The Knorr ranch, located near the northern tip of Summit County – south of Heeney, was one of the largest remaining undeveloped private land holdings in Summit County. The 1,123-acre parcel was put up for sale this spring. Thanks to a complex series of land deals, the county and neighboring landowners will preserve Knorr Ranch, one of the last jewels of the old West left standing.
The Knorr family has owned and ranched the land next to the Blue River since they set up their homestead in the late 1800s. They later moved their home up the shore when the dam and reservoir were built in the ’40s. For the past few decades, the Knorrs and the county have been talking about how to keep the land open and free of development.
The sixth generation of the Knorr family put the land up for sale this past spring for $8 million.
Two neighboring landowners, Sean Flanigan and Doug Childs, were shocked when they saw the for-sale signs pop up on the Knorr ranch. Action was immediately taken by Flanigan, Childs, the Knorrs and Summit County to protect the property and keep it undeveloped. After extensive negotiations, the Knorrs sold the land to Flanigan and Childs at a discounted price of $7 million with a $1.6 million contribution from the county.
Flanigan and Childs have now dedicated a conservation easement across the Knorr ranch. The easement ensures that the land will be preserved only for ranching or conservation purposes. Summit County will acquire 505 acres of the property, Flanigan will retain 513 acres and Childs will retain 105 acres for ranching use.
The county is currently leasing its 505 acres to Flanigan Land and Cattle for ranching until it loses its agricultural value, at which point it may be turned into public land for recreation.
Aside from the views, the easement also protects critical senior water rights tied to the land. Parts of the land act as natural aquifers and drainage points that provide water for wetlands, surrounding forestland and local wildlife.
Colorado Parks & Wildlife’s Habitat Protection Program also provided a $10,000 grant for the project as the land is valuable grazing land for mule deer, elk and other wildlife. Open Space & Trails for Summit County is delighted this transaction came to fruition. They are dedicated to keeping contiguous open space in the county, ensuring that Summit remains a mostly open and wild frontier on this side of the Continental Divide.
For more information in regards to properties available with land in Summit County or other areas, give us a call at (970) 453-1450.