The Land Report

2019 TX

The Magazine of the American Landowner is an essential guide for investors, landowners, and those interested in buying or selling land. The award-winning quarterly is known for its annual survey of America's largest landowners, The Land Report 100.

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Page 25 of 99

FrontGate E XPLO R E R AN CH E S CASH FLOW required to guarantee a minimum of 18 nights a year for guests. Both Ryan and Kleberg have been pleased at how readily ranch owners have taken to the concept. "A lot of landowners these days are thinking about all the different rights and resources they can tap into just to hold onto these properties. In some cases, these ranches have been in the same family for generations. Ultimately, having larger tracts of intact habitats benefits everyone, society and the wild- life included," Kleberg says. To date, Explore Ranches has opened the gates to 353,069 acres of private land. According to Ryan, the company has fielded inquiries from landowners overseas, too. International trips could be in the works down the road. But for now, the cofounders feel heartened that the idea has caught on, particularly around their home state. "Ninety-five percent of Texas land is private. Of that remaining five percent, only half is accessible to the public," says Ryan. "Unless you are a landowner or a friend of a landowner, the opportu- nity to get behind those locked gates is slim to none." "We are grateful for the chance to really show Texas in its variety and its wilderness," says Kleberg. "And we're pushing for high quality in every detail because everything we do is reflective of the ranch partners we have." e most luxurious option is the 10,000-acre Middle Creek Ranch near Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It sleeps 20 and costs $18,000 per night. Stays there include an on-site chef as well as activities ranging from horseback riding and sporting clays to mountain biking and guided ATV rides. Some of the ranch experiences also encompass an educational component. Ryan has brought in wildlife biologists to speak about the mountain lions on Withers, her family ranch, which is now an Explore Ranches property. "It has been interesting to watch how the people receive that information," she says. "It is a totally different experi- ence sitting by a creek at the bottom of a canyon learning about wildlife than it is listening to a talk in town." For their part, landowners who join the Explore Ranches network are "What you are paying for with Explore Ranches is an experience you are unable to get anywhere else," says Ryan. "At a National Park or a five-star resort, you will be there with other peo- ple, in some cases a lot of other people. On these ranches, it is you and whoever else you bring." Kleberg, who is a member of the King Ranch family of South Texas, has a deep understanding of the issues large landowners face: "We felt like this was a service we could provide to the land- owner and to the recreational traveler. is is a way we can bring these ranches alive to travelers who are looking for new experiences." Most of the ranches have a two-night minimum stay. e least expensive booking – the 4,649-acre Llano Springs Ranch near Junction, Texas – sleeps eight and runs $1,200 a night. HUDSPETH RIVER RANCH This Explore Ranches property offers endless activities on more than 15,000 acres, including ample water sports on seven miles of the Devils River (previous page). 24 L ANDREP ORT.COM e LandReport | TEX AS 20 19

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