Perfect for permaculture, this is the quintessential waterfront family farm…
0 Lewis Road, Joseph, OR 97846
The ranch is very diverse with timbered slopes, rolling hills of bunchgrass prairie, grassy creek bottoms, and canyon slopes. You can spend your days herding cattle, fishing the creek, and hunting trophy elk. All of this is within an hour’s drive of beautiful Joseph, OR.
Hunting and Fishing: The ranch is located in the Chesnimnus Hunting Unit where it qualifies for four Landowner Preference (LOP) tags for Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer, and whitetail deer. There are multiple cow elk hunts in the unit as well. Rocky Mountain Elk are in abundance within the area with bulls scoring as high as 350″. Coyote, black bear, turkey, Hungarian partridge, and mountain lion also inhabit the property. The three miles of Chesnimnus Creek running through the ranch is home to rainbow trout and native steelhead salmon and has seen restoration work by the current owners. The steelhead salmon population is considered by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to be among the most biologically feasible within the entire Colombia River Watershed. The 1.75 +- acre pond located on the ranch with a history of being stocked with trophy trout.
Livestock Grazing: Until recently, the Chesnimnus Creek Ranch was managed as part of a network of ranches therefore it is difficult to know exactly what the stocking rate of this ranch alone is. It is estimated that the ranch can conservatively run 150 cow/calf pairs for upwards of seven months. The ranch has early spring grazing with Southern facing slopes, late season grazing within the timbered acreage, and flat creek bottoms that will grow grass waist high. Multiple developed springs have done a great job allowing for even distribution of cattle on the rangeland. Cross-fencing within the ranch allows for a flexible rotational grazing system.
Vegetation: The vegetation is amazingly diverse across the range. You have south facing slopes dominated by bluebunch wheatgrass, Idaho fescue, and patches of ponderosa pine. On the North facing slopes, you find Douglas fir with great stands of bluebunch wheatgrass, intermediate wheatgrass, and pinegrass. Huckleberries are found on the slopes as well. The creek bottoms are filled with mallow nine-bark, hawthorn, quaking aspen, and willow trees. In the late fall, the hawthorn trees turn bright red adding beautiful color to the landscape. Grasses like meadow foxtail and intermediate wheatgrass grow waist high in the creek bottoms providing an oasis for livestock and wildlife.
Water: The ranch is covered with springs, many of which have been developed with water systems. Running water is provided from Chesnimnus Creek, Calf Creek, Gooseberry Creek, and Butte Creek. There’s a total of 80.6 acres of water rights located on the ranch. Chesnimnus Creek provides 43 acres (certificate #7420) and Gooseberry Creek provides 37.6 acres (certificate #82707). The water rights from Gooseberry Creek are fed into a gravity irrigation system with PVC mainline.
Improvements: A modest 1,728 sq. ft. 3-bedroom, 1-bathroom home lies on a small flat above Butte Creek. There’s a small bunkhouse, a Quonset hut with a concrete floor, a small shop, and storage shed as well. The buildings are off-grid with propane providing refrigeration, lighting, and heat. A solar system could be installed for electricity and is a popular feature in Wallowa County. fA spring provides water to the home and outbuildings. Several miles of fence have recently been rebuilt or repaired.
A 2,100 ft. grass runway lies just minutes away from the ranch headquarters. The runway is on land owned by the U.S. Forest Service.
History: The ranch is full of history! Evidence of past times are found throughout the ranch with multiple homesteads still standing along with other antique treasures waiting to be found. The Lewis Schoolhouse is still standing on the ranch with the flagpole and teacher’s quarters. The schoolhouse was built in 1924 and held students clear until 1964 when it was finally merged with the Enterprise School District. The school held as many as eleven students in it’s prime. The incorporated town of Lewis lies just above the ranch headquarters on Butte Creek. The “town” was just a single post office. The post office now lies on the ranch and serves as the bunkhouse.
Income: The variety within the landscape offers a diversity of income potential. Grazing leases are high in demand and often very profitable. Along with grazing revenue, there are opportunities with hunting leases, government programs for riparian restoration, conservation easements, irrigation water leases, and possibly selling carbon credits. Due to the desirability and demand of properties within the area, steady appreciation in land values has been a great way to build wealth.
This property is a fantastic opportunity for the legacy ranch everyone is looking for. The diversity in the landscape, income potential, hunting, and grazing opportunities makes it unique. All of this is complimented be the close proximity to a very desirable area!