FLATTOPS WILDLIFE RANCH

Colorado - Routt County - Toponas
Acres
960
Price
$2,950,000

Colorado Hunting Ranch, Recreation Ranch and Equestrian Ranch

Flattops Wildlife Ranch is located in northwest Colorado between the resort areas of Vail and Steamboat Springs near the town of Yampa. The 960-acre private ranch with spectacular scenic vistas and abundant wildlife is comprised of a large very private basin running northwest to southeast and is characterized by open meadows surrounded by evergreen covered ridges and aspen stands. The ranch has been operated as a big game preserve, a horseback recreation area, cattle grazing and a winter recreation area for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.

Location:
Flattops Wildlife Ranch is located midway between Vail and Steamboat Springs, Colorado, (less than 1 hour to either resort) at the base of the Flattops Mountains adjacent to the White River National Forest and the Flattops Wilderness Area. Approximately 9 miles west of Colorado Highway 131 on Routt County Road 3, the ranch is easily accessible but, due to the predominant gently sloping "basin" nature of the property, very private. The closest town is Yampa, home to about 400 people and most services. Steamboat Springs is the regional hub and is located approximately 44 highway miles north of the ranch. About 33 miles to the south is the Vail Valley and Vail and Beaver Creek Ski Resorts. The 2.3 million-acre White River National Forest, encompassing the Flat Tops Mountains and Flat Tops Wilderness Area, is located just one mile west of the ranch. Stagecoach Reservoir and its associated State Park are situated on the Yampa River 28 miles to the northeast of the property. The ranch is also conveniently located 55 miles from the Eagle/Vail Regional Airport and 50 miles from the Yampa Valley Regional Airport. County Road 3 continues past the ranch down to the Colorado River near Burns which offers an alternate way to Interstate 70 at Dotsero on the way to Glenwood Springs and Aspen.

Area:
Flattops Wildlife Ranch is 10 miles south of the Town of Yampa and the headwaters of the Yampa River. The area is devoted to a combination of traditional cattle ranching and recreation with an authentic "Western" ranch culture unspoiled by the ski resort influence. One particularly desirable aspect of this ranch is that the ranches around it are large, typically thousands of acres, providing a vast open landscape that is becoming rare in the mountain areas with high scenic and recreational values. Several of the larger ranches in the area are protected from development by conservation easements. The ranch lies in its own basin in such a way that it will not be impacted by any activities on the neighboring properties and its acreage is enhanced by its private access to the White River National Forest.

Climate:

MAPS:
Area Topo State

FLATTOPS WILDLIFE RANCH

Colorado - Routt County - Toponas
Acres
960
Price
$2,950,000

CONTACT A BROKER:

Carl Luppens
303.394.1400

 

The property's location on the west slope of the Continental Divide contributes to more moisture and verdant vegetation than that experienced at similar elevation on the east side of the Divide, providing better grazing for wildlife and stock alike. Total precipitation is 16 inches per annum. With elevations ranging from 8,800 to 9,400 feet, the Flattops Wildlife Ranch exhibits the attractive characteristics of the Colorado mountain climate – warm sunny days with low humidity and cool nights. Average summer temperatures are in the upper 70's, with lows in the 40's. Due to the elevation, there is very little insect nuisance. Winter is typical of the conditions at the base of some of the Colorado ski resorts with pleasant days (temperatures ranging from the teens at night to 30’s during the day) and snow cover (approximately 100 inches of snow per year) from December through April.

Acreage:
Entering the ranch from County Road 3, the internal access entrance crosses over the corner of a low ridge on the northern side of the property and then drops into the main, very private, grassland area. The 960 acres (1 and 1/2 sections) are comprised of 1/3 timber and 2/3 open grasslands: Grasslands - 570 acres, Pine - 171 acres, Fir - 9 acres, Aspen - 130 acres, Hay Meadows - 56 acres and Riparian/Wetlands - 70 acres. Spectacular 360-degree views from a high point near the center of the property looking southeast toward Vail, the Gore Range and New York Mountain, west to "The Dome" and the Flattops, north towards Steamboat Springs and the Park Range and south towards Aspen and the Elk Mountains and the Sawatch Range.

*Acreages are approximate and based on estimates by Greystone Consultants.

Improvements:
The ranch includes its private ranch roads which run east to west and fences that surround the property. There are no structures or buildings on the ranch but there are many excellent building sites throughout the property, ranging from higher locations with panoramic views to very private, secluded sites. The ranch may be subdivided into two parcels allowing the construction of three residences one of which could be a commercial lodge.

Operational Considerations:
The ranch has been operated as a big game preserve, a horseback recreation area, a winter recreation area for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in conjunction with cattle grazing with capacity of approximately 500 AUM's. Traditionally the land was not grazed early in the summer by cattle because over 100 cow elk usually use it as a calving ground and nursery in June and July. The range conditions have been evaluated every year and found to be in very good condition. All land is owned in fee, there are no public land grazing permits associated with the ranch. Adjoining ranches will lease for summer cattle grazing if desired.

