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Well-known member
Feb 10, 2005
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Would you finance me on out bidding so I can buy this ranch? Only $1404 an acre, talk about drive up the land prices.

Ranch sale could lead to preservation of land around historic fort
Associated Press

STORY -- Hopes to protect open space near a historic Western fort and battlefield were buoyed by this week's announcement that a businessman known for his conservation efforts has signed an agreement to buy the ranch surrounding the site.

M.C. Davis, chief executive officer of Florida-based Fountain Investments Inc., signed the agreement Wednesday with ChevronTexaco Corp., owner of the 26,000-acre Bar 6 Bar Ranch in northern Wyoming.

Conditions of the sale, including the price, were not divulged.

Conservationists have been hoping a deal could be worked out to preserve the area surrounding Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site and nearby Fetterman Battlefield. Previous attempts to sell the ranch to the state fell through.

Davis, who lives in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., calls himself a "history buff and conservationist." He said he learned about the ranch a few months ago and became interested in preserving portions that have historic and cultural values.

"I think as far as the state and locals are concerned, I don't think they could have gotten any luckier than someone like myself to be a player, because I have a pretty good track record for conservation," he told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Several years ago, Davis established the 53,000-acre Nokuse Plantation, a nature preserve and wildlife corridor in the Florida Panhandle.

The Bar 6 Bar Ranch went on the market more than a year ago with an asking price of $36.5 million, according to Mary Ellen McWilliams, a member of the Fort Phil Kearny-Bozeman Trail Association.

Association members and state officials have been worried that sale to a private buyer could jeopardize the historic value of the site, which along with the related Fetterman and Wagon Box Fight sites, is considered by historians to be a significant part of the Indian Wars history.

The fort was built in 1866 to protect emigrants along the Bozeman Trail, but it was an unwelcome intrusion into Powder River Country hunting lands of the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes. Its presence led to two years of bloody warfare between the U.S. Army and the tribes.

Of most concern to historians is 1,350 acres around the site that includes two cemeteries, a hay corral, the quartermasters corral, two sawmill sites and the fort's brickyard. The Fort Phil Kearny cemetery was once designated a national cemetery and is the original burial place of those who died in the 1866 Fetterman Fight.

Dan Johnson, ChevronTexaco's government and public affairs manager for the Rocky Mountain states, told the Sheridan Press the company expects to wrap up the deal sometime in the third quarter of the year, putting the closing date no earlier than September.

Regarding the final transaction, Davis said, "I expect everything to go smoothly. I wanted to give myself time to make sure that I could accommodate the needs of the state. ... Chevron sincerely wants the state to be happy too, and part of my agreement with Chevron is that I would make every reasonable effort to accommodate the state's wishes."

ChevronTexaco will stay involved in discussions with the state on how to protect the area near the historic sites, Davis said.

"They'll stay a party to it, just looking in and ... trying to bring me up to speed to what they've been discussing in the past."

Once the historical aspects have been addressed, possibly through sale to or a trade with the state, Davis said he wouldn't rule out selling other portions of the ranch to private parties.

"I don't know if I have my final plan in place yet, but traditionally what I do is keep a core in its commodity use, and if I decide to trim it up any -- and there's locals that want first choice at it -- then the local people who will have the first opportunity."

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