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Pass Creek Ranch

$12,450,000 Saratoga, WY 27,125± Deeded Acres

Executive Summary

Pass Creek Ranch is comprised of 60,004± total acres (27,125± deeded, 24,382± BLM lease, 3,040± state lease, and 5,457± private lease) just ten minutes from the attractive community of Saratoga, WY. The picturesque ranch headquarters lies along Pass Creek, a trout stream which flows through the ranch for approximately four miles, providing water rights for approximately 1,364 acres of irrigated hay fields which surround the headquarters. The ranch improvements include two houses and cattle working facilities, which are high quality and in excellent condition. There is a lease of the ranch in place to a single, high-quality tenant which includes the ranch’s grazing, crops and improvements, but not fishing or hunting. This provides an outstanding income at a high rate of return to the owner. Elk, deer and antelope are plentiful, providing abundant recreational opportunities to complement this quality investment in an owner-rated 1,200 AU working ranch.

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Just the Facts

  • 60,004± total acres; comprised of 27,125± deeded acres, 24,382± BLM lease, 3,040± state lease, and 5,457± private lease
  • Ten miles from Saratoga
  • Four miles of Pass Creek, a year-round trout stream
  • Leased through April 30, 2020 at an excellent rate of return to a single, strong tenant
  • 3,113 AUM BLM lease
  • Extensive irrigation rights
  • 1,200 AU by owner estimate
  • Commercial air service in Laramie, WY (1.5-2 hours) or a private jet-capable airport is a 10-minute drive from the ranch
  • Elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, antelope hunting with non-resident landowner tags available
  • Fishing in Pass Creek for brook and brown trout and 40± acre Kinney Reservoir for large rainbow trout
  • Two ranch residences, mobile home, enclosed livestock barns with scale and cattle-working facilities, pipe corrals, shop, equipment barn, livestock barn and other outbuildings

General Description

Pass Creek Ranch is a legitimate 1,000+ cow/calf production ranch with strong recreational resources in close proximity to an attractive community. The combination of those amenities puts the ranch in somewhat rare territory, particularly when the investment value is considered - whether based upon cost per acre, cost per animal unit, or rate of return. The nearby mountains offer tremendous scenery, additional recreational opportunities, and supply the ranch’s substantial water resources.

The overall condition of the ranch is very good. Forage has more recently been under-utilized, fences are maintained, additional livestock water has been developed or expanded, homes have been recently renovated, and the cattle-working facilities are relatively new and of high-quality construction.

Hunting opportunities on the ranch are excellent, complimenting the ranch’s attraction as a land investment. Elk and antelope are particularly abundant, with mule deer and whitetail deer present in more modest numbers. Landowner tag availability makes hunting the ranch on a consistent basis possible for a non-resident landowner.

Broker's Comments

When considering Pass Creek Ranch, the outstanding rate of return from lease revenue immediately grabs your attention. The quality of the tenant, condition of the ranch, and ease of ownership make Pass Creek a very attractive offering for investment-minded buyers. For producers, Pass Creek offers a viable 1,000-1,200 cow operation with excellent water resources, just ten minutes from the attractive small town of Saratoga. The ranch is located in a beautiful part of Wyoming, against the Medicine Lodge Mountains. For the sportsman, the ranch offers excellent big game hunting for elk, deer and antelope, and trout fishing on the ranch as well as in the nearby Blue Ribbon-designated Upper North Platte River.

Learn about the locale

Location

The ranch is accessed by county road off Wyoming Highway 130, approximately ten miles north of the attractive community of Saratoga. The headquarters lie along Pass Creek, overshadowed by Elk Mountain which sits approximately eight miles to the east. At 11,152 feet elevation, Elk Mountain stands alone on the northerly end of the Medicine Lodge Mountains, making it a prominent feature in the area. The majority of the irrigated hay base is located at the headquarters and the majority of the range land is located approximately six miles to the northeast.

Saratoga has a population of approximately 1,700 people and provides basic ranch services including public air service at Shively Field Airport, which contains an 8,800-foot asphalt runway. Approximately 30 minutes to the northwest of the ranch is the town of Rawlins (population 9,000) which is the Carbon County seat and offers an increased menu of services, including the Rawlins Municipal Airport.

Locale

This area of south-central Wyoming is characterized by high plains, in the general range of 7,000 feet in elevation, which abut the Sierra Madre and Medicine Bow Mountains, rising to over 11,000 feet. The Upper North Platte River begins in these mountains and nearby Colorado and flows north through the town of Saratoga, whose motto is “Where the Trout Leap in Main Street.” This portion of the river is nationally known for its high-quality trout fishing and in Wyoming is classified as blue ribbon trout water from the Colorado state line to Sage Creek, approximately 23 river-miles north of Saratoga. Pass Creek is a tributary of the North Platte not far downstream of Sage Creek.

