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ARCHIVED  February 1, 1998

Mountain residential project aimed at Front Range buyers

JACKSON COUNTY — Few Front Range residents have the opportunity to live on a working cattle ranch without the responsibility of managing it and the accompanying herd.Fort Collins businessman and mapping visionary Craig Harrison and his Boulder partner, Donald Culver, plan to change that with a small residential community in Jackson County.
Called Connor Creek Ranch, the project is located in the Gould area on Colorado Highway 14 on a 2,000-acre working ranch in scenic North Park.
Harrison, of Harrison Resource Corp., and Culver, a long-time Boulder businessman, both are cattle ranchers. Culver owns North Park˜s Owl Creek Ranch, near the Connor Creek property.
Culver, who came to Boulder almost 40 years ago from Baltimore, developed a similar project on his The Farm in Boulder Valley on 95th Street between Louisville and Longmont.
He now operates Countryside Management Corp., which oversees more than $50 million in assets. Culver once was chairman of the board of National State Bank in Boulder. It later was sold to First National Bank of Denver, and eventually became Norwest.
Additionally, he was a pioneer in Charolais cattle genetic engineering.
The two intend to use Connor Creek Ranch as a working ranch for summer grazing of herds, while setting aside 320 acres for the first phase of a small, exclusive single-family community that will have just nine sites to start. If successful, a second phase will conclude the project with another 10 homes.
"We took the unproductive part of the ranch for the residences," Harrison said. "It so happened that it was the high area with the most spectacular views."
Indeed, each 35-acre lot — which has a three-acre building envelope for a residence — offers different vistas of the Never Summer Range in Rocky Mountain National Park and the Rawah Wilderness Area. Colorado state forest land is adjacent to the property.
"My wife and I have had the Owl Creek Ranch in Jackson County for 12 or 13 years," Culver said from his winter home in Antigua.
In Boulder County, the Culvers opened approximately 45 acres of their more-than 700-acre ranch to 18 exclusive home sites. Another 260 acres was sold to Boulder County Open Space, with the Culvers retaining the right to graze cattle there. The idea, too, was to maintain a working cattle ranch where the homeowners enjoy the experience without having to run the operation.
The Connor Creek Ranch, Culver said, had been owned by a Kansas family for almost 50 years before he and Harrison purchased it in January 1997. It was homesteaded in the 1870s by the Connor family, which had come to Colorado from Boston to work mines. Prior to the Harrison/Culver purchase, it had only three different owners.
Harrison and Culver hope to market the lots, which range from $165,000 to $185,000, to buyers in Fort Collins, Greeley, Loveland, Boulder and Denver. Homes constructed on the property likely will be a minimum of $250,000, and the minimum residence size allowed is 1,500 square feet.
The buyer profile includes retirees looking for a summer residence or place to entertain family and grandchildren, someone who can conduct business from home, or those who are fairly wealthy or have inherited money. One lot already has been sold.
A domestic water well will have to be drilled on each site, while Mountain Parks Electric will provide electricity. Individual septic systems also are required.
The land is approximately
1 3/4 hours from Fort Collins, but it also puts would-be buyers just over an hour from Steamboat Springs. The town of Walden, about 20 minutes away, offers small-town amenities and supplies, as well as a paved airstrip capable of handling small jet aircraft.
To prepare for the project, Harrison put to use his renowned geographic information systems (GIS) mapping data to determine the best positioning for building sites, recreational trails and a trout lake that will be built after the fourth lot is sold. The lake will include trout condos, cone-shaped underwater dwellings where smaller fish can mature in a safe environment. Trout fishing also is available on the nearby Michigan River.
Using his Dataset mapping database, Harrison can view the broad area of Connor Creek Ranch, as well as zoom in for closeups of the terrain and trees.
In addition to a single-family home, property owners will be able to construct guest houses and out-buildings in the three-acre building envelopes, as well as have horses on the land.
Trails will connect the nonbuilding site portions of each owner˜s 35 acres.
Harrison said that from Highway 14, motorists will see either none or just one of the homes, depending on its design.
Because the average mountain ranch costs $1.5 million, Harrison said this project affords people the opportunity to enjoy the lifestyle at a much-reduced cost and effort.
"It allows them to feel like they own a ranch," Harrison said.
He is acting as the listing broker, and the project also is being marketed by Century 21 Ski Town in Steamboat Springs.
TST Inc. Consulting Engineers of Fort Collins did civil engineering on the project, and Winston Associates Inc. of Boulder helped with land planning.
Harrison and Culver purchased Connor Creek Ranch in January 1997. Roads were installed last year, and utilities have been planned, making the property builder-ready.

JACKSON COUNTY — Few Front Range residents have the opportunity to live on a working cattle ranch without the responsibility of managing it and the accompanying herd.Fort Collins businessman and mapping visionary Craig Harrison and his Boulder partner, Donald Culver, plan to change that with a small residential community in Jackson County.
Called Connor Creek Ranch, the project is located in the Gould area on Colorado Highway 14 on a 2,000-acre working ranch in scenic North Park.
Harrison, of Harrison Resource Corp., and Culver, a long-time Boulder businessman, both are cattle ranchers. Culver owns North Park˜s Owl Creek Ranch, near…

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