JA Land & CattleMeeteetse, WY
Located on Meeteetse Creek just northwest of Meeteetse, this 10,596± acre, 500 AU ranch has it all. Over 1,000 irrigated acres, productive rangeland, big game, upland birds, solid, attractive improvements.
Framed by the majestic peaks of the Wind River Mountain Range, the Bar Cross Ranch operates on over 35,000 acres. Located in Sublette County, just 15 miles north of Pinedale and 60 miles south of Jackson Hole, the ranch is comprised of 12,035± essentially contiguous deeded acres. The Bar Cross is one of Wyoming’s historic reputation ranches offering the highly sought-after combination of a robust and productive cattle operation, world-class fishing and hunting, and direct “out the gate” access to millions of acres in the adjacent Bridger Teton National Forest and Bridger Wilderness. Rich in water resources, there are two and a half miles of New Fork River frontage offering true blue-ribbon quality trout fishing, around eight miles of Willow Creek, a quarter-mile of frontage on Willow Lake, and numerous ponds throughout - including a 40± acre lake. Historically run as a balanced cow/calf operation, the ranch has transitioned into a yearling operation in recent years. In 2021, which was one of the driest years ever recorded, the ranch ran 2,300 yearlings on the deeded acreage, the three contiguous private U. S. Forest Service permits, two BLM leases, and two state leases. As part of the Upper Green River Watershed, abundant and senior water rights provide for the 3,464± acres of irrigated and sub-irrigated meadows. The original Bar Cross ranch improvements located along the banks of the New Fork River include a four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath, owner’s home and bunkhouse, both of which were completely renovated in 2019. Other improvements at this site and at the Willow Creek site include a ranch manager’s home, an additional bunkhouse, a foreman’s house, two barns, large and small shops, and numerous outbuildings. Virtually every important building on the ranch as well as the livestock infrastructure - such as fences, water development, and working corrals - has been built or renovated in the last five years to an exacting standard. In summary, this is a ranch that is completely ready for a new owner to move into with no fear of deferred maintenance and an outstanding management team in place.
The Bar Cross Ranch is accessed along its western boundary where it fronts paved County Road 352, about one hour southeast of Jackson Hole. A dead-end county road traverses the Bar Cross from west to east, beginning on an elevated bench with sweeping views of the ranch lands, the winding New Fork River corridor, and the spectacular Wind River Mountains beyond. Heading toward the center and northern portions of the ranch, one descends from this elevated bench crossing the New Fork River and passing by the ranch headquarters. The original Bar Cross headquarters compound sits along the banks of the New Fork River at the edge of over 1,000-acres of irrigated native hay meadows boasting picturesque views of the Wind River Range to the east. Immediately north of the headquarters is a leased Wyoming state section with additional irrigated hay meadows and rows of cottonwood trees lining the arterial irrigation canals. It also offers an additional linear mile of river for fishing. To the south of the headquarters are expansive irrigated hay meadows. As one follows the county road easterly the elevations rise to the north and east to classic rolling sagebrush steppe crossed by smaller drainages.
However, rather than follow the county road, one almost immediately turns to the southeast and crosses over into the Willow Creek Valley and the site of the Willow Creek headquarters where the ranch manager lives. The Willow Creek Ranch was added to the original Bar Cross in more recent years. This expansive valley literally takes one’s breath away as one crosses a ridge and stops to see it laid out with the Wind River range as the backdrop. It encompasses around eight miles of Willow Creek with its broad meadows and a 40-acre lake. The ranch’s eastern boundary actually fronts on Willow Lake one of a number of beautiful mountain lakes that lie along the Wind River Mountains. As one moves easterly the ranch briefly leaves Willow Creek and rises into the adjacent sagebrush hills before dropping down again into the Willow Creek Valley just at the point where it exits the national forest. The is a much more lush, intimate part of the ranch featuring smaller meadows, aspen groves, and a classic old homestead site where the owners have put up a unique 700 square foot permanent tented structure that features running water and solar power - basically “all the comforts of home”. It functions as a family retreat in the summer and a base for hunting in the fall.
