By Mary Minor Davis
Historic Ranch Celebrates 150 Years
This year, Tanque Verde Ranch is celebrating 150 years. The ranch has seen many exciting times since Don Emilio Castillo started ranching in 1868. One thing that has never changed is the ranch’s legacy to paying homage to the ranching lifestyle against the breathtaking backdrop of the Rincon Mountains.
Today, Tanque Verde boasts 640 acres and leases an additional 60,000 acres from the U.S. Forest Service for its cattle operation. Previously operated by a third party, current GM Terry Hanley said the ranch will bring that operation back in house.
Since the ranch first starting taking in guests in 1928, Hanley says activities and experiences have continued to evolve. While horses and horseback riding remains at the center of the ranching experience, Hanley credits Bob Cote with “making it more than just about the horses.
“He built the mountain biking program, including building a ramp so guests could jump their bikes into the pool,” he says. “Now we have biking, hiking, nature trails, a catch-and-release fishing lake, special programs on silversmithing, indigenous desert foods and so much more.”
On the local front, Hanley said they are working hard to remind residents that they are still here and plan to be for another 150 years. Local dining events including the Wednesday and Friday barbecues in the Cottonwood Grove with live music are drawing more locals.
“Food just tastes better when you’re outdoors,” he said.
Looking forward, Hanley says the ranch will continue to focus on the strong destination wedding market, for which it is well known. To support this growth, Tanque Verde broke ground in November for a 300-seat wedding barn. This follows the renovation of most of the rooms. They are also introducing “glamping” this winter, constructing high-end tents along the lake bank for those wanting a more glamorous outdoor camping experience.
“We’re seeing growth in our occupancy rates, growth in our local market and a greater interest in experiencing a variety of activities,” Hanley said. “We’ve been cyclically sound for 150 years and fully expect to be so in another 150 years.”