Water and Timber Resources:
There are four streams and two reservoirs on the property: Egeria and Sterner. Two of the intermittent streams enter the west and south sides of the property and flow into the Sterner Reservoir. A third stream is the outlet of the Sterner Reservoir and flows into the fourth stream on the eastern boundary of the property which is more of a year-round stream. Egeria Reservoir is approximately 13 acres in size and is divided by the property line. Sterner Reservoir is approximately 27 acres in size. Both reservoirs provide year-round water for livestock and wildlife. The adjacent ranch uses irrigation from both reservoirs.

Timber was selectively removed from the ranch in a thinning process to enhance the vitality and disease resistance of the forest. This has been successful as the coniferous tree population is much healthier than many parts of the state. There are virtually no lodgepole pine issues. on the ranch.

Wildlife and Fishery Resources:
The ranch is inhabited by elk, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, coyotes, black bears, porcupines, red foxes, bobcats, pine martins, and beavers, as well as numerous small mammals such as snowshoe hares, marmots, long-tailed weasels, ermine, muskrats, chipmunks. In addition, ducks, geese, blue grouse, magpies, great blue heron, hawks, owls and eagles frequent the property. Moose have migrated onto the property over the last couple years and are seen occasionally.

Elk are abundant on the ranch in the spring, summer and fall. Elk in the area are part of the White River Elk Herd, which is the largest in Colorado and the largest in the United States. The CDOW estimates 37,930 elk in the Data Analysis Unit of which this land lies. The bull:cow ratio is 27:100. Rifle hunter success averages around 21% in the area but within the ranch it is typically 95%.

Mule deer are also abundant on the ranch and utilize it as spring, summer, and fall range. The CDOW estimates that over 10,250 deer make up the herd in this DAU with a buck:doe ratio of 35:100. Rifle hunter success ranges from 25 to 40%. The herd size and buck to doe ratio has been increasing over the last decade.

The Egeria and Sterner reservoirs contain rainbow trout, brook trout, creek chubs and fathead minnows. Aquatic habitat, both for fish and for waterfowl, could be enhanced. Great fly-fishing is available on several gold-medal streams and rivers that are within striking distance for a quick trip including the Colorado River, Eagle River, Frying Pan River, Roaring Fork River, North Platte River, White River and numerous North Park streams. Lake fishing is available nearby at the Stagecoach Reservoir, Steamboat Lake, Pearl Lake, Delaney Butte Lake and a multitude of other high mountain lakes.

Recreational Considerations:
This property is located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains with good proximity to many world-class ski areas: Vail & Beaver Creek, Steamboat and the 4 ski areas surrounding Aspen. All of the ski resorts also offer numerous golf courses and other summer recreation opportunities. The nearby Colorado and Yampa Rivers offer fishing, kayaking, and rafting. Hiking, climbing and mountaineering opportunities abound. Road cycling is a popular summer activity with an ever-expanding network of dedicated cycling paths and great mountain biking, off-road motorcycling and ATV trails exist on the ranch and in the nearby mountains and hills.

The open areas surrounded by tree cover and the topographic privacy of the property give it excellent recreational value. The scenic vistas and the wildlife populations are spectacular and the terrain is such that all of the ranch can be actively utilized. The property is large enough that one does not need to leave it for recreation in the National Forest but there are millions of acres of public land nearby if one chooses to venture beyond the ranch borders. Since the public land does not directly abut the property, there haven’t been any issues with trespassers. The ranch is buffered by adjacent private land - much of which has been permanently protected under conservation easements.

Water and Mineral Rights:
Both further surface and well water rights may be developed. Typically, private wells are established to provide water for domestic use and limited livestock consumption. There are undeveloped springs on the ranch. The ranch owns a portion, but not all, of the minerals beneath.

Special Conditions and Taxes:
The property is zoned as agricultural/forestry by Routt County. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has a conservation easement over the ranch which allows development of two 5-acre home sites along with related barns and other outbuildings (2 outbuildings on each site). One of the two building sites can contain two separate residences and one of the developed sites can be a commercial lodge. The easement was placed on the ranch December 29, 1995 for the purpose of protecting native habitat, wildlife, ecological considerations, scenic values and encouraging adjacent property owners to preserve their ranches. In addition to boundary adjustments with adjoining landowners, the property can be subdivided twice with a minimum subdivided parcel of 40 acres. The opportunity to forgo one of the home site opportunities could yield a significant (possibly well over $1 million) non-cash charitable donation and associated tax savings as well as a large, cash tax refund ($375,000) from the State of Colorado.

Due to the fact that a conservation easement is in place, the property taxes are permanently very low and based only on agricultural productivity, not market value regardless of whether or not the ranch is actively engaged in agriculture. 2010 taxes were approximately $300.