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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Guest Ranching in the West
Article by Ted Harvey. The guest ranching industry began in the late 19th century with cattle ranches that were used to accommodate guests as a revenue source. With scenery of unsurpassed beauty, abundant wildlife and genuine western hospitality, word quickly spread about the recreational opportunities of a real western ranch. The “Dude Ranch Experience” became so popular that by the early 1920s guest ranches were estimated to be more than 1,000 operations in Wyoming, Montana and Colorado.

Today, many guest ranches are still operating throughout the Rocky Mountain West, offering once-in-a-lifetime opportunities in spectacular settings. Most of these ranches border national forest lands providing unlimited areas for horseback riding, hiking, wildlife and access to exceptional fishing and hunting. Another method that presents an inexpensive means for entrepreneurs to acquire a business is a U.S. Forest Service Lease. This type of ranch operation was formed in the early 20th century and established not as deeded acreage, yet as a parcel of forest service land designated for use as a guest ranch. The rancher purchases the right to operate the ranch and pays a minimal annual fee to the forest service.

Many dude ranchers’ would not consider another way of life than owning a guest ranch. It can be profoundly rewarding and provide a profitable income. In addition, there are potential tax benefits both as an agricultural operation and as a business. Due to prime location and historical significance, many guest ranches on the market today are among the most sought-after private ranches in America. With the national economy on the rebound the guest ranching industry remains strong. The National Dude Ranchers Association currently has over 100 member ranches and there are over 300 quality guest ranch operations throughout the western states. Although real estate prices are beginning to rise there are still excellent guest ranch opportunities available today.

Working and managing guest ranches in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana, Ted Harvey has a unique understanding of these operations. Ted has the knowledge and network to assist investors and ranch owners in the sale and acquisition of a guest ranch. For more information on guest ranching, contact Ted Harvey at 866.734.6100 or visit our website at
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