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For $30 Million You Could Have Zion National Park in Your Backyard


The Trees Ranch, a nearly 2,100-acre ranch adjoining Zion National Park, is for sale. Its owners hope to sell it to an individual or organization that is conservation-minded. Photos via Mirr Ranch Group.

For just $30 million you could have not only a nearly 2,100-acre ranch in the gorgeous red-rock country of southern Utah, but you could have Zion National Park in your backyard.

Bordered on two sides by the national park, on another by the Canaan Mountain Wilderness, and on the fourth by U.S. Bureau of Land Management acreage, the Trees Ranch dates to 1982, when the late Jim Trees, who founded a New York City investment firm, was on the faculty of the Harvard Business School, and helped launch the Grand Canyon Trust, saw a landscape that rivaled the beauty of nearby Zion.

The ranch debuted Utah's first organic apple orchard, one that now supplies fruit to the Springdale Fruit Company (which is a great place to stock up for a picnic if you're going hiking in the park).

"Jim had the vision to assemble Trees Ranch starting in 1982 with the dream of making it a national park of this own, while bringing 200 acres of land into organic production. He dedicated himself to a conservation ethic for the rest of his life and was an excellent steward of this land as a result," says Bill Budinger, a friend of Mr. Trees and a fellow Grand Canyon Trust board member.

Now only does the ranch adjoin the national park, but the East Fork of the Virgin River and Shunes Creek, which recently were designated "wild and scenic," flow through the property, as do South Creek and the North Fork of the Virgin River.

Realtors say "there are numerous historic sites on the property including pre-historic Anasazi ruins and the pioneer settlement of Shunesburg explored by John Wesley Powell in 1872 as part of western surveys conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey."

The sellers, heirs to Mr. Trees, hope to see the 2,066-acre ranch sold to conservation-minded individuals or organizations that will run the operation as did Mr. Trees.

"... we recently arranged tours with national and local conservation groups," said Ken Mirr of the Mirr Ranch Group, which is the property's listing broker. "These groups included The Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land, and Virgin River Land Preservation Association, as well as the superintendent of Zion National Park."


good for Mr. Trees, hopefully the sellers will remain true to his vision... it would be a shame to see this priceless area fall to the profit mongers...

I wish they had the wherewithall to donate the land so that it could be added to the park.

A wonderful piece of property, which blocks public access to Parunaweap Canyon within the park.  That might not be all bad because it also protects the archeological resources and bighorn sheep habitat.  Trees constructed a wonderful replica of the DeMille "castle" in Shunesburg.  That replica sits right off SR 9 behind the current Springdale Fruit Company stand.  I have fond memories of backcountry patrols in P-weap Canyon from the early '80's.  A very magical place.

Hi from Ga. . . As usual, all the heirs want is to get their hands on the money, too bad about his vision. Very sad.

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