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Old 01-23-2009, 09:16 PM
11,291 posts, read 46,255,351 times
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Originally Posted by CocaColaCowboy View Post
Spirits paints a pretty gloomy view. Power exists within 1/4 mile from the LRR. Kite Ranch borders the property with good well water. All land is good land at a price. The LRR is cheap because it lacks trees and electricity. 50 years ago there was a place where grass wouldn't grow, full of cactus, 120 degree summers and rattlesnakes...its now called Scottsdale. The opportunity for a city dweller to own a large chunk of grassland...I don't care where...for 995.00 an acre is a deal. Even if you use it 2 months of the year by Spirit's gloomy description...riding your atv or taking pictures of antelope is pretty special. Cheers and good luck in your venture!!!
LMAO on this post ....

Sorry, CocaColaCowboy ... but Scottsdale had a couple of things going for it which are not possible for the Wyoming land at issue here ....

#1 Primary attribute: WATER projects were planned to deliver water from the Rocky Mountain headwaters states to AZ and CA by interstate water compacts made many years before. The only issue was how long it would be before the demand was great enough that the developers could get federal and state funding to functionally deliver the water to the arid Southwest and the aqueducts could be built.

FWIW, I know folks who bought land in Phoenix, Tucson, Havasu, and Scottsdale long before much of anything was developed there in the 1950's and 1960's. They paid next to nothing for the land and paid a lot of taxes on it before every seeing any development. They agonized over when/if they'd ever see a return on their investment, it was all pure speculation based upon the prospect of cheap land, water, and power. I know some folks that couldn't stand the uncertainty and sold out for a loss at less than $100 per acre in some areas that bring $100,000acre today.

But once the water arrived, the value of the land skyrocketed as an increasing number of folks "discovered" the sunbelt area's wonderfull climate (except the middle of summer) and relatively low cost of retirement living with lots of amenities. But that isn't going to happen in Wyoming ... the available water is already oversubscribed to Wyoming users while falling short of meeting Wyoming's legal committment to adjoining states for water. We're still getting sued by them for the shortages; some folks in Wyoming are ultimately going to have junior water rights that will be shut off for lack of functional water in the next few years.

#2 Secondary attribute: Scottsdale is some very pretty countryside. The high altitude desert where the LRR sits isn't. There's simply no comparison of the topography and natural resources, or the climate of pre development Scottsdale and what's there in the LRR area.

As pointed out, water on an adjacent ranch doesn't mean there's any functional water available by well, or the water quality on the next ranch over. You might begin by asking folks in some areas of Wyoming close by established towns with well water why they have to haul in water to the cisterns on their ranches ....

At NVDave's suggestion of a $5,000 well being a target cost .... At today's typical numbers of $25/ft for a cased domestic well in our area, I think that's a very optomistic cost. That's only 200' depth, and that's what we see as typical new domestic well depths here in SE Wyoming now ... and we've got a lot more water down there than in the area of the LRR. At LRR's $995/acre, the seller is going to be the only one laughing all the way to the bank ... that's almost $40,000 for a parcel there. You could buy an RV or 5th wheel trailer and use it two months out of the year in much nicer places for a lot less trouble, effort, and expense for many many years ... let alone try to prepare a site and place a modular or stick-built house on your LRR property.

As an active pilot in this region, I get to fly over the ranches quite a bit ... no sense going any higher than I have to for flight safety. And it's real clear where the water is and is not; the ranches with water have lush pastures, trees, small creek beds, and the signs of lazy creek flows through the property. They get nice stands of winter wheat, or hay meadows. The areas that don't have the sub-surface water or intermittent surface flows ... well, they look like the LRR. Pretty barren places where even cacti don't compete very well with russian thistle and other non-native invasive (non-nutritional) species of plants. Again, when you look over the LRR property, you don't even see low-lying draws for dry creekbeds where trees have gotten established over the years from spring thaws flowing for awhile and sub-surface moisture tracks.

I'd also bring up the concerns about how you locate your "housing" on your parcel. I can't overemphasize how critical this is to it's survival and durability. I've mentioned in other threads that local micro-climates exist in this area, and you've got to study your parcel to know where the winds and exposure are best protected in advance of your construction. Case in point ... we have a "new" neighbor who just bought the high ground, the ridgeline property of a historic cattle ranch next to ours. I watched in astonishment as the excavators came in and prepared a foundation for a modular house right on the most exposed portion of the ridge ... with the best views from the property, of course ... last November. In December, they set the new modular on the foundation.

