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College of Forestry and Conservation

Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site

Contact Information:

Chris Ford, Resource Manager
Grant-Kohrs Ranch NHS
266 Warren Lane
Deer Lodge, Montana 59722
406 846-2070 x 242

Website

Research Needs

Technical Assistance

  • Development of a Bull Trout monitoring program. Bull trout are a threatened species known to inhabit the Clark Fork River. Grant-Kohrs Ranch NHS has approximately 2.5 miles of river through in which monitoring should occur.
  • Development of a livestock waste/nutrient management plan. Grant-Kohrs Ranch NHS is a working cattle ranch that has both point and non-point source pollution concerns. As part of the Tri-state Water Quality Council, and the Voluntary Nutrient Reduction Program subcommittee we have been working aggressively to address nutrient loading into the Clark Fork River (via surface and ground water). However, there is still much work to be done with management of the rest of the ranch.

Cultural Landscapes/Ranching Operations/Natural Resources

  • Cultural Landscape Report, Part II - Treatment
  • Staff needs to analyze the carrying capacity of the ranch under various land-use scenarios. This should be part of an overall use alternatives scenario influencing the maintained cultural landscape of the park.
  • Staff needs a better understanding of the relationship between the natural resources of the ranch and the history of human use of those resources.
  • Document change in fencing, gates: location and type.
  • Develop a ground water and surface water model to assist with the management in the Upper Clark Fork River watershed. Grant-Kohrs Ranch NHS (GRKO) as well as numerous land owners in the watershed depend upon water for their personal or professional existence. To date, waters are largely managed through individuals and small groups that do not necessarily have a larger watershed perspective. Although there are some grass roots movements to conserve water, the lack of an adequate model substantially limits our abilities to manage the resource and consequently protect the cultural landscape of GRKO, and trout habitat (e.g., the threatened bull trout) in the Clark Fork River and it's tributaries (i.e., the threatened westslope cutthroat trout).

History Research

  • Furnishings plan for the Warren-era buildings.
  • Role of women, American Indians, and other minorities like African Americans, Chinese, and Hispanics in the history of Grant-Kohrs Ranch specifically, and the history of open-range cattle ranching in general.
  • Influence of cattlemen on the reduction of Indian reservations.
  • The “average worker” (ranch hands, townsfolk, cooks, common laborers, etc. and how their lives changed decade by decade during the active life of the ranch.
  • “Average” ranchers other than the “cattle barons” like Conrad Kohrs.
  • Progression of lifestyles of ranchers over time.
  • Larger economic structure of society over time, and how ranching interacted with and influenced other activities such as mining.
  • Historical importance of the Warren family operation of the ranch and the transition from open range ranching to contemporary cattle ranching.
  • Business history of the ranch.
  • Locate more information sources about local and regional history—and abstract these sources for easy use in interpretive training and professional development.
  • How the land was worked, with what tools and machines, using what techniques, etc.

Museum Collection

  • Develop Records Management Plan
  • The Regional Director would like the park to explore serving as a central curatorial facility for centrally managing ranching material culture collections for the Service. This concept would envision GRKO as a “Culture of Ranching Center.” This function is primarily envisioned as a central repository for records, rather than a storage center for objects.
  • Control of museum pests in exhibit areas – dermestid beetles, cluster flies
  • Correct museum record deficiencies: 1500 record data entered, photo-documentation of objects, correct numbering problems

Visitor Research

  • Staff needs to know how visitors currently find out about GRKO.
  • Staff needs to know who the visitors are: basic demographics and why they are interested in the site. This information is needed for on-site visitors and Web visitors.
  • Staff needs to know more about visitor expectations.
  • Staff needs to know the relationship between visitor expectation and satisfaction.
  • Staff needs to know more about how schools want to use this and similar sites, and how park educational efforts can tie more closely to school curricula.
  • Staff needs an analysis of the Kohrs ranch business records to provide accurate context for thematic interpretation of the ranching operation.

Outreach/Interpretation

  • Catalog records online
  • Historic photographs on line in some sort of meaningful order
  • History of Grant-Kohrs Ranch book for sale in VC

Library

  • The staff needs to survey the current collection and identify and acquire new research and reference materials related to the ranch and its resources.
  • A better job needs to be done to ensure that new park studies are incorporated into the park library.
  • Library materials need to be reviewed to identify rare books; those need to be transferred to the museum collection and stored accordingly.

Image collection

  • Staff needs to review images, eliminate useless images, and digitize and/or duplicate remaining master images to facilitate cataloguing and proper use.
  • The current finding aid for images (a flat-file database on dBase) is not easy to use. Staff needs to transfer this information to a database using Microsoft Access or the next generation NPS standard database software.

Preservation Maintenance