Nestled at the base of Gore Pass in Routt County, and surrounded by 12 miles of national forest, Coberly Creek Ranch is more than a successful working ranch. Ranch owner Merilee Ellis proudly reflects on the land she owns with her husband, Mike Neelis, “We have the best view of the range. The view from the ranch has to be the most unique quality of the property.”
The Coberly Brothers were the first to run cattle on Coberly Creek Ranch in 1888. But after they lost approximately 2,000 head of cattle during a severe winter in 1900, they moved their ranching operation to a more temperate climate near Granby. Over the years, the ranch passed between five or six different owners. Then in 1992, Merrilee and Mike purchased the ranch and have been soundly planted on its soil ever since. They started having conversations about protecting the ranch in the early 90’s, but it wasn’t until 2013 that they donated a 480-acre conservation easement with the help of Colorado Cattemen’s Agricultural Land Trust. Mike and Merrilee talk warmly of their relationship with Cattlemen’s, explaining how they played a positive and instrumental role in helping them complete the donation when they were ready.
The financial rewards from the conservation easement donation helped make it possible for two of Mike and Merilee’s children and their families to live with them on the ranch. Together, they all play a vital role in cattle-raising, hay production and hunting guide services. Completing the conservation easement will also make it financially feasible to pass the property on to their children when the time comes. “Estate planning was a huge influence in this donation, and knowing the property will remain the same for years to come”. Over the next couple of years, Mike and Merrilee intend to conserve the rest of the ranch, ensuring that people traveling through the Yampa Valley will have a peaceful landscape to view, and their grandchildren a place to run.
For more information on Coberly Creek Ranch’s hunting guide services, please visit their website at www.coberlycreekoutfitters.com.