The USFS permits lie just inside the national forest and the BLM permit lies to the west. Cattle can easily be trailed to all of them. In a nutshell, the Bar Cross covers an enormous expanse of diverse country including steep to rolling hills, huge expanses of riparian meadows, many miles of streams, huge vistas, and mountain views. As we say in the west, “it’s the real deal!”
The Bar Cross Ranch does in fact have it all – privacy, big views, well blocked, access to USFS, highly diverse wildlife, blue-ribbon quality fishing, very high conservation values, and a viable and productive livestock operation. The real icing on the cake is the fact that it is an easy one-hour drive to Jackson Hole - a world class year-round resort town where U.S. residents are flocking for the quality of life and to take advantage of Wyoming’s favorable tax climate.
The Bar Cross Ranch is located in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem one of the most significant biomes in North America. More specifically it is situated in Sublette County, 60 miles south of Jackson Hole and 15 miles north of Pinedale. This historic ranch sits at 7,440 feet along the banks of the renowned New Fork River, less than 15-miles downstream of its headwaters in the Wind River Mountains. The ranch entry is on paved County Road 352 just south of its intersection with Forty Rod Road. The ranch boundary lies directly across from the historic Green River Drift, the stock trail that has been used since 1896 to move cattle from the southern end of the county to the summer range on U.S. Forest Service allotments in the upper Green River Valley. The ranch uses a portion of this passageway to access its forest permits.
The Sublette County Airport (Ralph Wenz Field- KPNA) is located just 17 miles to the southeast and can handle any private aircraft on its 8,900’ x 100’ foot runway. Commercial airline service is available in Jackson Hole, which is serviced daily by Delta, United, American, and SkyWest airlines.
The Bar Cross lies amongst other large operating ranches generally considered to be in strong hands. Whether it is an absentee owner or a fifth-generation ranching family, this is a community that is dedicated to maintaining the traditional ranching values so coveted by many. The area’s considerable recreational and scenic amenities have increasingly attracted nontraditional ranch owners, especially those who have been attracted to Wyoming’s favorable tax climate and have chosen to establish residency in Sublette County or, more often, in nearby Jackson. A ranch like the Bar Cross gives a Jackson resident a convenient escape during the summer tourist season in Jackson.
Known as the gateway to Teton National Park and the southern entrance to Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole is an easy 60-mile drive from the ranch along scenic paved state highways. Jackson embodies the romantic cowboy heritage of years gone by and is one of the country’s most popular destinations for outdoorsmen and tourists alike. Here you will find plentiful fine dining options, five-star hotels, museums and cultural offerings, rodeos, and recreation options that rival any place in the west. It is a true resort town mentioned in the same breath as Aspen and Sun Valley. It boasts a magnificent ski mountain that is arguably the most dramatic and challenging in the U.S.
Pinedale is only 15 miles south of the Bar Cross, along a well-maintained state highway. This cowboy town is the gateway to the Wind River Mountain Range, which boasts 48 summits higher than 12,500 feet and 19 of Wyoming’s 20 highest peaks. It is also home to the Museum of the Mountain Man and offers amenities such as an aquatic park and an ice arena. From hardware stores to grocery stores and banks, to restaurants -- Pinedale offers almost everything one could ask for in a charming package.
With a base elevation of 7,440 feet in the low-lying meadows of the Green River Basin, the Bar Cross Ranch experiences a full four seasons of weather. Average summer highs are in the upper-70’s, with most mornings requiring a jacket as the low temperatures range in the low-40’s. Wintertime lows get well below zero and average two degrees Fahrenheit, while winter highs average in the upper 20’s. The ranch sits just twenty miles west of the continental divide and typically enjoys more than 225 days of sun each year and receives about 70 inches of snowfall and 11.5 inches of rain annually.
