Ransome Ranch

Location: Mariposa County, California

Price: $1,950,000



Executive Summary
The Ransome Ranch and its neighboring Donahoe Tract are the largest remaining undeveloped parcels of an historic Sierra National Forest in-holding called the O’Conner Ranch (formerly the Yosemite Lumber Company’s Miner’s Tract).

Bordering spectacular Yosemite National Park and just minutes from the valley floor, Glacier Point, Badger Pass ski area and other park features, these ranch lands were included in the original 1905 Park boundary and are accessed through the park gates. They were pulled from the park boundaries in 1906 due to their timber value.

The combined 900 acres along the Henness Ridge offer beautiful topography with conifer forests and granite outcroppings. Hiking trails, panoramic views, abundant wildlife, and natural springs provide a Yosemite experience without the crowds.

Ransome House, a two-story cabin, has served as a primary residence. Additional locations are ideal for a homesite, lodge, guest quarters, or corporate retreat.

Property Description
The ranch properties are accessed from Yosemite West, an unincorporated community of resort homes adjacent to the southern area of Yosemite National Park.

The parcels are located along Henness Ridge and feature forests, granite outcroppings, landings, springs, and commanding views.

A permanent road traverses the property from Yosemite West, through the Ransome Ranch to the nearby Donahoe tract. There are several seasonal roads that provide access to the ridge top.

The larger parcel (Ransome Ranch) was last logged in 1994, which served to improve tree spacing and reduce mortality.

The Donahoe tract is less than two miles north of the Wild and Scenic South Fork Merced River, a roadless watershed.

Henness Ridge, which towers nearly 3,000 feet above the southern banks of the Merced River, is visible from the main entry road to Yosemite Valley.

Recreation & Wildlife
Yosemite and the surrounding area are known around the world for their natural beauty and recreational possibilities. Hiking, biking, birdwatching, swimming, downhill and cross country skiing, bouldering, rock climbing and more are at your doorstep.

Several trails begin at the border of Yosemite West. Some of them follow the old railroad beds left by the Yosemite Lumber Company. The Henness Ridge fire lookout tower is a great hike. This historic site is one of two remaining rustic-style lookouts in the state. Built in 1939 by California Conservation Corps, it was used by US Park Service for fire detection during the 60’s and 70’s, and is now historic structure number 5300. A 360-degree panoramic view of Yosemite can be seen from this vantage point.

The historic Ahwahnee Hotel in the heart of the valley offers extraordinary events including wine tastings, Christmas banquets, and New Year’s Eve celebrations. Along with the quaint Wawona Hotel with its golf course and nearby Pioneer History Museum these activities can easily become traditions for family and friends.

The ranch is a key wildlife corridor for species moving from lower elevations up to the high Sierra. Deer, coyote, raccoons, squirrels, black bear, mountain lion, bobcat, ringtail cat, grey fox, peregrine falcon, bald eagle, great grey owl, Stellar’s jay, white-headed woodpecker are just some of the species found in the area.

Ransome House is a two-story cabin that served as the ranch’s primary residence. Additional improvements include a Tea House for afternoon tea and a sunset vista site. Tie Cabin is a workshop built from salvaged railroad ties that’s in need of repair.

The Donahoe Parcel is unimproved.

Water Resources
The existing two-story cabin is served by a spring and the property contains other springs as well.

Before the advent of the white man, Indians used Yosemite West (near the entrance to the Ransome Ranch) as their camp ground and hunting area. Obsidian chips used as arrowheads can still be found around Yosemite West.

The boundaries of Yosemite National Park were created in 1890 without regard to existing land patents, privately-held timber lands, or mineral rights within the new boundaries. By 1904, the problems created by these boundaries were recognized and a Park Commission recommended that the boundaries be redrawn, a recommendation which Congress approved in February 1905. The removed portions of Yosemite National Park were placed in a forest reserve.

As early as 1912 the cutting of timber in the Chinquapin area was started and logs were hauled to Merced Falls. The Yosemite Valley Railroad was built to carry out the lumber harvested from the vast supply of Sugar Pines found along the Merced River canyon. The sugar pine belt along the west side of the park was described in 1929 by author Willard Van Name as “the grandest pine forest in the world.”

The Yosemite Lumber Company logged in this area. In fact, the remains of the longest Incline rail system ever built are located at what is now Camp One Resort, just a short distance away from the Yosemite West development. The incline rose to a height of 3,100 feet above the Merced River. The Camp One incline was used to lower logs to the Merced River at El Portal from the logging area. One of the stops on the Yosemite Valley Railroad line was the lumber mill built by the Yosemite Lumber Company where the wood was planed, finished, dried and stored. The lumber company is gone now and trees have fully returned with most 80+ feet tall. The old Shay logging train grades have been replaced with paved roads.

Development and Conservation Plan
The seller will grant development zones on each parcel so additional improvements can be made and place a conservation easement on the balance of the properties ensuring that they remain in their natural condition in perpetuity, protecting the land for generations to come. The value of the easement is reflected in the price of the properties.

Broker’s Comments
For many people the natural beauty of Yosemite simply has no equal! To own nearly 900 acres within the gates of this historic national park is an outstanding and rare opportunity. The fact that the ranch lands were included in the original park boundary underscores their value. Imagine the rewards of building your own private retreat in this amazing location and using it as the ultimate basecamp for exploring one of the world’s natural wonders.


Acreage, Topography, and Zoning
Ransome Ranch Tract: 726.5 +/- acres
The Ransome Ranch tract is generally north‐facing, with a wide ridge along the southern boundary. Elevation ranges from 6300 feet ASL to 4850 feet. Slopes to the north are gentle, while they fall off steeply from Henness Ridge to the south. Drainage is primarily to the Merced River to the north, via a year round branch of Indian Creek.

The ranch is currently zoned for timber production.

The property supports mixed conifer forests of ponderosa pine, sugar pine, incense cedar, white fir, and black oak. The conifer species volume distribution over the property is as follows:
Incense Cedar 20%
Sugar pine 15%
Ponderosa pine 28%
White fir 36%
The structure of the forest varies across the property.

Donahoe Tract: ­170 +/- acres
The Donahoe tract is generally north facing. The majority of the property is moderately sloped with a steep drop on the northern end. Elevation ranges from 4500 feet ASL to 5500 feet. Drainage is primarily to the Merced River to the north, via year round Henness Branch.

The majority of the 170 acres of the property is forested, with the remainder in rocky outcrops and grass openings. Stands on south-facing slopes and ridge tops are generally dominated by ponderosa and sugar pine. North-facing slopes tend to have heavier stocking in shade-tolerant white fir and incense cedar.

Timber inventory for the Ransome and Donahoe Tracts were performed in 1995 and 2005 respectively and are available.



All cash to seller.

NOTICE: Offering is subject to errors, omissions, prior sale, change or withdrawal without notice, and approval of purchase by owner. Information regarding land classifications,potential profits, etc., are intended only as general guidelines and have been provided by sources deemed reliable, but whose accuracy we cannot guarantee.