The 2780 acre Fountain Ranch is what one envisions if it were somehow possible to put together every essential element of a Class A ranch under one umbrella to create the most idyllic picture of ranch perfection; gentle oak strewn hills rolling down to irrigated pasture land that hug the shores of a mighty river while being towered over by timbered peaks and dramatic rock outcroppings all while being complimented by aesthetically appealing and functional improvements. This within close proximity to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Of course, a natural rarity of this magnitude was not lost on the past generations. The history of the Fountain Ranch is a microcosm of the history of California itself.
Steeped in the ancient folklore of Native Americans, the Ranch’s Frog Woman Rock is the origin of some of these native people’s most fabled tales. Ascending high above the Russian River with its full omnipresences, it is not hard to conjure up images of native people toiling and worshipping under such sheer magnificence in what could have only been the land of seamlessly endless natural bounties.
In the 1800’s, the Spanish recognizing the natural richness of the region, created the Sanel Land Grant and deeded the same to one Señor Fernando Feliz. Sometime thereafter a grand Victorian was built on the Ranch’s north side. This went on first to serve as a stopover for the wagon trail coming off of Mountain House Road, then later as the Fountain Ranch Train Station for the North Pacific Railroad and finally as the Ranch’s Headquarters. Still in one dim lit upstair’s room stands the grand bed that President William McKinley slept in on his tour through the region in the late 1890’s. This Regal Lady cries out a storied past filled with colorful characters and scenes of yesteryear and awaits the next Owner’s visions of revival.
The current era began in 1952 when Fountain Ranch was purchased by G.P. Bradford, the grandfather of the current Owners. G.P. Bradford’s son, the late Robert Bradford, can be credited for the extensive infrastructural improvements on the Ranch including the Lake House and Bradford Lake. Planning for the future, like an architect and engineer, Robert Bradford immersed himself in these projects and others with full attention to detail creating what can only be described as a living legacy. Under the stewardship of the Bradford Ranch Partnership,, a long time family business that was made up of first G.P. Bradford and Robert Bradford and then later Robert and his son Peter Bradford, the Ranch has been used primarily as a cattle ranch, hunting club and family retreat with attention focused on long term sustainability.
The property is approximately 2,778.93 acres and is made up of 15 Legal Parcels (Certificates of Compliance) all under the Willamson Act’s Agricultural Preserve for lower tax liability. The bulk of the Ranch is gently rolling pasture land along with over a 150+ acres of irrigated pasture land. Interspersed in the higher regions are large rock outcroppings including Frog Women Rock and the Twin Peaks with the southern peak hosting the “Balancing Rock”, one very large boulder precipitously balanced on half buried rock. Surrounding these outcroppings are fir and hardwood forests. The Ranch is transversed by an internal road system in excellent order.
Wildlife abounds on the Ranch including trophy class blacktail deer, wild hog, turkey, blue grouse, valley and mountain quail, mountain lion, bobcat, black bear and other species. Bradford Lake plays hosts to a wide variety of migratory waterfowl with many ideal spots for permanent blinds. In addition to its waterfowl attributes, Bradford Lake is an angler’s delight with 12 to15 pound Florida Strain Large Mouth Bass being a routine catch.
RESIDENCES & OTHER STRUCTURES
Fountain Ranch is blessed with an abundance of water the likes which are seldom found together on one property. With over 3.7 miles of interspersed frontage on the Russian River, a licensed appropriative right to directly divert 2.3 cubic feet per second from the river from March to November. State permitted and licensed dam creating the 440 acre feet Bradford Lake fed by an immense watershed, stock ponds and numerous smaller creeks, the Fountain Ranch stands in a class of itself. If water is gold in California, this ranch is a gold mine.
CURRENT AND POTENTIAL USES
For the past 70 years the ranch has been used primarily as a cattle ranch running approximately 70 to 80 mother cows, 90 bred heifers, 8 to 10 bulls with an additional 100 to 130 weaned heifer from spring to fall. This would be something the new Owner might continue on his own or lease out to another livestock producer.
The Ranch leases the blacktail deer and wild pig hunting to a Hunting Club on a year to year basis. This has proven to be a long and mutually beneficial relationship for all parties. There is, however, substantial potential to increase revenue from the wildlife resources by instituting a PLM (Private Land Management) Program on the Ranch and more intensely managing and marketing the wildlife. In the alternative, the new owner could choose to maintain such resources for their personal recreational enjoyment.
What seems like the most economically productive use of the Ranch with the highest potential return would be to use the existing water resources to plant a portion of the ranch to vineyards well simultaneously maintaining the cattle and hunting operation on the remainder.
There is also a conservation easement potential on the Ranch because of its multiple parcels, location on the Russian River with critical water resources and its ownership of significant cultural landmarks. Such an easement could perhaps be done in conjunction with the before mentioned development.
19101 Mountain House Road
(Call Agent for Details)
Lassen County, California
Tehama County, California
Merced County, California
Ventura County, California