Mason Morse Ranch Company sold a giant checkerboard block of land situated in the Haystack Mountain Range along the North Platte River near Rawlins, Wyoming in Carbon County. The ranch was listed for sale January 17th, 2022 for $11,750,000. The ranch will be in strong hands, purchased by a conservation minded buyer who will continue the agricultural operations on the Ranch. James Rinehart and John Stratman, Brokers and Principal owners of Mason Morse Ranch were the listing agents. Dave Johnson with Hall and Hall represented the Buyer. The ranch closed on July 20th, 2022.

North Platte River Ranch’s expansive land base covered five miles of North Platte River frontage including 700 acres of river bottom, of which approximately 300 acres under irrigation producing yielding of 500 to 600 ton of alfalfa annually. The ranch is an established cow calf operation with additional opportunities to hunt big game species deer, elk, and antelope. The North Platte River is a source for irrigation and blue-ribbon fishing.

In total, the contiguous ranch consists of approximately 25,000 deeded acres along with 40,960 acres of BLM lands, 2,960 acres State school lease, and 23,527 acres of private lease. Improvements included calving vet barn, feedlot, working corrals, two homes and several support buildings for ongoing ranching operations.

Rawlins, Wyoming is an arid, cool climate. Annual precipitation at the airport is nine inches. This increases at the higher elevations of the ranch. The warmest month of the year is July with an average daily high temperature of 84°. The coldest month is January with an average high of 31° and lows of 13°. Humidity is quite low. Average yearly snowfall is 52 inches. Elevation runs from 6,400 ft. at the river to 7,700 ft. at the highest point on the property.

Created in 1868 by Dakota legislature, the county’s name was derived from extensive coal deposits found in the area. Originally covering the entire width of the Wyoming Territory, Carbon County was reduced in size by the creation of Johnson County in 1875 and Natrona County in 1888. Historically, it has been traversed by the Overland Trail, Oregon Trail, Mormon Trail, and both the original route of the Union Pacific Railroad and the Lincoln Highway. Interstate 80 is now the trail of choice for most travelers through the county, although several scenic back roads and byways offer pleasant alternatives.

Checkerboard lands are remnants of early western America when the federal government gave railroad companies alternating sections of land. In 1803, the Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the expanding United States and a large part of what is now Wyoming became an official part of the country. Over the next 100 years, explorers, surveyors, mountain men, pioneers, Pony Express riders and homesteaders traversed the state looking for opportunity.

The transcontinental railroad, completed in 1869, left an indelible mark on southern Wyoming. It was financed in part by land grants to the railroad under the Union Pacific Act of 1862. Congress granted every other section (one square mile) of land within 20 miles of the railroad to the Union Pacific, which tried to sell it to raise capital for the venture. The land could then be sold for a profit at a later date. This was not practical in the vast semi-arid rangelands of the West. Many sections in remote areas remained unsold and in government possession, leaving a permanent checkerboard pattern of alternating public and private land.

The North Platte River Ranch is an attractive investment opportunity for a large scale low overhead operating ranch with an excellent lease and tenant in place. A combination of ranching and recreational opportunities along the riparian North Platte River represented a strong financial opportunity for an investor,” said James Rinehart, Listing Agent, Mason Morse Ranch Company.

Deeded: 25,000± Acres
BLM: 40,960 ± Acres
Private lease: 23,527± Acres
State lease: 2,960± Acres
Total: 92,447± Acres

The BLM permit allows for an estimated 4,320 AUMs of grazing on BLM land and an additional 5,000 AUMs on deeded, private lease and State lands. The private lease, which is approximately 23,527 acres, is from Aggie Grazing. As a result of the checkerboard ownership, the holder of the BLM permit manages the grazing on the Aggie Grazing lease. These lands were former UP Railroad lands. This lease is renewed annually but has been with North Platte River Ranch for many years. Wyoming State lands lease features 2,960 acres and are intermittent through the property similar to a checkerboard. An additional 700 acres are fenced in with the property and currently, no lease is being paid for these acres.

