Flying Dog Ranch up for sale

John Colson
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

WOODY CREEK ” George Stranahan, physicist, rancher, photographer, brewer and the man long considered the patriarch of Woody Creek, is selling and moving off the land he’s lived on since the late 1960s.

“The Flying Dog was a delightful pain in the ass that I enjoyed for 40 years,” Stranahan said on Tuesday when stopped on Main Street by a reporter. “There’s nothing I didn’t do there. I need to retire now, I’m old.”

He said the closing on his new home, a five-bedroom house in the River Valley Ranch neighborhood in Carbondale, was set for Tuesday. Once that sale is complete, he’ll move in by Nov. 1, he said, after which he’ll sell the 245-acre Flying Dog Ranch, located on Woody Creek Road outside of Aspen, not quite halfway to Lenado, for a price tag he said will be “north of $35 million.”

Much of the land is covered by conservation easements, thanks to work Stranahan has been doing with Pitkin County. He said this week that the land is carved up into four parcels, three of which are the subjects of conservation easements.

Stranahan, 77, is an heir to the Champion spark plugs fortune, a well-known supporter of local nonprofits and causes and benefactor of the Compass educational campus and Aspen Community School, to name a few of the activities he has engaged in since coming here some four decades ago.

Stranahan was the first Colorado property owner to put land under a conservation easement, preserving mining properties above Lenado as early as 1978, long before it had become a common practice, according to Dale Will, director of Pitkin County Open Space and Trails.

The county recently agreed to exchange two transferable development rights (TDRs) Stranahan needs to build on his Flying Dog Ranch for outright ownership of some 331 acres of mining claims and the sterilization of 88 acres in a conservation easement.

Under the two TDRs the county granted Stranahan, a buyer can build a 10,750-square-foot home on one 60-acre parcel, Stranahan said.

At least one potential buyer had expressed interest in the ranch, Stranahan told a reporter in January, although he said this week that he has yet to pick a real estate agent or set up the marketing plan.

“I would like to leave it tidy when I’m gone,” he said of the easements and other arrangements he’s been working on, adding that his one personal interest is to avoid hefty estate taxes and simplify things for his six children.

As for his new house, Stranahan said he and his wife, Patti, are looking forward to having a regular home instead of a sprawling ranch.

“I’ve got eight grandchildren and six children, and I want them all to visit,” he said with a smile.


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