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Steamboat’s Big Creek Ranch Purchased at $39.9M

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Steamboat Springs’ Big Creek Ranch has sold in an off-market deal for $39.9M. Tommy Bagwell, who was represented by Live Water Properties Brokers Alex Maher and Brian Hartley, purchased the 4,863-acre ranch which was represented by Christy Belton of Ranch and Resort Realty.

Located north of Steamboat Resort, Big Creek Ranch is an iconic Colorado ranch. The ranch boasts an elegantly designed 10,000 sq. ft., eight-bedroom main home, along with a 3,000 sq. ft. manager’s home, several classic cabins, and a historic barn. Big Creek flows over six miles through the ranch, which is a tributary of the Elk River, a tributary of the Yampa River, and ultimately into the Colorado River. This headwater nature creates a completely pristine and private fishery experience for the new owners.

Tommy Bagwell was the owner of American Proteins, before selling the company to Tyson Foods in 2018. Originally founded by his father in 1949, the company is a world leader in poultry protein and fat sales. The Bagwell family owns a similar sporting property in north Georgia and enlisted Live Water Properties to help purchase a ranch with the goal of creating a legacy retreat for their family with sporting elements and privacy. After narrowing the search to Colorado, they looked across the state, from the Vail Valley, South Park, Gunnison, and Crested Butte. Their search eventually led them to Steamboat and the Big Creek Ranch. The property was not actively listed at the time of purchase, though it had been listed previously.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, “Mr. Bagwell said he spent several years searching for the right property and was drawn to the privacy of Big Creek Ranch. About 80% of his property line abuts land owned by the U.S. Forest Service. The eight-bedroom, 10,000-square-foot main residence also is situated a few miles from the main road. ‘You can be out roasting s’mores and know in the next 100 years, no one will have a house on the ridge looking into your property,’ Mr. Bagwell said. ‘That’s very rare.’”

“As the crow flies, it’s less than 10 miles from the resort area,” Live Water Properties Broker Brian Hartley told the Wall Street Journal. The article continues with Hartley adding, “the ranch’s size, proximity to town and privacy would be impossible to replicate in other popular resort areas, including Jackson Hole, Wyo., Telluride, Vail and Aspen. Compared with other resort valleys, Steamboat has been under the radar until recently. That shifted in the past couple of years. Numerous large parcels traded hands in late 2020 and 2021.”

The ranch is partially under conservation easement by Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust. As exceptional stewards of the land, the Bagwell family intends to pursue additional conservation and habitat enhancement projects on the ranch. According to Live Water Properties Associate Broker Brian Hartley, “The Bagwell Family looks forward to continuing the long-standing agricultural practices on this iconic Colorado working and sporting ranch. With an eye towards preservation and land stewardship, the family will be undertaking efforts to improve the fishery habitat along Big Creek, as well as considering the placement of conservation easements on the ranch to protect the private valley in perpetuity”.

Read the entire Wall Street Journal article here. 


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