The front of the house and it's main axis were precisely set to capture the absolute worst of the prevailing winds and storms in this area. I drove past it this week, and the house is literally being blown apart. The siding is being peeled off, the roof shingles are blowing off on most of the roof, and the actual roof beneath the shingles is starting to fail. And this is in the elapsed time of about a month in one of the most mild winters we've had in many years. If we'd had snow, the front entry and most of the house would have been a huge drift blocking their north (main) access to the house and the west entry, too.

What's hilarious ... OK, maybe pathetic ... about this is the folks who did the site prep live a mile away in full view of this site and they know how to properly site a house here, they did so with their own house taking advantage of the terrain and positioning their house to minimize the problems. Local knowledge might have been good to obtain .... whether from locals, or by "camping out" at the site for awhile to best determine how to use it. But it does seem like a lot of folks from out of the area without experience in our local conditions "know better" than those of us who have been here awhile ... and now, there's a whole row of 5 houses built along that ridgeline that all suffer from similar problems. Most of them have changed hands every other year at distress prices.

At this point, I can only re-iterate to follow the threads about similar ranch developments around the Laramie area (WyTex) and northward. The liklihood of these places ever having abundant and reasonably priced water, power, and services due to an attractive climate for retirees and other commercial development is very remote.

To the OP, I wish you good luck with your purchase, but I do think you've got a real tough row to hoe ahead of you if you seriously are planning on living full time at the LRR. You'll be looking at more than the issues of off-grid living there. If it's worth all that to you just to watch antelope off your doorstep for two months out of the year as CCCowboy suggests, then so be it.

Last edited by sunsprit; 01-23-2009 at 10:05 PM..
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Old 01-24-2009, 01:34 AM
Location: Sheridan, WY
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I'm saying that I'd pay $995/ac IF I could be assured that I'd be able to limit my well drilling expenses to $5K.

I'm not that I'd expect a well in that area to cost that. I'm certain you're more informed about the cost and depths of wells in that area. In other words, I'd pay more for land where I had a strong expectation of a reasonably reliable depth to usable water. If I have to use a rotary rig to go spelunking for water... then I'm not paying $1K/acre for that land. No way, no how.
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Old 01-24-2009, 10:33 AM
11,291 posts, read 46,255,351 times
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Originally Posted by NVDave View Post
I'm saying that I'd pay $995/ac IF I could be assured that I'd be able to limit my well drilling expenses to $5K.

I'm not that I'd expect a well in that area to cost that. I'm certain you're more informed about the cost and depths of wells in that area. In other words, I'd pay more for land where I had a strong expectation of a reasonably reliable depth to usable water. If I have to use a rotary rig to go spelunking for water... then I'm not paying $1K/acre for that land. No way, no how.
And since the sellers of LRR give no such assurance of water on the property parcels, only that it's the buyer's responsibility to find it if they want it, this property isn't very valuable.

The marketing of this place is highly misleading for folks from out of the area. If you go to the LRR website, they paint a wonderful image of all the romance and beauty and features of Wyoming (all true items), but they strongly infer that all of these things are happening at or near their property. It just isn't so .... and they downplay all of the other critical items of residency with brief statements about using alternative energy sources, etc.

I appreciate the marketer's skill with which they allow prospective buyers to "assume" a lot of good things about the place, based upon the buyer's point of reference and ignorance about this area. For example, most folks east of the Mississippi assume that you can shovel a small hole in the ground and strike abundant water of good quality, so it's simply not an issue for them here. Until they need the water for domestic purposes, and discover that it's not a simple (or inexpensive) issue to resolve. Again, I emphasize that just because your neighbor hit water on his property ... doesn't mean you'll find any on yours, even with many attempts to "dowse" or drill for it.

