Mission Ranch is a unique offering that combines a productive balanced cattle operation with exceptional fishing and hunting in a historically-significant and beautiful setting. The Ranch includes 4,417± total acres, of which 3,777± acres are deeded and 640± are state lease, providing productive native pasture, cottonwood-filled riparian bottoms and about 260± acres of pivot and wheel-line irrigated land. The famed Yellowstone River forms the northern border of the Ranch for almost three miles and when combined with Mission Creek and the private Spring Creek that both traverse the Ranch, it creates an exceptional and diverse variety of fishing opportunities for anglers. The seasonal waterfowl, antelope, whitetail and mule deer populations on the Ranch will certainly impress hunters.
Located just minutes east of Livingston, the Ranch is easily accessible year round via the Mission Creek exit off Interstate 90. The Interstate separates the Ranch into two distinct north and south operating units. On the south side of the Interstate, Mission Creek Road, a well-maintained county gravel road, provides access to the Ranch Headquarters and the southern portion of the Ranch. The Ranch Headquarters are comfortably improved with two homes, the historic Mission Ranch barn, shop, outbuildings, corrals, cattle handling facilities and outdoor riding arena. The historic appeal of this setting is readily apparent and includes the original site of Historic Fort Parker located on Mission Creek. Mission Creek has provided fresh water for many centuries of area residents and travelers.
Located in Montana’s celebrated Yellowstone Region, the Yellowstone River forms the north boundary of the Ranch for approximately three miles. The well sodded riparian meadows along the river transition to the higher-elevation with rolling hills of native grass pastures to the south providing panoramic views of the snow-capped Absaroka Mountains. The Absaroka Range ranges in elevation from 9,100′ to 11,200′, and provides a magnificent backdrop for the Ranch. Views across the river to the northwest of the Bridger Mountains and Sheep Mountain, and the dramatic Crazy Mountains to the north, create a classic Montana setting and stunning mountain vistas in several directions.
Mission Spring, in the River Pasture to the north, is the water source for a spring creek network that has been improved over the years to enhance the fishing with a professionally designed in-stream structure that hosts healthy aquatic life. The abundant rainbow and brown trout are very wary and will test the skills of even the most seasoned angler. Lined with mature cottonwood trees, the riparian river bottom attracts a wide range of Montana’s wildlife species and is a prime whitetail deer and migratory waterfowl habitat.
Utilized for many decades as a cow-calf cattle operation, Mission Ranch has been skillfully managed by a third-generation ranching family since 1944 and runs efficiently for a buyer desiring simplicity of ownership. This unique offering in today’s market combines a productive cattle operation in a historic setting with easy access to quality amenities in nearby Livingston and Bozeman. Mission Ranch is an attractive, competitively-priced operating cattle ranch, with exceptional fishing and hunting in one of Montana’s famed locales.
Located just ten minutes east of Livingston off Interstate 90 at the Mission Creek Exit, Mission Ranch is easily accessible year-round. Mission Creek Road is a well-maintained county gravel road that provides access to the Ranch Headquarters and the southern portion of the Ranch. Situated about 50 miles to the south of the Ranch is the North Entrance of Yellowstone National Park and the quaint Montana town of Gardiner. The vibrant university town of Bozeman is a regional hub and is located 35 minutes to the west of the Ranch, and Billings, the largest city in Montana, is about a 1½ hour’s drive to the east. There are three airports that provide easy access to the Ranch. Mission Field (LVM) in Livingston borders the Ranch to the west and has three runways, – one 5701’ x 75’ asphalt runway, which is in good condition, and two turf runways also in good condition. LVM offers limited services including 100 Octane and Jet A Fuel, charter services, and limited hanger facilities. Communications are provided by CTAF/UNICOM: 123.0, WX ASOS: 135.275, and by Great Falls Radio on Frequency 122.2. Additional information is available by calling manager Russel Ferguson at 406-222-6504. Recently upgraded, the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport at Gallatin Field (BZN) in Belgrade is the busiest airport in Montana and offers two full-service FBOs and excellent commercial services through Alaska, Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier Airlines, and United Airlines. BZN offers direct flights to fifteen cities around the nation including Seattle, Salt Lake City, Denver, and Minneapolis. Logan Airport in Billings is a 1½ hour drive to the east of the Ranch and offers a similar complement of direct commercial flights to regional airports.
