The Van Trump Report

First of Its Kind “Ranch Retreat” Hits the Market

Outside Bozeman, Montana, a ranch spanning 320 acres is hitting the market for $13.95 million! The property, called Windcall Ranch, was purchased in 1986 by the late philanthropists Albert and Susan Wells for about $600,000. From what I understand Wells saw a need to help non-profit leaders sustain their vision while maintaining a life balance and resilience. As lifelong activists and philanthropists, Albert and Susan Wells launched an experiment shortly after their purchase by converting their small Montana ranch into a place where community activists and business leaders could address their symptoms of burnout, restore their energy and creativity, and return to their jobs with fresh hope and commitment.

We all know that work burnout and depression are real struggles for many people. The Wells found their ranch so relaxing and therapeutic that they thought others might need a place where they could go to step back and catch their breath – a place where they could stretch out and see the far horizon…

Since 1989, the Windcall Ranch Program has been a place of retreat, renewal, and re-sparking for people who are feeling overwhelmed in their daily grind. As you can imagine, this was a novel idea back in the late-1980s, and many argue the first ranch retreat of its kind. I suspect many of today’s Midwestern farms could also serve a similar purpose for those who are burned out from the urban hustle and bustle. 

I should note, Albert Wells was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1934 and grew up surrounded by the town of immigrants built to support his family’s business, the American Optical Company. After purchasing and spending some time at the Montana Ranch they felt the peaceful transformation.  

The Wells’ then decided to offer free residential stays on the Montana property for four people at a time, with horseback riding, and an arts program among other offerings, and no requirements other than if they wanted dinner, they had to show up at 6 p.m. I’m told there’s actually a book about the Wells’ project called “In Changing Course: Windcall and the Art of Renewal,” where Susan Wells narrates the couple’s journey as they grew Windcall into a highly respected and wildly successful endeavor. Now they have “Windcall Retreats” in many locations. 

Aside from offering a history of the project, the book serves as a practical guide, not only for other nonprofit leaders who can learn from Windcall’s unique model but for anyone who has ever experienced the debilitating effects of burnout. 

Windcall Ranch is nestled among the lush meadows of the rugged Bridger Mountains, with Ross Peak serving as the backdrop and when the property was purchased in 1986, all that was there was a bumpy, unpaved road and one barn that dated back to around 1913. The family quickly restored the barn and used it to host family weddings and dances. They then added a four-bedroom, roughly 3,500-square-foot main house, two guesthouses and a three-bedroom caretaker’s cottage. 

Settled in the late 1800s, the community of Springhill became a center of commerce and activity based on the plentiful resources surrounding the area. The rich agricultural land, moderate weather, and abundant water allowed families to establish the area’s first flour mill, lumber mill, brewery, a shingle factory, and numerous stores. As nearby Bozeman grew, Springhill lost its importance as a commerce center yet maintained its independence and sense of community. Sighting wildlife on the Windcall Ranch is a regular occurrence as elk, deer, black bear, mountain lion, upland birds, and raptors enhance the surrounding views. I’m told that being in Montana hunting district 312, Windcall Ranch requires a special permit drawing for trophy mule deer. 

I continue to find the multi-uses of farms and ranches very intriguing. If you are willing to get creative and think outside the box there are many different purposes and revenue channels that can be created and helpful to others. Great Stuff! #bullishfarmground (Source:,,

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