Another false assumption at work ... folks think that if their neighbor's property has a well on it, that if they can't find water on their own place, they'll be able to strike some sort of "deal" where the neighbor can supply the water from their producing well. Never mind if the well is only producing 1 or 2 gallons per minute (which isn't uncommon on some of these places), "we'll make do" with a cistern and careful conservation (efficient nozzles, no landscaping, etc). Guess What? The neighbor's "domestic well" permit specifically only allows for use/consumption on their property. They cannot "sell" or "give" you their water for use on your property as the primary source of water for your place. Wyoming water law ties a permit to the land upon which it was issued. I've seen folks come here and "assume" that they'll be able to get their water from a neighbor because it just seems so "reasonable" and "fair" and "logical" to do so based upon their perceptions of water use from back home. It just isn't so here, no matter how they do it "back home".

I've also seen some subdivided ranches around here set up via permit a "community well" delivery system to the parcels they're selling on totally inadequate supplies. One is local here in Laramie county ... and the water
"source" is a true "seep" which delivers about 1 gallon per minute to a 250 gallon storage tank; it might be adequate for one small household, but they've got 40 "landlocked" parcels they're selling off. Another is outside of Dubois, with a well that produces about 7 gallons/minute; it was OK when 4 very conserving families lived up there part time but they've got 35 parcels. I forsee a serious water shortage on either property when more families move up there full time and expect to be able to take showers, wash clothes, and have drinking water. The property in Dubois has beautiful wooded draws with mostly year round creeks, too (which would lead one to believe there's lots of water in the area, but there isn't) ... but the parcels are on the higher ground above and don't seem to be finding water on their property for their own wells. In both places, the sellers can claim that there's water for the properties ... and most buyers "assume" that they'll have all the water they'd normally consume. Again, it's time for the buyers to ask specifics about the water functional delivery and quality, and to understand that surface water you may see on or near the ranch has no bearing upon the water which you may use.

I'm sorry if my perspective and comments on these issues seems to be so "gloomy" and derrogatory to those who would wish (and dream) that the situation in Wyoming was different, and I apologize if that makes you unhappy. But it won't change the fact that water is a serious issue here in this state, and there's some places where functionally available water simply doesn't exist, or is available at incredibly prohibitive cost.
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Old 01-24-2009, 01:28 PM
Location: Sheridan, WY
357 posts, read 1,467,413 times
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To sunsprit's excellent information, I'd like to add these observations on water:

Around Wyoming in some of these areas where ranchland has been broken up, I see people who have built houses on top of hills. People like the view. That's understandable.

In this situation, I see them punching a well near their house - ie, high on the hill.

In many cases, these wells often extend deeply into the hill formation - hundreds and hundreds of feet. What many people don't know (and sellers of property are quite quiet about) is that it is entirely possible to "dewater" a hill. ie, it is possible with continued draw upon even a domestic well, to pump so much water out of a hill that you've effectively "sucked it dry" -- and now you would have to deepen your well below what one would consider the base level of the hill. This is often going to be very expensive if the hapless property owner's boundaries don't include land not "up on the hill."

What sunsprit and I would like people to understand is that in the West, water is key. It is everything. I've seen guys shrug their shoulders at a neighbor making passes at their wife, but if his neighbor messes with his irrigation or stock water... out comes the shootin' iron. Mark Twain said it most appropriately while he was in Nevada: "Whiskey's for drinkin', water's for fightin' over." The geology and hydrology of the west is nothing like the east. Well, OK, there's one thing in common with the east: the sky is up above, and the ground is down below. That's still a safe assumption.

After that... most all bets are off.

Mountainous states or mountainous regions have highly complex hydrology underneath them, and you cannot make assumptions from one place to another. As an example: In most places in the flat valleys of Nevada where we used to farm, those flat valleys are what are known as "alluvial fill" -- they're decayed and eroded mountains that have filled in the valley. The snow that is on the sides of mountains melts, runs down into this alluvial fill and forms a pretty reliable source of water in most places in the valley because the geology of the fill is mostly sand, clay stringers and gravel. This is a pretty nice formation in which to find water. I could go into most any valley in Nevada, look around and make some assumptions about where and how to find water and be right more than half the time before I called up the well driller. I'd look at the state water well database, I'd look at well driller reports of what they had found in drilling other wells in the area, I could look at the range... and while it wasn't a guarantee, it did tilt the odds from being a shot in the dark to being informed speculation.

Now I come to Wyoming and the geology of this state is completely and drastically different than Nevada. You can look at the ground on top and say "Mountains - same thing as Nevada. Valley covered in sagebrush - same thing as Nevada. Ought to be able to find water in the top 500' in the valley -- WRONG." Not even close.