LIVINGSTON & SURROUNDING AREA
Surrounded by mountains and ranch land, the bustling town of Livingston, with a population of approximately 7,400, offers city amenities with the charm of a historic western town. Centered in the Yellowstone River Valley, Livingston is the home of many diverse industries and businesses. A multitude of coffee shops and art galleries intertwine through the downtown with boutique-style retail stores including a gourmet wine & cheese specialty shop and restaurants offering an array of local beef and buffalo burgers to fine gourmet dining. Livingston is home to many notable casual- and fine-dining restaurants including Rib & Chop House, 2nd Street Bistro, Gils Goods, and the Murray Hotel. The acclaimed Chico Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa in the Paradise Valley is a short 30-minute drive south of the Ranch. For ranching supplies, the Spurline in Livingston and Murdoch’s in Bozeman offer a full line of quality feed, fencing, and vet supplies as well as western wear. Livingston HealthCare provides quality medical care including a 25-bed critical access hospital, a multi-specialty physician practice, rehabilitation services, and home-based services. Livingston HealthCare recently completed a $50-million expansion and offers excellent patient-centered care. From small consulting firms to large corporations like PrintingForLess.com ‒ the nation’s first e-commerce commercial printer, Livingston is an ideal community to raise a family and grow a business.
Livingston Public Schools offer pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. Washington School provides a part-time preschool and full-day kindergarten. B.A. Winans Elementary School provides first and second grades. East Side Intermediate School offers grades third through fifth, and Sleeping Giant Middle School is grades sixth through eighth. Park High School, serving grades 9-12, is designated District #1. With class sizes averaging 26 students, Park High School graduates consistently score above both the state and national averages on the American College Test (ACT). Since 1979, 21 Park High School students have been National Merit commended students, semi-finalists, or finalists. Park High School interscholastic teams compete in the Montana High School Association as a Class ‘A’ school. Less than 45 minutes from the Ranch is Bozeman’s Montana State University which has recently received the Carnegie ranking as one of the nation’s top 108 universities in research. Home of the Bobcats, MSU offers a full slate of NCAA Division I Intercollegiate athletics.
Throughout the Yellowstone Region, land ownership is comprised of homesteaded agricultural operations, full-time residents, and recreational landowners with an occasional celebrity that contributes to an eclectic and welcoming mix.
Approximate driving distances to other cities and area attractions from the Mission Ranch owner’s home are as follows:
Yellowstone National Park
Bridger Bowl Ski Area
Big Sky Ski Resort
The topography of Mission Ranch can generally be described as a setting that transitions from cottonwood-filled Yellowstone River bottom with well-sodded sub-irrigated meadows and irrigated pastures, that transition into the rolling native grass foothills of the dramatic Absarokee Mountains. The Absaroka Mountains are part of the 937,032-acre Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness complex that begins a few miles south of the Ranch and extends south all the way to Yellowstone National Park.
Mission Ranch encompasses approximately 4,417 Total Acres, with 3,777 deeded acres and 640 State of Montana lease acres. The deeded land is generally classified as follows:
|Acres of Native Pasture and Improved Pasture Land
Acres of River Bottom and Sub Irrigated
Acres of Pivot and Wheel-line Irrigated Land
Acres Under Improvements
Total Estimated Deeded AcresAcres –State of Montana Grazing Lease
Generally, the Ranch is divided between the higher elevation Headquarters Ranch to the south and River Ranch to the north as determined by Interstate 90 which separates the property from east to west.
