Saturday, November 19, 2005
There is no monument sign or grandiose entryway marking the private gravel road to the Timbers Preserve.
Don't be fooled. The quiet development, focused on a scenic ridge on Rabbit Ears Pass, includes some of the most pristine lands and views in the Yampa Valley -- and it's less than 10 minutes from the Steamboat Ski Area.
Developer and real estate broker Ed Ryan clustered 12 private home sites on the 448-acre property about 15 years ago. The largely untouched acreage is east of U.S. Highway 40 as it descends into the valley.
The sites sold, and six homes have been built, but it's not too late for envious buyers to become part of Timbers Preserve -- two lots are being offered for resale.
Ryan is handling both listings, including his personal lot.
"Because it's so small, it's not on the radar screen. ... It's a real sleeper," he said.
The benefits of living in Timbers Preserve are as endless as the nearly 360-degree views -- evidenced by photo after photo of orange, pink and purple-glazed landscapes taken from the home sites.
"The sunrise is early, and the sunset is late," Ryan said.
And then there's the moon.
"Some of the moon rises coming out the National Forest are mind boggling," he said.
The land is not much changed from when Ryan purchased it in the late 1980s as part of a larger property that had been locked in bankruptcy and uncertainty for years.
To the southeast, Timbers Preserve borders the Timbers Condominiums and the former Colorado Ski and Racquet Club, the beginnings of ambitious resort plans that included 400 residential and lodging units and an 18-hole golf course on what is now Timbers Preserve.
Ryan found the plans to be grossly out of context and scale with the land, which hosted a diverse array of wildlife and plants, ponds, streams and history, including remnants of an old stagecoach route.
Ryan decided to essentially "undevelop" the property, drawing up plans for 12 private home sites surrounded by 400 acres of forest, meadows and trails protected by recreational conservation easements.
It was among the first projects in Northwest Colorado providing a model for Land Preservation Subdivisions, Ryan said.
"Very rarely in life do you get chance to own your own mountain," he said.
Timbers Preserve has its own water and sanitation district, first built in the early 1970s for the resort and then upgraded to state standards in 1987. McKinnis Creek provides water to the district.
Beyond everyday conveniences of good roads, utilities and driveways, is the advantage of having miles and miles of private hiking, biking, skiing and horseback riding trails at your feet.
Wildlife -- including wintering elk, moose, bears and golden eagles -- are regular residents. White pelicans, peacefully gliding with the wind above Lake Catamount, are among special occurrences at Timbers Preserve.
"There's never a time at the Timbers where you don't get something awesome," Ryan said.
One available lot is 45 deeded acres and is being offered at $1,295,000. The other lot is 35 deeded acres at $695,000.
For more information, call Ryan at High Mountain Sotheby's International Realty, 879-8101.