Crocker Springs Ranch is the crown jewel of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem located in the Flint Hills of eastern Kansas. The Flint Hills are distinguished as the region in all of North America with the densest intact tallgrass prairie. These 3,300± acres of scenic rolling hills of nature’s most prolific native grasses are comprised of bluestem, switchgrass, and Indian grass. This property is right in the heart of what is left of the original 140 million acres of tallgrass prairie, now less than 6 million acres. Wide-open spaces of treeless prairie populated by numerous wildflower species provide unmatched panoramic views in all directions. Unencumbered by buildings the ranch looks much like it did thousands of years ago when it was grazed by bison and home to native Indian tribes. Fittingly two miles of the 48-mile Flint Hills National Scenic Byway (K-177) passes through the ranch.
Just the Facts
• 3,300± contiguous deeded acres
• Nearly treeless rolling hills of tallgrass prairie
• Rich soils overlying a limestone base
• Premier stocker cattle grazing country
• Numerous springs and ponds
• 36 inches average annual precipitation
• Elevations from 1,300 feet to 1,464 feet ASL
• 70 miles northeast of Wichita, KS
• Over 2 miles of Flint Hills National Scenic Byway (K-177)
• Protected by conservation easement
The Crocker Springs Ranch is a prime example of what the one would imagine how the endless tallgrass prairie should look. Rolling hills of native grass with some scattered trees are along Den Creek on the southwest boundary of the ranch. Elevation runs from 1,464 feet at the highest point near the center of the ranch, down to 1,300 feet along the northeast boundary and also along Den Creek to the southwest boundary. When standing on the highest point of the ranch, and one of the highest points in the area, your view seems to go beyond infinity in all directions. There are three pastures in total, one east of the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway and two west of the highway.
Elevation on the ranch ranges from 1,300 feet to 1,464 feet.
Crocker Springs Ranch is in the heart of what little is left of this continent’s tallgrass prairie. Originally stretching from Canada down to Texas, a large part of those 140 million acres of rich prairie soils has been converted to cropland and development. The last bit of tallgrass prairie, less than 4 percent, is located in these Flint Hills of eastern Kansas. Much of the land in this area looks like it did thousands of years ago. Most importantly, to maintain the integrity of this area, the Crocker Springs Ranch is protected by a conservation easement. The stunning beauty of looking across the miles of rolling hills and deep valleys swathed in native grasses and wildflowers is unmatched. This opportunity to buy Crocker Springs Ranch is almost unheard of. This is truly a legacy purchase.
The ranch is located approximately 70 miles northeast of Wichita, or 120 miles southwest of Kansas City, of which both cities have commercial air service. Following the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway north two miles you will come to the historic town of Cottonwood Falls. If you follow the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway south from the ranch nearly 20 miles you will arrive at the quaint town of Cassoday, which bills itself as the prairie chicken capital of the world. Emporia, population 24,000 with a jet-capable all-weather airport, is just 30 miles to the east.
Over time the estimated 96 percent of the original 140 million acre tallgrass prairie was plowed under resulting in the what is known as America’s breadbasket. The bulk of the 4 percent of the remaining unbroken tallgrass prairie is in the Kansas Flint Hills. This area is naturally protected from the plow because the rocky soil in these rolling hills consists of limestone, shale and flint rock. This limestone underlying the soil allows the tallgrass roots to follow water down 12 feet below the surface. It was soon realized that cattle will easily gain weight on these rich native grasses. Therefore, cattle ranching is the dominant driver in the local economy. There are several historic towns nearby like Council Grove, Cottonwood Falls and Strong City that are home to charming shops, antiques, restaurants and artworks. The 11,000-acre Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is five miles north also on Flint Hills National Scenic Byway.
Lyle Lovett and the Kansas City Symphony famously performed an outdoor concert in the Flint Hills near the ranch in 2010. Lovett has many contacts in Kansas and has narrated the PBS special, "The Last Stand of the Tallgrass Prairie." A video clip of his performance can be viewed here.
The average high temperature in January is 31 degrees and the average high temperature in July is 81 degrees. Average annual precipitation is 36 inches. The ranch averages around 180 frost-free days yearly.
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
Deeded Acres: 3,300±
Total Acres: 3,300±
There are no buildings, but there is a good set of shipping pens on the ranch.
Seller believes all mineral rights are intact and are included in the sale.
Property taxes are approximately $8,863 based upon past years.
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In 1988, Joel Leadbetter became a partner at Hall and Hall where he has been instrumental in completing complicated, high-profile deals such as the recent sale of Texas’ historic 512,000-acre Waggoner Ranch.
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