Saratoga is named for its hot springs, with natural hot water that is clear, odorless, and thought to have medicinal value comparable to the famous springs of Germany. After relaxing at the Hobo Hot Pool, guests often dine at the historic Wolf Hotel.

Just outside of Saratoga, the Old Baldy Club is a prestigious, members-only golf and fly fishing club. It was established in 1962 by George Storer of Storer Broadcasting and offers a country-club experience in a western setting. Old Baldy provides executive accommodations, dining and services highlighted by eighteen holes of championship golf and 80 miles of blue ribbon trout water.

Ranching in Carbon County began in the 1880s with a combination of sheep and cattle ranches. Today ranches in the area are typically large holdings comprised of a combination of private and public land, with ownership typically found in checkerboard fashion. This pattern of ownership dates back to the transcontinental railroad, which was completed in 1869, and was financed in part by land grants to Union Pacific, which was granted every other section of land within 20 miles of the railroad. Like many neighboring ranches, Pass Creek Ranch holds a permit to graze the public Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and State of Wyoming lands in conjunction with the privately deeded lands.

Climate

The ranch headquarters along Pass Creek is at 6,800 feet elevation with the altitude of the ranch ranging from approximately 6,775 feet to 7,200 feet. In general terms, the closer to Elk Mountain, the more precipitation the ranch receives. As a result, the headquarters which contains the majority of the irrigated hay base receives more rain and heavier snows than does the Dana Meadows section to the north which is primarily comprised of range land.

Climate data for Saratoga shows an average temperature range in July of 82-50 degrees and an average range in January of 33-11 degrees. Annual precipitation averages approximately 10 inches with average annual snowfall of approximately 52 inches.

Learn more about the property

Acreage (Deeded & Leased)

Pass Creek Ranch is comprised of approximately 60,004 total acres in two units. The Pass Creek unit includes the ranch headquarters and the flood irrigated hay base along Pass Creek, which flows through the ranch for approximately four miles, as well as about one-quarter of the ranch’s rangeland. Approximately six miles to the northeast, the Dana Meadows unit is comprised primarily of native range and irrigated and sub-irrigated meadows for which the area is named. This portion of the ranch also holds significant irrigation water rights as well as a 480 acre-feet storage right in the ranch’s Kinney Reservoir. As is typical in the area, BLM lands are interspersed with many of the deeded lands in checkerboard fashion. The combination of deeded ownership and leased public lands increases the ranch’s carrying capacity and reduces the overall cost per animal unit.

Deeded Acres: 27,125±

State Leased Acres: 3,040±

Private Leased Acres: 5,457±

BLM Leased Acres: 24,382±

Total Leased Acres: 32,879±

Total Acres: 60,004±

* All acreages are approximations.

Improvements

With the exceptions of range corrals, all structural improvements on the ranch are located at the ranch headquarters along Pass Creek. There are two traditional ranch residences, an over-barn apartment, plus a mobile home. One of the traditional residences was built in 1975 and the other in 1990. Both residences have been substantially renovated in 2015 and 2016 and are currently occupied by the lessees.

At the headquarters there is also a barn, calving barn and loafing shed, machine shed and shop, and corrals. Just east of the headquarters is an additional metal barn, with indoor cattle-working facilities and pipe corrals. There are apartment or office facilities upstairs in the newer barn, as well.

Water Rights

A basic assessment of the ranch’s water rights was conducted by a professional water resources company. The information contained in their assessment should be seen as a high-level summary of the ranch’s rights based only on Wyoming’s e-permit system. A more thorough review of the ranch’s water rights is necessary to fully understand the current and potential irrigation.

The assessment highlights four active water rights along Pass Creek which total 21.27 cfs with a nominal place of use of 1,489± acres. Considering overlapping place of use, it appears that realistically, roughly 1,180 acres can be irrigated along Pass Creek. Water is conveyed by the Hamilton Ditch and McDonald-Jackson Ditch.

Five active water rights are in the Dana Meadows/Kinney Reservoir area. They total 4.98 cfs and 350± acres of use. In addition, there is a 480-acre-foot storage right for the reservoir. This area is currently used as flood irrigated and sub-irrigated pasture, but has the potential to be converted to sprinkler irrigation.

A summary of the 63 water rights believed to be appurtenant to the ranch is available on request from Hall and Hall. The tables below show the primary irrigation rights. These include the ranch’s flowing water rights on Pass Creek and the Dana Meadows units as well as the Dana Springs/Kinney Reservoir storage rights.

