A museum will be established in the main house of the Chase Ranch near Cimarron and members of the public will be able to visit it perhaps as early as next spring, according to the Albuquerque Journal ( http://bit.ly/1ay16bL).
Gretchen Sammis and Ruby Gobble had operated the ranch, which traces its roots to the 1860s when the Chase family first bought land in the area.
Sammis died in 2012, and her will directed that the ranch be preserved and that Gobble continued to have the right to live there.
Gobble died in June. She was a world champion roper and Sammis' companion for 49 years. Sammis taught in Cimarron Public Schools for 26 years, and took over operations at the ranch after her grandfather died in the 1950s.
"These two great ladies demonstrated a pioneer spirit that we don't have today," said John Clark, Philmont's general manager.
Sammis was the fourth generation of her family to own the ranch, which is near the 137,000-acre Philmont property operated by the Boy Scouts of America.
Philmont officials were approached by the Chase Ranch Foundation about carrying out Sammis' plan for her family's ranch.
"Philmont has decades of experience doing exactly the things she wanted done—preserving historic structures, managing high-quality museum collections, creating educational programs through living history presentations of New Mexico and American Southwest history, running a working cattle ranch . ," Ed Pease, president of the Chase Ranch Foundation, said in a statement.
An agreement with the Philmont takes effect Friday. Clark said no money changed hands in the lease and operating agreement.
Philmont will have access to the land for scouting programs, including development of new trails for hiking.
Clark said Philmont will manage the working ranch, repair and maintain structures, turn the house into a museum and staff it. He said special events also may be held on the property.
"There was a carriage house that was a social gathering place once a week," Clark said of the Chase Ranch. "There were weddings, birthday parties, family picnics. I hope we can still do that."