Homes offer ranch living without the work

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— Owning a Colorado cattle ranch is a popular fantasy. But the reality is hard work and lots of it.
Another alternative is to hire a ranch manager. It's a good way to go but not everyone can swing it economically.
Another option is the Creek Ranch, 12 miles west of Steamboat Springs on County Road 33. A pair of impressive scribed log homes has recently come on the market at Creek Ranch. They offer families the opportunity to enjoy life on a 1,708-acre ranch without the obligation to mend fence, bale hay and struggle through calving season.
"The ranch's strongest attribute is large ranch ownership, use and managed recreation without the expense and management hassles," developer Brent Romick said.
The hay production and cattle grazing at Creek Ranch are leased by Jim and Dean Rossi. Their lease represents about $14,500 annual income to the Creek Ranch Homeowners Association.
Creek Ranch is limited to 40 total homesteads, which equates to a density of one lot per 43 acres. But the home sites are limited to a cluster of deeded lots ranging from 5 to 16 acres. Within those lots, building envelopes work in concert to preserve view corridors.
The clustering of the homesteads has also allowed creation of four conservation easements on the ranch. They are in place to protect riparian and fish habitat, elk calving grounds and productive hay meadows.
The developers undertook a costly rehabilitation of 3 miles of Trout Creek, which supports carefully managed fishing.
The two new listings at Creek Ranch exemplify what homes there can aspire to.
Romick is sharing the listing on a new 5-bedroom home on Lot 32 with colleague Joan Shenfield. It is offered at $1.999 million. The builder and owner is Jeff Weisshaar.
Shenfield has the listing on the Scott Gansmann house, also offering 5 bedrooms and 4.5 baths. It has a 750 square-foot caretaker unit above the garage and is priced at $2.1 million.
On the surface, the primary difference between the two log homes is that the Gansmann house measures 6,700 square feet and the Weisshaar house measures 5,750 square feet.
Shenfield said the covenants at Creek Ranch don't mandate large homes the minimum is 2,000 square feet.
"It just so happens these two homes that have just come on the market are particularly large," she said.
Shenfield added she's aware that there is a lot of competition in the high end home market in Steamboat right now, but she thinks these homes compare favorably to other homes in the price range.
The Weisshaar house is built of large hand-scribed Douglas fir logs from Montana.
The many features of the house include access to a covered porch both from the dining room and family room.
The great room has a two-story stone fireplace, just one of three in the home. There is even one fireplace that combines gas and wood burning.
The gourmet kitchen has vaulted ceilings and a large granite counter. Appliances include a 48-inch Viking gas range and a 42-inch Subzero refrigerator with wood panel front. There is a glass front Viking wine cooler in the kitchen as well.
Even the powder room is a showplace, with a large stone counter, chiseled limestone vessel and designer faucet.
The master bedroom measures 25 by 27 feet.
The Gansmann house is designed for family and entertaining with a great room featuring French doors that open onto a large deck overlooking the ranch.
Guests arrive through a "grand porte cohere entrance" where they are greeted by the sight of 18-inch slate tiles throughout the main floor living areas. The kitchen offers top of the line appliances. There are carved scalloped beams in the main living area and radiant floor heat throughout.
The Creek Ranch is a Romick Signature Development. The properties are listed with Prudential Steamboat Realty. Of the original 40 home sites, 20 remain unsold. Lot prices range from $308,850 to $450,000.

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