M4 Ranch Group Blog

A Base Camp to Die For

Life, Recreation, and Hunting in the Gunnison Basin has always been a truly historic event. The Gunnison Basin is comprised of 5 Big Game Units or “GMU’s” and boasts over 1,772,744 acres and more than 3,593 square miles of alpine hunting adventure.  The vast expanse is huge, with over 84% public lands the ability to see, hike, climb and hunt it all in a lifetime is impossible.

Most don’t realize that the way the Gunnison Basin was settled has led to the vast expanse of premier alpine acreage. The original population came to this region mining hard ore, searching for gold and silver, placing deeded mining claims that were limited to 10.3 acres. When a strike was made the area would be littered in these 10.3 acre claims.  A huge percentage of these mineral discoveries were found in the upper alpine regions, on steep slopes with little overburden (topsoil) allowing the pick and shovel miners easy access to the rock faces and the minerals they sought. As you dropped in elevation you came to the river and creek bottoms. Here you find 160 acre filings for placer claims, a place where the entrepreneur staked their 160 acre claims hoping to process the ore with the help of moving water, and more flat usable grounds. Then came the first townships. These high alpine mining towns such as Crested Butte, Lake City, and Parlin were the base of speculation, operations, and community needs for the miners.  As you drop out of these townships you start to see the first of the agricultural 160 acre homesteads. Here, the ranchers and farmers attempted to raise and grow enough meat and potatoes to feed the robust and growing alpine townships.

With the incredible history on how this region was settled, the basin has been able to incorporate great management, producing some of the top big game herds and in many cases writing the record books on trophy Elk and Mule Deer, not to mention the numerous world record trout caught in this exceptional basin. The Gunnison Basin is truly one of a kind; from exceptional trout streams such as the Gunnison, The Lake Fork, the East, and the Taylor, to vast protected wilderness areas including the West Elk, Big Blue, La Garita, Powderhorn and Fossil Ridge, and Colorado’s largest bodies of water with Blue Mesa Reservoir and Lake San Cristobal.

We are blessed in the Gunnison Valley with over 1.7 million acres to call our back yard, and spoiled by vast opportunity to stretch our legs, to raise quality big game herds, to hundreds upon hundreds of miles of alpine trout streams, and more 13,000 and 14,000 foot peaks than anyone could ever hope to climb. Our thanks today go out to the miners of yesteryear; their search, their backbreaking dedication to build roads and trails have left us with a remarkable resource for an exceptional quality of life today.

If you desire to make the Gunnison Basin your base camp to life, the opportunity is here. Whether you are looking for a mountain ranch, a small deeded tract, an exquisite Colorado cabin, or a shared ranch ownership, you can find an exceptional lifestyle and a HUGE backyard in the Gunnison Basin. This is one of the few places that buying small can lead to living like a King.

Dan Murphy
M4 Ranch Group

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