The ranch is a well-known as a cow-calf ranching operation, with an arid climate and natural protection allowing for range calving. Pairs are turned out onto the northern portion of the ranch at the beginning of April and remain on the ranch through November. The cows are wintered on the southern portion of North Platte River Ranch. Supplemental feeding requirements vary on the winter conditions and hay is typically fed from late December until the end of April. Those requirements are typically 1 to 2 ton per head. Currently the ranch is in the final year of a five year lease with a solid ranch tenant, producing a favorable return to the Owner.

Numerous big game species can be found on North Platte River Ranch and include antelope, deer and elk. Antelope are commonly located throughout the ranch but are concentrated on the central and western portions of the ranch due to terrain, vegetation and climate. The rugged terrain in the Haystack Mountains and the high ridgelines create an excellent habitat for mule deer. Elk roam throughout the property, with a small resident herd. Transitory populations can be found on North Platte River Ranch during the fall and winter. The North Platte River runs through the property for five miles, offering water opportunities such as fishing, wading and rafting. Three and a half miles of the river frontage provides a secluded atmosphere with no public roads or public shore access and is only occasioned with some float traffic. Numerous species of fish can be found in the North Platte River and include brown, rainbow, cutthroat trout and walleye.

Livestock water is provided by electric and solar wells, numerous springs, 30 earthen tanks and the North Platte River. Water for the headquarters and feedlot is provided by the Sinclair refinery at a very reasonable cost and is of high quality. Currently, livestock water provides for the needs of the ranch as it is operated.

Oil, gas and coal mineral rights are believed to be reserved by prior ownership. Wind potential in the area has attracted attention from wind developers. While having been approached for development rights by a number of firms, the property remains free of any leases or options. Wind rights will be transferred to the buyer at closing.

About Mason Morse Ranch Company
A leading provider of farm, ranch and recreational land brokerage services across the American west. Professional services include real estate brokerage, auction and market analysis. With roots dating back to 1961 in the Roaring Fork Valley near Aspen, Colorado, the Ranch Company specializes in helping clients buy and sell high-value and large acreage farm, ranch and recreational land properties. Combined, Mason & Morse Ranch Company agents offer clients more than 133 years of experience in real estate land sales and acquisitions. 877-207-9700

About Listing Agent James Rinehart
As an avid hunter and a desire to call Wyoming home, James Rinehart obtained his real estate license in 1991. After more than 27 successful years in the ranch real estate brokerage business, an opportunity presented itself to merge resources with Mason & Morse Ranch Company. The changing dynamics of land brokerage and James's commitment to provide his experience and effective marketing services for clients were key decision factors in selecting Mason & Morse Ranch Company as a partner. James's satisfaction as a farm and ranch broker stems from helping improve wildlife habitat and wide-open spaces through the sales of quality hunting and fishing properties utilizing conservation practices. Over the years the opportunities to be involved in conservation ranch brokerage has increased. James has been involved in approximately 75,000 acres of conservation easement related transactions for buyers and sellers, either through the sale of eased ranches, the placement of easements after the sale or lands being placed under permanent protection.

James Rinehart
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 1-307-459-0035

About Listing Agent John Stratman
Since 1959, John Stratman has lived and worked on ranches in Colorado, Montana and Arizona and has owned and operated a ranch in eastern Colorado raising registered Red Angus seedstock and Quarter Horses. Professionally, John spent 18 years with MetLife’s Agricultural Investment Department, where he held various positions from Field Representative to Regional Manager. In addition to making agriculture real estate loans, investment activities included purchasing, managing and marketing large agriculture properties in several western states. During his corporate career, John lived in various Western states where he became familiar with the agriculture and property. Working as a professional real estate broker since 2001, John has bought and sold farms and ranches in many western states and maintains an extensive contact list with real estate related professionals and landowners across the west’s vast and varied landscape.

John Stratman
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 1-303-536-7571