Saturday, September 4, 2004
The Warren Ranch, one of the first ranches settled in the Elk River valley, has been listed for sale.
But you won't find a trophy home or subdivision on this ranch. Besides some improvements to the original ranch buildings, the nearly 1,600-acre ranch remains relatively unchanged from when it was homesteaded more than a century ago.
"It's the crown jewel of the Elk River valley," said Brent Romick, who is co-listing the property, about eight miles up Routt County Road 129, with Troy Brookshire of Colorado Group Realty.
The ranch consists of two large parcels of land: About 840 acres of hay meadows and pastures directly off C.R. 129 and about 750 acres of Alpine land on Big Creek Ridge east of C.R. 129.
Accessed by rough, but drivable, two-track roads, the ranch's varied terrain and diverse wildlife habitat provides exceptional agriculture and recreation opportunities, Romick said.
The Elk River bisects two miles of the lower portion of the ranch and is lined by prime riparian habitat for the wild trout flourishing in the waters.
"This ranch has barely been fished in the last 25 years," Romick said.
Deer, elk and the occasional moose visit the river, and members of a resident antelope herd dot the hillsides west of the river basin. The upper portion of the property transitions through scrub oak before heading into thick aspen groves and forest on the Big Creek Ridge. Elk and deer frequent the giant mud holes or wallows scattered throughout the property.
A very rustic hunting cabin in the northernmost edge of the property ensures an authentic hunting experience.
Warren Ranch Inc. has owned the ranch since the 1940s. Ranch manager Delbert Sherrod has overseen hay and cattle operations on the ranch for the past 25 years.
In that time, Sherrod has focused on maintaining a healthy balance between cattle and the riparian environment on the property's lower portion, Romick said.
Extensive irrigation and senior water rights on subsurface springs have ensured an optimum water supply for agriculture on the land. On average, there have been about 150 cattle on the property each year.
Though the property's annual hay yield has been about 500 tons, more is possible with additional irrigation, Romick said.
Despite the subdivisions and large homes scattered throughout the Elk River valley, Romick's vision for the property remains true to its heritage.
"It's probably going to forever be run as a ranch," he said.
To ensure that happens, Warren Ranch Inc. placed conservation easements on the upper and lower portions of the ranch in 2000.
The easements prevent any subdividing of the property but allow two unrestricted building sites on the upper portion of the ranch and three cabins along the river.
The easements also have provisions for restricted building envelopes around the two modest ranch homes in the lower portion of the ranch.
There also are conservation easements on Big Creek Ranch, which borders the upper portion of Warren Ranch, providing a large chunk of deer and elk habitat, Romick said.
The ideal future owner of the ranch not only will appreciate the ranch's diversity, but will want to continue preserving it, he said.
"I see someone that has abundant respect for ranch heritage, wildlife and scenery," Romick said.
Warren Ranch is being offered as a private stock transaction at $8.9 million. Under the U.S. Security Exchange Commission guidelines, those with serious inquiries must be accredited investors.
For information or a tour of the property, call Romick at 879-3618, Joan Shenfield at 846-5416 or Brookshire at 870-8800.