Based on current industrial activity in Nine Mile Canyon, most people wouldn't think of an oil company as being a partner with the Nine Mile Canyon Coalition in the conservation and preservation of the Canyon. However, since the earliest years of the Coalition's existence the Hunt Oil Company has been an active supporter of our mission to preserve and protect this unique archaeological and historic treasure.
Hunt Oil Company purchased the Historic Nutter Ranch in Nine Mile Canyon in 1992. According to Blair Eastman, the present Nutter Ranch manager, soon after purchasing the property, Ray Hunt visited the canyon and determined that Hunt would preserve their unique and historically significant acquisition in Nine Mile.
"The importance of the archeology in the canyon was very apparent to Mr. Hunt," explained Steve Hansen, Nine Mile Coalition.
Besides being contributing participants in our annual Spring Canyon Cleanup and other coalition events, Hunt Oil has provided financial and organizational support for many of the events and efforts throughout the years.
"They generously assisted in funding the Nine Mile Canyon Interpretive Plan, including information kiosks and interpretive trail markers, and joined the Coalition in funding the nomination of the Canyon to the National Register of Historic Places," continued Hansen.
Hunt Oil has been a very responsible owner and caretaker of the Nutter Ranch, making necessary improvements on the property like implementing flood control measures that will protect the historic Nutter structures and surrounding archeology.
Hansen also pointed out that Hunt also provides a much needed presence in the Canyon, as it continues to be a working ranch. Long-time residents of the canyon are employed by Hunt to manage the properties, and are thus aware of issues and problems as they arise in the canyon.
Hansen explained Hunt has consistently met with the coalition board prior to acting on their plans, allowing the coalition to identify possible risks to environmental and cultural resources in the canyon.
"Hunt Oil Company's Preston Nutter Ranch owns about six miles of frontage on the creek in Nine Mile Canyon. We are very conscious about the archeology and environment in the canyon," stated Tom Meurer, Senior vice president and director of Hunt Oil Company. "As an oil company, we recognize the economic need to find and produce oil and gas, however we feel it is important that exploration and production operations do nothing to harm the historical sites and natural beauty of the canyon."
Currently Hunt Oil has contracted an archaeological group to record the sites in and above the canyon on their land so that there will be a record of them for study by the universities and museums.
"We support and encourage the outstanding job that the Nine Mile Canyon Coalition is doing to monitor and preserve the beauty and history of the canyon so that future generations can learn from and enjoy this wonderful place," said Meurer.