Grizzly Ranch in North Park sells to rancher for $18.5M |

Grizzly Ranch in North Park sells to rancher for $18.5M

Grizzly Ranch, across the Continental Divide from Steamboat Springs, is bracketed by the Park Range on the west and the Medicine Bow Range on the east.
Courtesy photo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — North Park, just across the Continental Divide from Steamboat Springs, is ranch country like the Yampa Valley but without the luxury homes. The region, sandwiched between the Park Range and Mount Zirkel Wilderness, has a stark, windblown, beauty of its own.

The park is home to Jackson County, population 1,356. Montana novelist Thomas McGuane might call it, “The High Lonesome.” 

North Park is where local Realtors Pam Vanatta and Ren Martyn of Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty served as the listing brokers in the $18.5 million sale this month of sprawling Grizzly Ranch — a working cattle spread that has six residences (none of them grand homes) on 8,686 deeded acres plus 15,000 leased acres.

Rob Pfister of Pfister Land Company in Buffalo, Wyoming, was the buyer’s broker.

Vanatta and Martyn described the buyers as members of a very successful multi-generational Wyoming ranch family with staying power.

“This is a family that has a very, very long investment (outlook),” Martyn said. “They recognize the value of the land, the value of the water (rights), and understand that at some time, there might be a conservation opportunity,” Martyn said. “When they put all of those pieces to the puzzle, it made sense for them to move forward.”

Vanatta said the increasing scarcity of properties like this one also factors into the purchase.

“These are pretty sophisticated ranchers, like real sophisticated. And like a lot of ranchers, they like a lot of land,” she said. “You just can’t find parcels like this. This was a unique piece of property.”

Pfister, also an attorney, said his client Kallen Kimzey was able to purchase the ranch out of bankruptcy. Kimzey is the principle of two businesses based in Pine Bluffs, Wyoming, that serve the energy industry. His family also owns a ranch between Cheyenne and Laramie.

Grizzly Ranch includes a productive oil lease and senior water rights to 226 cubic feet per second in 16 miles of creeks and streams. That’s water available for irrigation, not the total volume in the stream.

The largest streams are Grizzly Creek and Little Grizzly Creek. Below their confluence the stream becomes the Platte River.

The buildings at Grizzly Ranch are a story by themselves. The original owners had a grand vision for a high-altitude Angus cattle breeding facility that would generate cattle sales in an unusually large steel sale barn on the property. There are also approximately 25 small corrals, each with their own small shelters for livestock. 

That vision for the ranch was never realized, and Pfister said he’s not sure how his clients will make use of the multi-story sale barn with motorized, retractable bleachers, though Pfister has already fielded several inquiries about wedding receptions.

Vanatta credited Martyn with having the contacts to identify Pfister as a broker who might have a client for the sprawling ranch and then working directly with him to arrange the deal.

“The reach of Steamboat Sotheby’s ranch division, which Ren heads up, is important,” she said. “Ren has relationships up and down the Rocky Mountain Region.”

Martyn, who comes from a background in Florida that included both cattle and the real state business, said he enjoys the intricacies of ranching operations in today’s world.

Grizzly Ranch, with its many acres of productive hay meadows and lush pastures, he said, will allow the new owners to adapt to changing market conditions and choose to emphasize hay production, a cow-calf operation or pasturing yearling steers from outside Colorado when one or the other makes the most economic sense.

“This sale had a lot of considerations and a lot of details,” he said. “And that’s exactly what I love.”

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1.

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