The Bar Cross Ranch is one of the historic Wyoming ranches named for its cattle brand. This brand will transfer to the new owner. The equally historic UZ brand connected with the Willow Creek Ranch will also transfer. The Bar Cross brand originally belonged to P.W. Jenkins, a mathematician and astronomer, who had studied, taught, and was working on his doctorate at Columbia University before becoming ill in the early 1900s. When diagnosed with a terminal disease and expecting to die before long, P.W. and his wife moved to Big Piney to live with his wife’s uncle. However, after a few years, his ailments subsided and he started buying small homesteads and putting together what became the Bar Cross Ranch. When considering brands, his mathematics background yielded the simple, one-iron brand: - + (bar, cross). P.W. Jenkins went on to become a member of the Wyoming House of Representatives and in 1921 introduced a bill to create the county of Sublette. It was one of the first counties to be defined by a watershed. The county would have been exclusively determined this way had P.W. not thought to include Bondurant in the county as well in order to assure that he had enough votes to get Pinedale made the county seat. Apart from Bondurant, the county consists exclusively of the upper Green River drainage.
P.W. Jenkins’ grandson John Perry Barlow, while raised on the Bar Cross Ranch, was sent away to boarding school at the age of 14. While away at school he met Bob Weir, who would later join the Grateful Dead music group. The two became fast friends and although John Perry Barlow ran the Bar Cross Ranch for 17 years, he also participated in writing lyrics for the band throughout his life.
In 1987, John Perry Barlow sold the ranch and was quoted as saying the following when discussing why he sold the brand with the ranch; “I wanted it to have its own independent identity so that a variety of people could pass through there, and it would be the Bar Cross. And it was hard for me to give the brand up, you know, for sentimental reasons, but I felt like the one thing that I wanted to do was to gift that institution with some of its own identity if I could.” And so, the Bar Cross Ranch traded out of the family and became an institution unto itself.
The ranch is prominently featured in Barlow’s autobiography - Mother American Night: My Life in Crazy Times.
The current owners have taken it upon themselves to bring the ranch back to its former glory. They started by putting the Willow Creek and Bar Cross ranches back together. Then, in addition to a masterful renovation of the original ranch house for their private use, they have invested heavily in the operating infrastructure. Family considerations have caused them to search for the next owner of this legacy ranch.
Deeded Acreage - 12,035± Acres
Leased Acreage - 23,289± Acres
Previous owners of the Bar Cross Ranch placed four conservation easements on the ranch with the Green River Land Trust, now managed by the Jackson Hole Land Trust. The easements cover the 5,000 plus acres of deeded land in the original Bar Cross Ranch. Three of these easements – as we read them allow nine 60-acre building sites and each of the three parcels can be divided into three parcels each with a building site. In general, they do not encourage any commercial uses of the ranch including dude ranching. The fourth easement covers a small gravel pit and allows for gravel to be taken out. However, the experts indicate that it is not merchantable gravel. In our experience we find these easements to be reasonably flexible and do not significantly impact the value of this part of the ranch. Call any Hall and Hall office for additional details about the easements.
Of course, over 7,000 acres are completely unencumbered. Because of the fact that this uneased portion encompasses most of the mule deer migration corridor on the ranch, the Bar Cross is of great interest to a number of conservation organizations including The Nature Conservancy.
The ranch operating improvements are complete and immaculate, including the beautifully renovated owner’s home, a manager’s house, and two bunkhouses - all renovated since 2018. In addition, there is a foreman’s house, two barns, a large shop, and a remote permanent tented retreat near the national forest boundary, as well as an outdoor arena and round pen for working horses. More importantly however, the entire ranch infrastructure has been updated in the last five years. Three new headgates have been installed for the irrigation system along with important maintenance work and the installation of control structures to assure maximum utilization of the ranch’s extensive water rights. 60 percent of the ranch’s nearly 100 miles of fences have been upgraded to wildlife-friendly and new corrals and working pens were completed in 2019 – including a new set of corrals and electronic scales at the Finn Place. The owners state that they have invested over $7,500,000 in capital improvements over the last five years through 2021.
BAR CROSS HEADQUARTERS
Original Barlow House: This classic western ranch house built in the early twentieth century circa 1910 evolved over the years with remodels and add-ons. The current owners of the Bar Cross, rather than build a new modern owner’s home in an inappropriate place on top of a hill, opted to renovate this historic structure, which is sited where it should be - with the help of architects who specialize in the renovation of historic homes. In addition to modernizing all the plumbing and electrical infrastructure, they stripped off siding and exposed the original logs, and put in new windows and floors. The result is a tight, lovely “modern” four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom home that looks like it has been there – as it has – for over 100 years. As can be seen from the photos, the furnishings and art are arguably more valuable than the house. The Molesworth and the Molesworth replicas are literally museum quality. (Special note: this listing does not include any personal property, but the owners would be prepared to sell separately almost all the personal property including furnishings, some art, ranch vehicles, and equipment.)