Similarly, there are people who are flooding into Idaho east of Twin Falls. They've drilled domestic water wells (and irrigation wells) and they've had pretty good water for years. Now suddenly their wells are drying off -- why?

Well, a water conservation plan was put into effect further east up the Snake River near Rexburg, and with less irrigation water being applied and percolating down into the limestone formation that connects the area near Rexburg to the area east of Twin Falls... there is much less water in the strata where all these water wells are and had been producing from. Can the water well owners force the irrigators upstream to go back to irrigating as they did in the past to restore their wells? Ho, ho, ho... fat chance.

As sunsprit said, we're not trying to piddle on anyone's parade. I just know how complicated the groundwater issue is across the west, not just in Wyoming. And unless you have your own well drilling rig (and the license to use it), punching a well isn't a cheap proposition as it is in the midwest or east, where you might be drilling a couple hundred feet for water quality only to avoid the ample surface water's contamination issues. No, here in the west, you might be driling hundreds to thousands of feet to get any usable water at all.

Another thing that is vastly different in the west is the quality of the water. When Pres. Clinton put in the regulation that changed water quality standards for drinking water from 50 ppb to 10ppb for arsenic, this really threw a kink into western water development. You're exempt if you're using non-compliant water from your own well, but if you're trying to put together a community water system for multiple domiciles, you must comply with the federal water regs. 10ppb on the arsenic is a fantastically low level of arsenic and many, many places in the west cannot comply with this standard. They could meet 50ppb, but there are many places in the west where arsenic is between 10 and 50 ppb in the groundwater. There are small communities in Nevada where it will cost the counties 10's of thousands of dollars per resident to be able to provide compliant water to the residents - in some cases, the county would be able to accomplish regulatory compliance more cheaply by not improving the water system, but rather by buying everyone out of their house/property, moving the people to where there is better water and condemn and burn the existing housing.

No, I'm not joking.
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Old 02-07-2009, 08:35 PM
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In this part of Wyoming the wind BLOWS. Oct to March you can hear it whistle between your ears. It takes a die hard to stick it out.
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Old 02-23-2009, 01:55 PM
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Default Place to rent in Laramie

Hello, I am responding to your rental needs in Laramie. I am working with a developer who has a dozen or so new, three and four bedroom condos in Laramie that he is currently renting out. They are new, all appliances, gas heat and air conditioning. No garages or yards, but still a nice place to live while you build. There should be several available in June. They are called Sun Chase Village on the corner of 7th and Mitchell Street.

The Laramie area may have some brutal days in the winter, but it is where you want to be in the summer! Perfect temps!
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Old 02-24-2009, 12:43 PM
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there was a great log house for rent out that way but I have not seen it advertised now for awhile. It was on the Wheaterville blog in Classifieds for a few weeks. they are in Wheatland but list a lot of laramie things, and also centenial things.
The winters arent bad at all.
There is also a house in sybille canyon, check the website [URL="http://www.sybillecanyon.com"]www.sybillecanyon.com[/URL] I think it's up there, or on wheaterville site, that is for sale but they'll rent it too I guess. Kind of far from where you are but maybe not.
I saw robins today, and chipmunks So really...the winters are NOT that bad, and we're in Sybille canyon, at almost 7,000 alt. Yes, big snows are in march and April but you know they'll melt fast.
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Old 03-10-2009, 10:24 AM
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my husband and i are moving to laramie in the summer when school is out for our kids,just wanted to know if laramie is family friendly or is it just mainly a college town?i've looked it up it sound's like a dream place to live with little kid's but never been there so i really don't know,how are the elementary school's over there i have three children age's 7,8,9 .why i ask is because the school's over here in arizona are on the worst school's list because teacher's aren't there to teach ,because they don't know how to teach to beginnin with....it's really sad .i can't wait to get out of arizona,
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Old 03-12-2009, 08:27 AM
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is there a lot of rental's in the area?we can't aford to buy just yet but if we like the area maybe with in the year or two,what's to rent price's for a three bedroom house or moblie?that allow's animal's
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Old 06-27-2009, 08:43 AM
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That land is really pretty. My husband and I have been to it several times and we love it. Its not too far from laramie and Denver is only about an hour and a half away. Enjoy!!!
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