The River Ranch is approximately 1,150± deeded acres and contains the majority of the irrigated acres that form the hay base for the cattle operation. The Yellowstone River provides the irrigation water for the pivot- and wheel-line irrigated pastures. Once the hay and crops have been baled and stacked, the irrigated meadows are utilized for late fall and winter grazing. The River portion of the Ranch includes two calving barns and a network of pens and corrals that are used in conjunction with the mature cottonwood trees that provide excellent natural cover during winter for feeding and spring calving.
The Headquarters Ranch is all of the ground south of Interstate 90 and includes approximately 2,631± deeded acres and 640 State of Montana leased acres. The Headquarters Ranch has one wheel-line irrigated pasture of about 40 acres, but the vast majority is native pasture that includes a network of stock water to optimize the grass resource. The majority of the Ranch improvements including the houses, barns, shop, and outdoor riding arena are located south of the interstate and have reliable year-round access via the Mission Creek exit.
The management philosophy implemented on Mission Ranch is one of low overhead and high production. The well-sodded river bottom meadows and native grass pastures combine with the irrigated hay pastures to produce a balanced operation that historically generates 2 to 3 pounds of daily gain on calves. The Ranch has utilized leased summer grass over the years to run more cows, but the Ranch is estimated to carry about 250 pairs on an annual standalone basis.
The elevation gain on the Ranch is about 660 feet, with the highest point around 5,020 feet above sea level on the southern edge of the Ranch and the lowest around 4,360 feet on the northern border along the Yellowstone River. The Ranch Headquarters and Manager’s Home sit around 4,380 feet.
The average annual precipitation is approximately 16 inches. Located in the USDA Hardiness Zone 4, the average growing season of the area is approximately 93 days. The last frost of the year is typically early- to mid-June and the first frost tends to be in early September. Average high temperatures in June, July, and August range from 73° to 80° Fahrenheit. In December, January and February average high temperatures are between 33° and 39°. Summer average minimum temperatures range from 44° to 48°. Winter average minimum temperatures are typically between 14° and 18°. There is plenty of sunshine throughout the year.
All of the improvements on the Ranch, including interior and perimeter fencing, have been maintained and updated over the years and appear to be in good operating condition.
HISTORIC RANCH HOME
The historic Ranch Home was built in 1910 and was fully remodeled and nicely updated in 2016 with a new kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, fixtures, and paint. The home features a large yard with mature trees and bushes that create a classic ranch-home setting. With approximately 1,565 square feet, it features three bedrooms and one bathroom. There is an attached stone garage that dates back to the Fort Parker era that adds additional historic charm and convenient storage. The recently renovated home is currently used as a vacation rental.
RANCH MANAGER’S HOME
Surrounded by a nicely landscaped yard, the Ranch manager’s house is a nice complement to the historic Ranch Home. This manufactured home, which contains about 1,800 square feet on one level, has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The home has also been recently updated and includes new flooring, fixtures, and paint. There is an attached deck that provides a welcoming location for seasonal use to enjoy the surrounding mountain views. This well-maintained and active home historically has been used by the ranch manager and continues in that role today.
The Ranch includes a modest bunkhouse that was originally built around 1915, but has been updated over the years. It is modest in scale and scope with approximately 726 square feet, and includes two bunk rooms and a full bathroom. The bunkhouse receives minimal seasonal use.
Constructed in the early 1920s as a dairy barn, the historic Mission Ranch barn structure was a regular stopping point for early milk deliveries to Yellowstone National Park. The barn is still structurally sound, but there are some required deferred-maintenance projects required to bring it back to full utilization. The barn, which includes electrical service and year-round water, is located next to a well-designed network of corrals and pens that include an outdoor riding arena. The classic gambrel-style Mission Barn has been an iconic building in this part of the country for many decades.
EQUIPMENT BARN & OUTBUILDINGS
There is a 24′ x 100′ shed that provides implement storage and several smaller outbuildings that have been utilized for a variety of ranch uses over the years including housing small animals like chickens and as additional storage.
The very functional Ranch Shop is conveniently located adjacent to the historic Mission Barn and is of pole-barn construction with metal siding and is approximately 36′ x 52′. It is heated for four-season use and includes a corner wood stove and concrete floor.