Bunkhouse at Bar Cross: The old bunkhouse located just behind the main house received a similar treatment in 2019 and it is now a comfortable 467 square foot one-bedroom guest cabin with multiple bunk beds, a kitchenette, and a sitting area.
Foreman’s House: This is the home of the ranch foreman who has been on the ranch for about 40 years. It is a small comfortable older house that, according to county records, predates the Barlow House. It has not been renovated but is in good condition.
Horse Barn: This is a classic hand-built hip roofed barn that is estimated to be around 75 years old. It is in good condition and commands a presence in the headquarters compound.
Other Buildings: With the addition of the Willow Creek Ranch to the Bar Cross, the operating center of the ranch has moved to the Willow Creek compound. The original Bar Cross buildings that include shops, calving sheds, and equipment storage are rarely used and were built for another era. They remain usable in most cases.
WILLOW CREEK HEADQUARTERS
Manager’s House: As an indication of the priorities of the current owner, the manager’s house was renovated first - in 2018. It is a comfortable two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom 2,363 square foot frame log home with an unfinished basement and attached two-car garage. It is located on a bench overlooking the lake and the Willow Creek Valley. There is a second two-car garage and a state-of-the-art chicken coop in the same complex of buildings.
Bunkhouse at Willow Creek: The Willow Creek improvements are newer and more modern than the Bar Cross. Most of them were built in the 1960s. They nevertheless needed to be renovated and updated. The 420 square foot frame log bunkhouse is suitable for staff or guests and contains one bedroom, a sitting area, a kitchenette, and one bathroom. It was also renovated in 2018.
Shop: Built in 2017 this 2,688 square foot building has a partial concrete floor and is heated and insulated in this main part. Enclosed gravel eqiupment storage and a lean-to make up the balance of the square footage. The main part has a bathroom and overhead electric doors to bring in equipment. It also includes the ranch office which has its own bathroom and kitchenette.
Other Buildings: In addition to multiple loafing sheds, outbuildings, the round pen, and the arena; this location has a 1,369 square foot horse barn with a heated tack room built in 1966.
The ranch also has a good gravel airstrip for small aircraft.
The New Fork River, whose headwaters are just one mountain pass south of the headwaters of the Green River, flows through the Bar Cross Ranch for over three miles, two-plus miles of which are on deeded land along both sides of the river. The New Fork is known to be a productive fishery with outstanding wade fishing and strong populations of brown, rainbow, and cutthroat trout. A highly regarded and reputable stream bank restoration firm was hired by a previous owner to improve the fish habitat. The results of their work make this one of the most desirable sections of this well-known and popular trout stream in which to fish. As part of the restoration, the entire stretch of the deeded river section has been fenced off.
The ranch also includes an estimated eight miles of Willow Creek. This is a somewhat smaller stream than the New Fork and most anglers feel it has a lot of potential for restoration and rehabilitation. The owner has commissioned a study of it for enhancement but has not pursued any of the recommendations.
There is also a 35-acre private lake located just east of the Willow Creek Headquarters. It attracts incredible numbers of both indigenous and migratory waterfowl and makes an appealing place for an afternoon canoe or kayak outing. There are other smaller private lakes that are primarily used for livestock water. One of them is reported to contain trophy-quality trout!
The ranch also boasts very early and extensive irrigation water rights. These rights cover around 4,242.6 acres of adjudicated original supply. The broad expanse of lush meadows below the Bar Cross Headquarters is the envy of many who pass by the ranch. Many are territorial rights and of great value when one considers that the Green River is one of the main tributaries of the Colorado River, which we all know is vastly oversubscribed.
The owner has gone to considerable expense to develop extensive stock water sources to facilitate their intensive grazing management and to assure that even the most remote corners of the rangeland are grazed.
While literally millions of dollars have already been spent to bring the Bar Cross to its current high level of production and efficiency, the owner has commissioned many additional engineering/prototype plans for water development on the property from pivot sprinklers to water storage and spring developments.