PASS CREEK RANCH IRRIGATION WATER RIGHTS FROM PASS CREEK
Water Right NumberAssociated PermitPriority DateStatusOwnerUseFlow (CFS)AcresT426.0-OR 01/2054/30/1885Fully AdjudicatedArchibald Campbell Et AlIrrigation4.28300CR CC35/153P1682.0E1/7/1907Fully AdjudicatedJamesDickersonIrrigation5.86410CR CC53/152P9337.0D1/7/1907Fully AdjudicatedJamesDickersonIrrigation3.63254CR CC47/577P4387.0E10/20/1920Fully AdjudicatedArchie & Joseph CampbellIrrigation7.5525 

PASS CREEK RANCH IRRIGATION WATER RIGHTS IN THE KINNEY RESERVOIR/DANA SPRINGS AREA
Water Right NumberAssociated PermitPriority DateStatusOwnerUseSourceFlow (CFS)Acres/VolumeCR CC1/031P3778.0D3/17/1902Fully AdjudicatedH.P. HansenDomesticStockIrrigationDana Springs0.2820CR CC31/217P5144.0D6/19/1902Fully AdjudicatedE.C. KinneyDomesticIrrigationKinney Creek1.2185CR CC31/216P5835.0D2/16/1904Fully AdjudicatedE.C. KinneyIrrigationDana Springs1.57110CR 31/215P474.0R2/16/1904CompleteE. KinneyIrrigationDana SpringsReservoir Storage480 AFCR CC27/4651574.0E7/16/1906Fully AdjudicatedH. Peter HansenDomesticStockIrrigationDana Springs1.92135

Stock water is provided by a number of sources with reservoirs, spring developments and wells supplementing the smaller streams that are abundant in portions of the ranch’s range. New stock water developments in recent years have increased cattle dispersion and range utilization.

Mineral Rights

Mineral rights held by the seller are not offered as part of the sale of the ranch. 

Taxes

Taxes for Pass Creek Ranch are approximately $11,239 based upon previous years.

Learn about the recreational amenities

Wildlife Resources

Pass Creek Ranch supports a variety of wildlife species. Resident herds of deer, elk, and antelope are abundant. Elk are found on the ranch most of the year, including the early fall archery season. Larger numbers arrive after the rifle season opens, when hunting pressure on nearby public lands pushes additional animals onto the ranch. It’s typical to have a few hundred elk on the ranch during hunting season, and the owner and friends have filled 2-4 tags on mature bulls in the first day or two of rifle season with very minimal effort.

Pass Creek is ideal for a group of investors who have an interest in the big game hunting because of tag availability, the diversity of game, and overall size of the ranch. The ranch currently receives two landowner tags for each of the three species. But, because the ranch is comprised of separate units and lies in multiple game management areas, each supporting game consistently, there is excellent potential for additional landowner tags. Drawing odds for elk are also very good on significant portions of the ranch because a majority of the hunt unit is privately owned, which limits access and presumably applicants. 

Trout fishing is available in Pass Creek. Brown trout are most common with rainbows making up a minority of the population. A 2005 survey found trout from 4-21 inches, with a survey estimate of 405 trout per mile from the Pass Creek confluence to the Interstate 80 bridge. In addition, Kinney Reservoir has been stocked in the past and holds sizeable trout. 

Learn about the general operations

General Operations

The ranch is currently leased to a single, high-quality tenant. The lease is for a five-year term, commencing in June, 2015 and expiring April 30, 2020. The tenant has exclusive use for grazing, cultivation of crops and use of all facilities. The tenant is responsible for maintaining the homes, barns, fences, wells and other improvements. The landlord is obligated to contribute toward upkeep and maintenance as well as paying the taxes and all third-party leases – BLM, state and private.

Leases and Permits

  Lease TypeCostTerm of LeaseAUM'sState Grazing - Lease No. 3-7918$564.303.1.09-31.19N/AState Grazing - Lease No. 3-8027$659.263.1.15-3.1.25N/ABLM Permit #00827$1,299.766.18.15-4.30.20616BLM Permit #00828$248.986.18.15-4.30.20118BLM Permit #00840$56.976.18.15-4.30.2027BLM Permit #00844$616.126.18.15-4.30.20292BLM Permit #00847$27.436.18.15-4.30.2013BLM Permit #00829$4,319.176.18.15-4.30.202,047Andarko Lease - Audit No. D0987$3,400.001.1-12.31 (Auto Renew)N/ATotal$11,191.99  

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