Twentymile Coal buys 6,300 acres in Routt County for $10M

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— The owners of the 30,700-acre Cross Mountain Ranch about 22 miles southwest of Steamboat Springs sold 6,335 acres of the sprawling cattle, sheep and big game operation to Twentymile Coal on Monday for $10.13 million.

Peabody Energy, based in St. Louis, owns the Twentymile Mine, an underground coal mine about five miles north of the property involved in this week’s transaction.

Cross Mountain Ranch straddles Routt and Rio Blanco counties. And when 27,700 acres in Moffat County west of Maybell are counted, the size of the ranch nearly doubles. Cross Mountain Ranch, has an office in Craig, but the closest town is Hayden. Kitty Boeddeker is the owner and her son, Matt, operates the ranch.

Matt Boeddeker declined through an employee to comment on the sale Tuesday.

Meg Gallagher, Peabody Energy’s director of corporate communications, said Tuesday that she was unaware of the transaction. However, she said her company has a division called the Land Resources Group that frequently invests in attractively priced land, regardless of whether it sits on top of an underground coal seam.

The purchase price translates to $1,608 an acre.

Twentymile Mine has approval from Routt County to begin a gradual transition from the existing mine (also known as the Foidel Creek Mine) to a new mine called Sage Creek.

Not the only one

This week’s sale is the third this spring and summer of large ranch acreages in south and southwest Routt County for multiple millions of dollars.

The 3,400-acre Bugler’s Ridge Ranch just west of Oak Creek sold May 18 for $7.1 million to a limited liability company based in Lampasas, Texas. The ranch changed hands again July 19, this time selling for the same price.

Bugler’s Ridge has been used for agriculture and trophy big-game hunting. The purchase in May was made sight unseen because the snow on the property was too deep to walk it.

“They saw it from a distance. They were able to fly it on Google Earth,” listing Realtor Eric West of Hayden Outdoors real estate told the Steamboat Today at the time of the transaction. “I don’t think they bought it necessarily for hunting. It’s an oil and gas-motivated purchase.”

A third South Routt Ranch sold to South Hunt Creek Ranch LLC for $2.5 million on June 11. There is no indication that energy exploration was a motivation for the purchase of the vacant ag land west of Yampa. And a search of the Colorado Secretary of State’s database did not produce any information on who registered the limited liability company.

The land involved in this week’s Cross Mountain Ranch sale is on both sides of Routt County Road 37 in Fish Creek Canyon, a little more than two miles from the intersection of C.R. 37 with Routt County roads 27 and 33.

Historic ranch

The website for Cross Mountain Ranch describes how the portion of the ranch in Routt and Rio Blanco counties, called the Upper Country, was assembled from small homesteads that date to the first decade of the 20th century. A man named Ralph Pitchforth began to buy up the homesteads in the late 1920s, and in the early 1950s J. Burton Tuttle increased the ranch holdings to include the Moffat County land (“Lower Country”) 50 miles away where livestock could pasture throughout the winter.

After the Boeddeker family acquired the ranch, they added Pyramid Ranch in 1993. Today, the Pyramid Peak Guest Ranch sits in a box canyon in Rio Blanco County near the east fork of the Williams Fork River.

Kitty Boeddeker’s late husband, Ron, and his company, Transcontinental Corp., together with the Bass brothers, of Texas, assumed ownership of the uncompleted Lake Las Vegas project in Henderson, Nev., in 1989. They finished the 3,600-acre resort community with its 340-acre manmade lake in 2003, according to an article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The development included a Ritz-Carlton hotel as well as a Hyatt Regency and several golf courses. However, the development went into bankruptcy in 2008 after Transcontinental Corp. defaulted on a $540 million loan with Credit Suisse. The Ritz-Carlton and the Casino MonteLago closed, as did two golf courses.

Ron Boeddeker died in June 2010.

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