ESTES PARK — The Estes Chamber of Commerce will sponsor a community picnic Wednesday to mark the 150th anniversary of MacGregor Ranch.
“The MacGregor family ran this ranch for generations with a deep sense of pride for the tradition of ranching, which continues today thanks to the folks who preserve and maintain it as a working cattle ranch and a youth education center,” Colleen DePasquale, executive director of the Estes chamber, said in a prepared statement. “Now MacGregor Ranch offers a window into the past, to one of the earliest businesses in town that has such a significant impact on our community. We’re looking forward to supporting this anniversary, and 150 more years.”
The free event will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. at the ranch, 180 MacGregor Lane, and will feature live music from Chain Station and Lost Penny. The chamber will sponsor a children’s area, and The Taffy Shop will stage an old-time taffy pull. Attendees can bring their own picnic dinner or purchase fare from one of the food trucks that will be onsite. Dessert will be provided by MacGregor Ranch and You Need Pie! Diner and Bakery, and beer will be for sale from Lumpy Ridge Brewing Co., Avante Garde Aleworks and Rock Cut Brewery.
Port-a-potties and handwashing stations will also be available.
Established in 1873 by Alexander and Clara MacGregor, the ranch is the last remaining working cattle ranch in Estes Park. According to its website, “it is unique in that its historic collection and structures are original to the 1873 homestead family, and its collection is completely intact.”
The ranch remains in operation because Muriel MacGregor made provisions in her will requesting her ranch be left in trust for charitable and educational purposes. The Muriel L. MacGregor Charitable Trust was formed in 1978, and five years later, the Colorado Attorney General’s office, the National Park Service and ranch trustees worked to facilitate the purchase of a conservation easement on the main 1,200 acres of the ranch. The site is maintained in perpetuity as an example of turn-of-the-century, high-mountain ranching.
The original 1896 ranch house has been in operation as a museum since 1973. All three generations of MacGregors lived on the ranch; and the museum hosts more than 7,000 visitors annually, more than half of whom are school-aged children.
“Let this anniversary be a pledge by this community to safeguard the legacy entrusted to us, to ensure that the generations to come will also stand here, celebrating the achievements, memories and shared moments that make this ranch a cherished part of our history,” said former Estes Park Mayor Todd Jirsa, a ranch trustee.
Other organizations and businesses supporting the picnic include Visit Estes Park, the Estes Park Trail-Gazette, North End Property Owners Association, Estes Valley Library, EVICS Family Resource Center and YMCA of the Rockies.