Bar J Ranch is featured on the cover of the Fall 2021 issue of LAND magazine. Click here to find out more.
Bar J Ranch consists of 6,234 deeded acres located 10 miles southeast of Salina, Utah, plus an inholding in the Fish Lake National Forest. The Bar J Ranch has been in the Jorgensen family for 150 years and includes an owner’s home, barn, shop and historic homestead. The ranch’s access road is paved and maintained year round by the county. The front gate is six miles south of I-70, and the Richfield Municipal Airport is only 30 minutes from the ranch.
Starting at 6,680 feet in elevation, the Bar J Ranch rises and tops out at 9,200 feet in the southeast corner. The ranch includes an incredible mix of ecosystems, from cottonwood-lined river bottoms up to alpine basins of aspen and pine. Water is abundant with over eight miles of private trout streams with live, year-round water. Three large lakes or reservoirs are nearby, and the ranch includes countless small creeks, springs, natural ponds and a small private reservoir. An excellent summer-grazing unit, the Bar J comfortably supports 300 to 400 cow-calf pairs for a sizable cattle operation. Approximately 5,776 acres of the ranch are preserved by a conservation easement.
World Class Hunting
The Bar J Ranch has one of the most wildlife-rich and ecologically diverse privately owned landscapes in the region with thriving populations of elk, deer and numerous other wildlife and bird species. The ranch participates in the Cooperative Wildlife Management Unit (CWMU) program with the state of Utah, through which it is given nine bull elk tags and over a dozen buck deer tags annually.
Many consider the Bar J Ranch to be the single best elk hunting ranch in the state of Utah based on average Boone and Crockett scores, bull elk density and overall hunting experience. Excellent mule deer hunting is also found throughout the ranch; trophy bucks are common. The ranch is also issued cow elk tags, which are a bonus to fill many freezers with healthy elk meat. The landowner bull elk and buck deer vouchers under the CWMU program can be sold for profit by the landowner and represent a significant source of income to the owner.
Turkey hunting is excellent on the ranch, and permits can be obtained through the Utah DWR. Mountain lion and bear inhabit the ranch and can be hunted with the proper permits. Small game, upland birds and waterfowl thrive across all the ecosystems of the ranch.
Water and Fishing
The Bar J Ranch has been shaped by three major streams: Gates Creek, Lost Creek, Gooseberry Creek and their tributaries. Approximately eight linear miles of perennial streams run through the ranch which are sizeable enough to hold populations of trout. The Bar J Ranch’s senior water rights are some of the oldest rights found in the area.
Lost Creek is the largest and most significant trout fishery running through the ranch, originating near Mount Terrill to the east on the Fishlake National Forest and the Lost Creek Reservoir. By the time Lost Creek flows onto the ranch, it has grown to an ideal size for trout to thrive. This cool-water stream provides exceptional habitat for the ranch’s wild endemic cutthroat trout. But, these gorgeous cutthroats are not the only denizens of Lost Creek; brown trout also reproduce wildly from historic stocking. Well-presented flies are rarely refused by these willing trout, which can easily grow to over 18 inches in the deep runs and protected bends found along this private section of Lost Creek.
Gates Creek has small but healthy Bonneville cutthroat trout, an indigenous species to the region, and provides classic high mountain “pocket water” fishing. Gooseberry Creek also flows through the north portion of the ranch, adding to the fishable waters. Nearby Reservoirs include Rex Reservoir, which is located less than a quarter-mile west of the ranch and offers great fishing for large rainbows and browns. The famed Fish Lake is only twelve miles southeast and offers fishing for lake trout, splake and rainbow trout. Johnson Valley Reservoir, Gates Lake, Salina Reservoir and Farnsworth Reservoir are located near the ranch and have excellent fishing. For stream-fishing aficionados, nearby streams include Salina Creek, Seven-Mile Creek, Fremont River and U.M. Creek.
Land Use and Conservation
Wheel and handlines irrigate 168 acres and are gravity pressurized from the Gates Creek diversior pond. The Gates Creek irrigation water right is the oldest and most senior right on Gates Creek. Fields are planted in a grass/alfalfa mix that produces high yields. The first crop is cut and bailed, and the second crop is directly grazed by livestock. These fields are also grazed by upwards of 50 elk a day. An additional 67 acres are flood irrigated through a system of ditches diverted directly off of Lost Creek. Many additional acres of natural sub-irrigated meadows provide feed for livestock and wildlife. The Lost Creek irrigation water right is one of the most senior rights in Lost Creek, and includes a one-eighth interest in Brian Reservoir and use of one-eighth of all waters in Lost Creek after June 15th each year.
