Billionaire conservationist buys giant Colo. ranch
FORT GARLAND, Colorado ” The Trinchera Ranch in the San Luis Valley has changed hands ” from a man worth almost $500 million to billionaire hedge-fund manager Louis Moore Bacon.
Steve Forces said he had sold the 171,000-acre Forbes Trinchera Ranch near Fort Garland to Bacon because he had a solid conservation record and could be trusted to preserve the ranch.
The Pueblo Chieftain said Bacon paid $175 million for the ranch with views of 14,000-foot-high peaks, in one of the highest prices ever paid for a ranch. The Forbes family had held the ranch, 160 miles south of Denver, for four decades.
“Louis Bacon has passionately devoted much of his life and resources to the protection of extraordinary properties,” Forbes said. “By finding such a committed owner, we are certain Trinchera will thrive and be enjoyed, as it is, for years to come.” Bacon set up the Moore Charitable Foundation in 1992 to aid nonprofit groups that focus primarily on conservation and the protection of natural resources.
A spokesman for Bacon called the ranch an extraordinary property for its scenic grandeur and unspoiled natural habitat.
Bacon, 51, founded Moore Capital Management in 1989. Forbes.com ranks the hedge fund manager among the 400 richest Americans and estimates his net worth at $1.7 billion.
The transaction brings a close to the nearly four decades of ownership by the Forbes family.
Malcolm Forbes bought the ranch in 1969 and expanded it in 1982 with the purchase of the adjacent Blanca Ranch. The Forbes family used the ranch as a hunting preserve, for corporate entertaining and as an executive retreat.
Bacon has made considerable donations to conservation causes, including the 1997 donation of a conservation easement to the Nature Conservancy for Robins Island, a 434-acre property on the south shore of Long Island.
He guaranteed protection from development for the 540-acre Cow Neck Farm in the town of Southampton, N.Y., by donating a conservation easement to the Peconic Land Trust in 2001.
Bacon’s spokesman said he has no specific plans yet for Trinchera. He will keep the employees on, and may add some. There are an estimated 30 staff.
It wasn’t clear whether the purchase included 80,000 acres that Forbes had given a conservation easement on in 2004 to Colorado Open Lands, the largest such donation in Colorado history.
The ranch is the largest remaining undeveloped land parcel within the historic Sangre de Cristo land grant of 1843.
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