This approximately 40′ x 100′ pole-barn structure contains 10 calving jugs and a head catch on a concrete floor contained in the southern end of the Barn. The fully-enclosed calving barn is used to overnight “heavies” or mother cows on the verge of giving birth. The Barn has a modest bunk and vet room that houses the necessary livestock vaccines and medicines. This facility has had many years of use, but is in good functional condition. When combined with the second 24′ x 90′ calving barn and network of corrals with year-round water creates a very functional annual calving location and facilities.
CATTLE HANDLING FACILITIES
The corrals consist of portable livestock panels for ease of use and maximum flexibility in handling livestock. The system is functional and has worked well for the current operation. The entire set of permanent cattle handling facilities will transfer with the sale of the Ranch.
An inventory of any personal property that will convey with the sale will be provided upon request to well-qualified Prospective Buyers and their agents.
The irrigation water used on the Ranch originates in the Yellowstone River. The Yellowstone River diversion point is positioned west on a neighboring ranch, then flows in an easterly direction to Mission Ranch. Irrigation water, weather depending, is typically turned on in May and shut off in September.
According to the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation – Water Rights Division, Mission Ranch owns five irrigation water rights.
Mission Ranch has a stock-water network that provides reliable water for livestock and wildlife throughout the network of Ranch pastures. Currently, the Ranch has filed ten stock water rights with the DNRC. The stock-water distribution allows for the successful utilization of the grazing resources available throughout the Ranch.
WATER RIGHT ADJUDICATION
Water rights in the Yellowstone River Basin (Basin 43B) are currently going through re-adjudication with the Montana Water Court, and as a result of that process, some water rights may be changed as to the validity, amount, priority date, place of use and other changes the Court may decide. The Seller has made all filings currently required and will transfer the water rights as they currently stand with no warranty, pending completion of Montana’s adjudication process, as is common in real estate transactions in Montana. All water rights and water rights claims appurtenant to and for the benefit of the Ranch will be conveyed to the Buyer at the closing of a sale.
The hunting and fishing opportunities on Mission Ranch are numerous and offer seasonal variation to capture your outdoor-recreation attention on a year-round basis. The north border of Mission Ranch is the Yellowstone River, which originates upstream in Yellowstone National Park and is the longest free-flowing river in the contiguous United States. The Yellowstone is a well-documented and prized trout fishery enjoyed by anglers throughout the world. During times when the Yellowstone is not fishable due to seasonal spring runoff the Ranch provides the diversity and stability of a private spring creek and Mission Creek. Mission Creek is a dynamic small mountain stream filled with good populations of aggressive trout holding in tight pocket water along brush-filled banks. The private natural spring-creek fishery that runs for ¾ of a mile through the Ranch has been managed to improve fish habitat and provides high-quality opportunities to catch sizable brown and rainbow trout, but demands technical fishing with long leaders and delicate presentations.
The Yellowstone Region is renowned worldwide for its fly fishing, whether on high-mountain lakes and ponds, spring creeks or floating down the Yellowstone River. Exceptional fishing for avid anglers is found year round in one of the most scenic areas of Montana. With a backdrop of snow-capped peaks in every direction, the Yellowstone River provides consistently changing eddies, riffles and deep pockets to explore. Anglers cast nymphs, dries or streamers in hopes of landing a native Yellowstone cutthroat, rainbow, brown trout or the prolific native mountain whitefish. It is one of the seminal experiences in fly fishing to catch the famous ‘Mother’s Day Caddis’ or salmon fly hatches on the Yellowstone when they coincide with fishable water conditions in May and June.
