EAGLE COUNTY — Running a farm or ranch is a lot of work. Running a 20,000-acre ranch is a labor of love. For Susan Nottingham, it’s time to write a different chapter in her life.
Nottingham is the owner of a ranch in northwest Eagle County that bears the family name. Her father, Bill, put together the nearly 20,000-acre property after selling a ranch that stretched from what’s now Avon to near the west end of Dowd Junction in the early 1980s.
After that sale, the family relocated to the area above Burns. The family bought a place and then added to it over the years until it became perhaps the biggest working ranch in the county.
The private property is surrounded mostly by U.S. Forest Service land, some of it bordering the Flat Tops Wilderness Area. The ranch has a number of federal grazing leases, which allow cattle to roam and graze during the summers.
The ranch is still a working agricultural property, with senior water rights, pivot sprinklers for the hay and, of course, a good number of cattle. Nottingham estimated the current number at about 3,000 head.
A difficult decision
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But change is coming. Nottingham recently decided to sell the ranch. It’s currently listed at $100 million.
“It’s a decision I’ve been struggling with for quite a while,” Nottingham said. “It’s always been a family endeavor. But I just turned 65 and don’t have kids and there’s nobody coming up behind me.”
The decision was “something I needed to do while I’m still healthy,” Nottingham said. “It’s a decision I need to be in control of.”
When Nottingham made the decision to sell, she called longtime friend Ed Swinford, a broker with Slifer Smith & Frampton…
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