Seller will convey 100% of the mineral rights that they own.
Based upon past years, the real estate taxes are estimated to be $25,368 per year.
The Bar Cross is home to year-round populations of pronghorn, sage grouse, moose, coyote, eagles, and hawks. Elk tend to come onto the ranch in the late fall with trophy quality animals available primarily for the late season. One does however have good private access to large areas of National Forest that adjoins the ranch. The river, creeks, and lake attract hundreds of birds and waterfowl – including a resident pair of trumpeter swans, plus five other nesting pairs of swans, sandhill cranes, and multiple duck species.
The ranch is also a critical part of the second largest migration in North America (https://migrationinitiative.org/content/red-desert-hoback-migration-assessment). This is one of the greatest wildlife events in North America. The Red Desert to Hoback mule deer migration route traverses the ranch bringing hundreds, if not thousands, of mule deer through the area annually. Because of the lakes and the natural geography, there is a “choke point” in the migration corridor on the ranch. This makes it critically important that it be protected from development.
The ranch offers outstanding angling for trout as the New Fork is a blue-ribbon brown trout fishery that has been professionally restored and enhanced. There is big game hunting for multiple species. Both antelope and elk of trophy quality can be taken on the ranch. Of course, immediate private access to the national forest out the back gate opens up multiple hunting and recreational opportunities as well. The ranch owner does qualify for two elk, two pronghorn, and two mule deer tags. Late season hunts for elk on the Bar Cross are particularly exciting.
The critical frontage on Willow Lake opens up another world of recreational amenities, including boating and angling for large lake trout and rainbows. There is a nice beach on the ranch’s frontage which lies in an area that is pretty much inaccessible to the general public.
The 40 Rod BLM area that adjoins the permit area used by the ranch actually fronts on multiple miles of the Green River itself. This provides another outstanding stretch of fishing water that is accessible from the ranch.
While one does have one’s fill of recreation on the ranch and adjoining public lands, it should be recognized that the Wind River Range is generally recognized as one of the premier recreational mountain ranges in the world. It offers hundreds of lakes and 19 of Wyoming’s highest 20 peaks. The Elkhart Trail that is immediately accessible from the ranch is one of only two access points to the famous Continental Divide Trail in the State of Wyoming.
While the Bar Cross had historically been run as a cow/calf operation, the current owners now run primarily stockers. In 2021, perhaps the driest year on record, they were able to run around 2,300 yearlings for the grazing season plus 205 pairs for others for varying periods of time. They also were able to produce over 500 tons of hay. Their current program is to lease a ranch in California where they run around 2,500 yearlings during the winter which they bring to the ranch for the grazing season.
Extensive studies have been done on the ranch as current management uses regenerative ranching practices such as intensively managed grazing, limited use of chemicals, forage stimulating mechanical treatments, and low stress livestock management. The manager points out that these regenerative practices are in their early stages and the ranch has seen great improvement in pasture utilization and a healthy more diverse cross section of plant species. More importantly, these grazing methods have been responsible for the fact that one would be hard pressed to find an “abused” acre anywhere on the ranch despite the drought conditions of the past year. The forest permits have also received the highest compliments from the federal grazing managers. The mix of wildlife and bird species is improving as well. She feels the ranch is on a strong growth track in terms of greater profitability, ecosystem health, and improved carrying capacity.
Located on Meeteetse Creek just northwest of Meeteetse, this 10,596± acre, 500 AU ranch has it all. Over 1,000 irrigated acres, productive rangeland, big game, upland birds, solid, attractive improvements.
Tongue River Refuge is 1,907± deeded acres with 330± irrigated acres. Three miles of the Tongue River, diverse wildlife and terrain, comfortable residences, and agricultural infrastructure for a balanced, owner-rated 150AU ranch.
Located in Big Horn’s Polo/Equestrian community, 320± acre unimproved ranch anchored by a live creek, irrigated meadows, a pond and wetlands adjoining lush foothill pastures. Big views of the Bighorn Mountains.
Custom log home surrounded by trees and big views, this 485± acre ranch sits in the Black Hill Mountains south of Sundance. Impressive improvements in an area with millions of surrounding acres of recreational opportunities.
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