In addition to the untamed waters of the Yellowstone River, Mission Creek and the private spring creek on the Ranch, there is a lifetime of exceptional area waters to explore. The Shields, Boulder, Stillwater, Gallatin and the world-famous Paradise Valley spring creeks are all just a short drive away. Armstrong’s, DePuy’s and Nelson’s spring creeks offer consistent water temperatures and constant flows to create an ultimate breeding ground for the aquatic insects on which trout thrive. These spring creeks are full of educated trout that have challenged the most experienced anglers to go deep in their fly boxes for generations. Yellowstone National Park is open seasonally to fishing and has a lifetime of fishing experiences within its borders on lakes and famous rivers like the Madison, Firehole, Gibbon and Lamar. You would be hard pressed to find a base location that provides more exceptional fishing opportunities within an easy day trip.
The extensive riparian and cottonwood-filled river bottom provide perfect habitat for abundant trophy white-tail deer. The spring creek, sloughs and irrigated pastures fill with migratory waterfowl every fall and provide exceptional wing-shooting opportunities either from blinds or jump shooting. The topography of the River Parcel provides excellent bird habitat and would be well suited for a shooting preserve license, should the future owner wish to add additional wing-shooting opportunities and extended seasons. There are several herds of antelope that call the upper Headquarters Ranch home and the open terrain provides challenging spot and stalk hunting. There are also several notable guide services in the area that provide hunting trips for those interested in bringing home a trophy elk, which are abundant in the region, but infrequent visitors to the Mission Ranch.
The Ranch is located in hunting District 317 and additional information and hunting regulations can be found on the Montana Fish & Game website www.fwp.mt.gov.
Park County and the Paradise Valley are renowned for its multitude of recreational activities. In addition to fly fishing on the Yellowstone River, whitewater rafters, kayakers and paddle boarders take advantage of the rapids in the Yankee Jim Canyon and downstream surf waves. With over 700 miles of trails in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, hiking, camping and horse-pack trips are infinite. The geo-thermal features, awe-inspiring waterfalls and natural beauty and history of Yellowstone National Park is less than an hour from the Ranch and allows for a lifetime of exploration.
The winter activities within close proximity to the Ranch are very diverse. There are multiple downhill ski and snowboard areas as well as Nordic-skiing trails to explore. Bridger Bowl offers exceptional skiing on 2,000 skiable acres and a 2,700-foot vertical rise. Bridger Bowl offers a wide variety of terrain including long slopes, glades, chutes, gullies, and the famed hiking access to the Ridge. Just north of Bridger Bowl, Bohart Ranch offers 30 kilometers of groomed Nordic-skiing trails. Situated on private and Forest Service lands, the scenic trail system covers terrain well suited to all levels of ability. About an hour and a half from the Ranch, Big Sky Resort offers access to “The Biggest Skiing In America” with 5,800 skiable acres and 300 runs spread over four mountains offering endless ways to navigate 4,350 feet of vertical drop. Closer to home, the groomed Nordic ski trails at Mammoth Hot Springs, or guided snowmobile tours through Yellowstone National Park provide boundless winter adventures. Or simply relax in the therapeutic waters and enjoy a gourmet meal at Chico Hot Springs just 30 miles down the road. In addition, all of the amenities of Livingston are only an easy 10 minute drive from the Ranch and the vibrant university town of Bozeman is about 35 miles away.
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark traveled through present day Livingston in July of 1806 while on the return portion of their famed Missouri River exploration. They camped in the Livingston area across the river from the current Mission Ranch. As designated in the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, the first Crow Indian Agency, also known as Fort Parker, was built in 1869 on Mission Creek. Fort Parker is now commemorated as a 14-acre historical site along Mission Creek Road with an interpretive visitor tour. In 1875, the Crow Reservation was moved to the Stillwater River and subsequently to Big Horn County in eastern Montana where it still resides today.
The Crow Indians named the Yellowstone River “E-chee-dick-karsh-ah-shay” (Elk River) and the early French trappers called it “Roche Jaune” (Yellow Rock). During the mid to late 1800s, homesteaders and farmers moved into the area in increasing numbers. Many early pioneers traveling west spent time along Mission Creek before continuing their journey west. Some who branched south into Paradise Valley landed in Emigrant Gulch where they discovered gold in 1863. A short-lived mining boom followed until the arrival of the Northern Pacific railroad in 1883, which diversified the economy with timber and agriculture as well as the foundation of the tourism industry that still thrives today. The first river boats to go back down the Yellowstone River to Missouri were made from lumber milled in the area.
