Behind the Green is all about giving you more insight into the places we feature. Our interviews reveal what happens behind the scenes, tells stories of the people on the ground, exposes the challenges they face, as well as the communities they impact; essentially the bits you don’t usually hear.
Meet Shelby and her husband Trey, owners at Flat Creek Ranch. Shelby is an adventure seeker, whether it is teaching skiing or doing a tonne of horse riding she lives for travel and the great outdoors. She has a 7-year old daughter and 17 horses which keeps her on her toes!
Learn more about Flat Creek Ranch here >
How did you discover Flat Creek and decide upon running a business here?“My husband is from Jackson originally, he was born there so he knew of the area. Back then we were working at a fly fishing lodge. There were some people staying there who said they had friends who were looking for someone to run the lodges at Flat Creek Ranch. The previous owners retired back in 2013 and we took over the lodge fully at that point. We have been here for 16 years now and still love it”.
When an eco-traveller arrives at Flat Creek Ranch how do you make it feel different to any other lodge?“When a guest arrives we do an orientation about our conservation projects, how we are working to protect the area for generations to come, our wood fired sauna etc. This helps to make guests feel part of the sustainable efforts and engage with our green approach. Our staff are knowledgeable on the history of the ranch and our eco policies, so this makes a difference. Before guests even arrive here they are aware via an email of our sustainable approach and projects which we support”.
What is the best eco-activity for guests to engage with whilst there?“We have horse back riding and fantastic hiking for guests to enjoy. This ‘foot and hoof’ option is perfect for people to be immersed in the wilderness. We often find guests enjoy the horse riding even more so, as people have the opportunity to look up more and appreciate their surroundings. It is not uncommon for guests to say ‘I couldn’t take my eyes off it”. The fact we have no wifi helps people to unplug and have the opportunity to reconnect with nature”.
Where is the biggest areas for improvement in your eco-approach?“We have a fleet of 12 vehicles in which we transport guests. We would love all the vehicles here to be electric! However, the type of vehicle we require to be able to cope with the terrain we have is not currently available on the market in electric. As soon as it is we will be looking to migrate away. This is where we see a key area for improvement”
Can you share one of your key challenges at Flat Creek Ranch?“In 2001 when Flat Creek Ranch was first opened up to the public the whole concept was to share and influence people to have a deeper respect for nature. We cannot grow in size here, we cannot add more cabins. This is a challenge in a sense as we would love to share this incredible place with more people. Seasonally we only open 4 months of the year, so this is limiting and unique. You wouldn’t want to be here in the cold of November!”.
What is the highlight of running Flat Creek Ranch?“The coolest part for me is the buildings. Built in 1920 they have been restored to a comfortable, modern state. Solar panels were installed to provide power. The amazing combination of our eco approach and these authentic buildings of nearly 100 years old is special. We get to be part of continuing their history in this pristine place. Nothing much has changed here since the first people laid their eyes on the area and that is unique”.
What’s next for Flat Creek Ranch?“We offer 3, 4 and 7 night stays. We are going to focus on encouraging 7 night stays moving forward. This is not a commercially focused decision. This is to encourage guests to unplug when they are here.
Over the 16 years we know what happens when guests come to Flat Creek Ranch, we see it! What happens to people on day 5 doesn’t happen on day 3. When people stay a week we see something special happen. The first few days are activity focused, people often ask now what? Around day 5-6 we see a bewildered look on some guests faces. The sense of urgency to complete activities falls away, the sense of missing out disappears. They just stop and enjoy the moment of being”.
Find out more about Flat Creek Ranch & do your own green checks here >