Approximately 2,586 acres of the 3,965 acres of total deeded ownership are protected in perpetuity by a series of conservation easements with The Nature Conservancy. This leaves 1,379± acres unencumbered and the easements permit the enhancement or expansion of the multitude of existing improvements. Any further easement details can be provided upon request.
* Some of the outstanding photography herein was provided by John Birkey. (Contact information is available upon request.)
As a completely turn-key property, Winding River Ranch has multiple furnished residential structures plus barns, and corrals. The residences are briefly described as follows:
- Manager’s home: 1,774± square feet comprised of three bedrooms and two bathrooms built in 1956. This home has since been updated with a new roof, new windows, and new wood siding.
- The Ridge Cabin: Sitting on a ridge overlooking the river, it is 1,406± square feet with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
- The View Cabin: Also, on a ridge with both river and mountain peak views, it is 1,632± square feet with three bedrooms and three bathrooms.
- Bunkhouse: Comfortable 912± square feet with two rooms and one bathroom. All cabins are fully furnished and include kitchens plus phone, power, and satellite.
Perhaps most important on a ranch of this size is the established network of roads and bridges that exist throughout the property. This ensures easy access across the deeded lands to access fishing resources and surrounding public lands.
While the ranch is comfortably improved for guests, it thankfully does not have a massive owner’s home that is typically built at great expense to someone else’s taste! We believe that the premier homesite lies just west of the Ridge Cabin where a private drive through a stand of mature timber leads to a level building site overlooking the river with picturesque views of the Buffalo Peaks and Mosquito Range. This site is conveniently accessed across the ranch and enjoys complete privacy with unparalleled sightlines.
Winding River Ranch has an extensive water rights portfolio, including reservoir rights, ditch rights, spring rights, and groundwater well rights. In Colorado with its burgeoning front range population, these water rights have good long term investment value.
The reservoir water rights are associated with four existing reservoirs: 1) Dixon Squirrel Reservoir (3.8 surface acres), 2) Burlingame Reservoir (6.81 surface acres), 3) Burlingame Reservoir No. 2 (4.87 surface acres), and 4) Chapelle Reservoir (13.49 surface acres). All four reservoirs are decreed for fish propagation and/or fish and wildlife habitat and are stocked with trout. They also are decreed for multiple additional beneficial uses such as stock watering, irrigation, domestic, and fire protection. All reservoirs have water storage rights dating from as early as 1876.
Additionally, Burlingame Reservoir, Burlingame No. 2 Reservoir, and Chapelle Reservoir either have decreed or pending flow-through water rights which allow for year-round freshening flows. The Dixon Squirrel Reservoir is fed by the Dixon Spring, which provides freshening flows. Burlingame Reservoir also has a decree which exempts the reservoir from having to replace the water that has evaporated. This grandfathered right would likely not be possible in today’s regulatory environment. The cost today of the constructed storage and the acquisition of these water rights to fill the reservoirs and replace evaporation would be in excess of $1,000,000. Frankly, it is unlikely that it would even be possible today.
Winding River Ranch recently purchased 30 acre-feet in the Kester Sweet Ditch and 9 acre-feet in the Burlingame Ditch. These water rights were purchased to keep the reservoirs as full as possible in the event of more strict administration of the local water rights. They are also the primary source of replacement water in a pending water court application for approval of a plan for further augmentation.
Winding River Ranch has four decreed ditch water rights with administrative priorities ranging from 1874 through 1883. These ditch rights come from Weaver No. 1, Weaver No. 2, Burlingame, and Kester Sweet ditches. Some of the decreed beneficial uses include irrigation, stock watering, storage, domestic, recreation including fishing, and augmentation.
No. 1 and No. 2 ditches are currently used for irrigation, while the Burlingame and Kester Sweet Ditch rights are or will be used in the Burlingame, Burlingame No. 2, and Chapelle Reservoirs.
Winding River Ranch has seven decreed spring water rights. These seven springs are decreed for various beneficial uses such as irrigation, storage for fish culture, scenic and recreational purposes, stock watering, and domestic use. The seven spring water rights have administrative priorities from 1876 through 1896, with one spring right having been changed for use in the Burlingame Reservoirs.
These water rights enable Winding River Ranch to keep water in the four reservoirs, irrigate, and provide water for stock and domestic use. They are a significant resource of the ranch.