Guests and employees of 85-year-old Triangle X Ranch keep coming back.
By Findley Merritt, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
June 29, 2011This is the 35th year Jim Luebbers and Agnes Bourne have come to Triangle X Ranch. They nestle together on a log bench surrounding a campfire, awaiting the clang of the wrought-iron triangle that signals dinner is ready.
As a sliver of dimming light illuminates their faces, Bourne’s eyes shift from the wranglers to her granddaughter playing with an insect on a blade of grass nearby, towering Tetons behind her. “This is what it’s about,” she says, pointing. “The magic of a place like this.” For 85 years, folks like Luebbers and Bourne have come to Triangle X to get a taste of that magic, feeling nature’s uninhibited pulse flowing through them. While other ranches have shuddered at the first wisp of a hard economic wind, Triangle X has remained steadfast, cultivating a devoted staff and guest community where second and third generations return to work or vacation. The Turner family has always been the face of the ranch, beginning when John S. Turner, wife Maytie Turner and sons John C. and Bert bought the property in 1926 after a series of summer visits sparked a love affair with the area. The property was never intended to be a guest ranch. John S. Turner wanted to show the surrounding homesteaders how to raise potatoes, but the frost killed his plans for a budding industry. Luckily, the ranch’s strategic and desirable location served as a perfect resting place for weary travelers and hunters, fully morphing into a guest ranch when Turner began renting the cabins in 1926.
In the late 1920s, the Turners sold the Triangle X land to Rockefeller’s Snake River Land Company. The ranch became part of Grand Teton National Park in 1950. All through those years, the Turners have continued operating the dude ranch, for the past 61 years as an authorized national park concession. Turner hospitality is legendary. (read more)