Scapegoat, and Mission Mountains Wilderness Areas, preserve recreation access and bolster the local outdoor recreation economy near Ovando.

We helped advocate for the acquisition of new public lands along the lower Yellowstone River, with the North Wildcat Coulee Wildlife Management Area officially approved by the Montana Land Board in November, allowing for new recreational access and opportunities for the communities near Forsyth.

We submitted dozens of publicity pieces, advocating for the protection of wilderness protections, pushing back against antiquated oil and gas leasing systems, and supporting forest management work like the Gallatin Forest Partnership. We added almost 25 new businesses to our membership and expanded our reach through public opportunities like that at the Outdoor Recreation Summit in Butte.

Learn more about Business for Montana’s Outdoors here.