Yellowstone National Park, established in 1872 is the nation’s largest and oldest national park. Native American’s had been in the area for thousands of years prior to John Colter’s 1807 excursion into the mystifying land of hot springs, mud pots and geysers. But for over half a century, any accounts told of the area were deemed as myths. These myths persisted until 1871 when the Hayden Expedition scientifically documented the astonishing natural features and wildlife of the region. These natural wonders of the area were publicized through the artwork of Thomas Moran, and Yellowstone National Park was established soon thereafter and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant. An abundance of information is available about the history, culture, and science of the Park at the History and Research Center in Gardiner, as well as the newly built state-of-the-art Old Faithful Visitor Education Center. Today Yellowstone National Park welcomes over four million visitors a year through its venerable gates.
Mission Ranch is a unique offering in today’s market that combines a productive balanced cattle operation and exceptional recreation in a historic setting with easy access to quality amenities in nearby Livingston and Bozeman. Mission Ranch provides exceptional hunting and fishing on the Yellowstone River, Mission Creek and Mission Spring Creek in one of Montana’s premier locations. It is rare to find a Montana Ranch that offers the diverse and private fishing opportunities available at Mission Ranch combined with the scale of a productive agricultural operation. The Mission Ranch location and proximity to the dynamic communities of Livingston and Bozeman provide opportunities for either future development or a conservation easement on the Ranch. Active ranch buyers will be able to quickly appreciate how rare it is to find a Ranch that has this unique combination of history, recreation, production, and location.
OFFERING PRICE and CONDITIONS OF SALE
Mission Ranch, as previously described herein, is offered at US $10,975,000.00 Cash or Terms acceptable solely at the discretion of the Sellers. The opportunity exists to purchase the Ranch in two parcels. The River Ranch is located north of the interstate and the Headquarters Ranch is south of the interstate. Inquire for pricing details.
The conditions of sale are as follows:
- All offers to purchase or letters of intent must be in writing and accompanied by a wire transfer of 5.00% of the Purchase Price to the escrow account of Security Title Company of Bozeman;
- Earnest money deposits will be placed in escrow with Security Title Company of Bozeman, which will then place the funds with local banks at nominal rates of interest accruing to the benefit of the Buyer until Closing, should the appropriate paper work be completed;
- All Prospective Buyers must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Sellers unquestioned financial capability to purchase the Ranch prior to scheduling an inspection of the Ranch;
- The Sellers will provide and pay for a standard owner’s title insurance policy. Title to the real property will be conveyed by a limited warranty deed;
- Any personal property purchased will be outside the real estate transaction and will be transferred via bill of sale at Closing;
- All of the water right claims and contract storage water rights controlled by the Ranch will be transferred to the Buyer at Closing, and all of the mineral rights which the Sellers actually own will be conveyed to the Buyer at Closing;
- Buyers’ Brokers are welcome and invited to contact Tim Anderson with Swan Land Company;
- Any additional documentation provided to Prospective Buyers and their Agents related to and expanding upon the information contained in this offering brochure will be subject to terms of a Confidentiality Agreement to be signed by the Prospective Buyer and their Agents prior to the delivery of such documentation.
The Sellers reserve the right to effect a tax-deferred exchange for other real property in accordance with provisions in Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code. The Buyer will not be required to incur any additional expenses nor to step into the chain of title on any property which the Sellers may acquire.
This entire Offering is subject to errors, omissions, prior sale, change or withdrawal without notice and approval of purchase by the Sellers. Information regarding land classifications, acreages, carrying capacities, crop yields, potential profits, etc., are intended only as general guidelines and have been obtained from sources deemed reliable; however, accuracy is not warranted or guaranteed by the Sellers or Swan Land Company. Prospective Buyers should verify all information to their sole and complete satisfaction.