For decades, the Bar J Ranch has been used as summer grazing for cattle. With its lower elevation meadows and farmland, and its continuous sweep of hills and canyons climbing gradually to over 9,200 feet, livestock thrive on the Bar J. A full set of working corrals is located in the Lost Creek Valley, comfortably accessible by haul trucks. “Round-up” time is easy, as the cattle naturally move down to the Lost Creek or Gates Valleys in late fall.
The ranch is located in unincorporated Sevier County and is zoned GRF-20S (Grazing, Recreational and Forestry Seasonal Zone). The ranch is currently enrolled in the “Greenbelt” tax program, which lowers the annual tax burden on operating farms and ranches dramatically. According to the Sevier County Assessor’s office, the total estimated taxes for 2021 are only $4,565 for the entire ranch.
Because of the Bar J Ranch’s unique ecosystems and extraordinarily high wildlife values, the owner has elected to preserve 5,776 acres of the ranch by placing it in a series of four conservation easements with the Nature Conservancy to ensure that this unique place will continue unspoiled for generations. Several hundred acres of the ranch located along Gooseberry Road fall outside of the easement and have no development restrictions.
The Jorgensen family has been ranching in South Central Utah, and particularly Sevier County, since about 1865. Johann Gustav Jorgensen and his wife Serina (Norwegian immigrants) were perhaps the first homesteaders at Fishlake. They ran a dairy at “Jorgensen Creek” near the north end of Fishlake on Pelican Bay. The Jorgensen family established good relations with the Indians and at least one of the children, Enoch, spent some summers with them and was able to communicate with the Ute and Piute Indians. Enoch’s half-brother, Sam, became a prominent livestock producer and member of the Utah legislature, and from about 1915 to 1920 Sam carved the Jorgensen Bar J Ranch out of the then Salina Grazing Association property on Lost Creek, in which he owned a very large interest. Sam Jorgensen grazed large herds of sheep and cattle throughout what is now the Fishlake National Forest.
The first homesteaders at the ranch built a primitive homestead in the mid 1860s. The rock meat house on Lost Creek is said to be one of the original structures. The cabin burned down about the turn of the century, and the existing cabin was rebuilt on site about 1895 to 1900 using some of the materials from the original cabin. Culinary water was carried from a spring downstream on the east bank of Lost Creek. The extraordinarily beautiful valley on Lost Creek was a favorite resting place for the Indians, who hunted and fished the region during the summer. Many artifacts attest to their long presence on the ranch. It is rumored that the Butch Cassidy gang sometimes picked up fresh horses at the ranch as they headed east into the “bad lands” to elude the law.
Over the years, crops raised at Lost Creek and Gates Creek included barley, oats, wheat, corn, milo, alfalfa and a variety of pasture mixes. Vegetable gardens were maintained at both locations, and the usual milk cow, pig and chickens were also kept for personal consumption. At various times, the ranch has supported sheep and cattle—since 1990, exclusively cattle. Elk were introduced in 1928 and some were reportedly corralled and fed hay at Gates Creek for a couple of months.
In 1986, Dan C. Jorgensen, a grandson of Enoch, purchased the Jorgensen Ranch from the various descendants of Sam Jorgensen Senior. The Jorgensen family has five generations involved with ranching in Sevier County. Dan also acquired the Freece Ranch in 1987, expanding the ranch to about 6,200 acres of deeded land. Dan rebuilt almost all the fences and modernized the Gates Creek irrigation system with a sprinkling system, also adding a small hydro-electric plant on the 10-inch pipeline. Later, Dan added a solar system. In the early 2000s, Dan built a large shop, barn and log home at Gates Creek. The Gates Creek home was built using two pioneer cabins, one circa 1860 and the other circa 1870.
The current Bar J Ranch is said by many to be the best ranch in the region for its grazing, water, rich abundance of game and its breathtaking beauty. If you visit the ranch, it will quickly become a part of you, and the worries of civilization will be left long behind.
6,234± Acres in Sevier County, Utah
Offered at $27,000,000
A5 Real Estate
David Anderson, Broker • 801-910-4040 • David@A5RealEstate.com • A5RealEstate.com