About Sunny M Ranch

Together we have protected important habitat and corridors for wildlife, provided for continued agricultural uses, planned for affordable housing, and ensured that we maintain recreational opportunities that connect our communities and contribute to our local economy. More than 1500 people have now joined the Methow Conservancy as stewards of this community asset.
~Julie Muyllaert, Campaign for Sunny M Ranch Co-Chair

The iconic Sunny M Ranch was once 4000 acres of land along Wolf Creek and Twin Lakes roads, extending to Barnsley and Big and Little Twin lakes, and stretching up the flanks of Patterson Mountain to Patterson Lake. The Sunny M name was short for “Sunny Mountain” — a nod to the prominent climate and topography of the area.

Homesteaded by Clint Shulenbarger, the Sunny M Ranch was run as a dairy ranch and cattle ranch from the 1920s to the 1980s. E.F. Banker purchased the ranch from Schulenbarger in 1906 and converted it to a cattle ranch. Frances and Manson Backus purchased the Sunny M Ranch in 1948 and transformed it to a dude ranch, running it until 1953. Dr. J. B. Blende bought the ranch from the Backus Family and built the guest house, the cabins and the barns and remodeled the house, all while running a medical practice in Winthrop as well.

Joe Barron purchased the ranch in the mid-1950s, running it both as a working ranch and as a dude ranch. After Joe passed away, his son Jack Barron continued to maintain Sunny M as a working ranch and a private residence until his death in the late 1980s, when his brother sold the Sunny M Ranch to friends Helga and Erivan Haub. Helga and Erivan wanted Methow Valley residents to take pride in the ranch and its role in the community by continuing to care for the property as so many Sunny M Ranch owners had before them. Erivan and Helga's vision for the Sunny M Ranch was a clear mandate: “preservation of the Methow environment.”

The Haub Family renovated Sun Mountain Lodge and earned a prestigious AAA Four Diamond designation. In May 2022, the Haub Family sold the lodge, the Patterson Lake Cabins, and approximately 1300 acres of the original 2500 acres to GEM Partners. In June 2023, the Haub Family sold the remaining 1200 acres of the Sunny M Ranch, as well as the barn, ranch house, and ranch buildings, to the Methow Conservancy, which holds the land and infrastructure on behalf of the community, in support of wildlife, farming, trails, and affordable housing.

Click HERE for a map of the Sunny M Ranch.

Excerpted from “The Smiling Country: A History of the Methow Valley” by Sally Portman, commissioned by Helga Haub, 2001 and from MaryAnn Barron Wagner. Photo courtesy of the Shafer Museum, Sunny M collection.

* There are many gaps in our chronology of Sunny M Ranch ownership! If your family was involved with the Sunny M Ranch, please let us know by emailing sunnym@methowconservancy.org. We look forward to hearing from you!

Shafer Museum Sunny M Collection 2004002003

Inspiring people to care for the land of the Methow Valley since 1996.

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