Ranchland stampede – Urbanites’ rich offers tempt hard-toiling owners of Colorado countryside

Susan Nottingham strides beneath irrigation equipment on the 22,000-acre ranch she works with her father, Bill Nottingham, outside Burns. “There will come a time when the profit of ranching is gone,” Susan Nottingham says. “Then what will you do with the land?”

Bill Nottingham woke before dawn to wrestle four garage doors into place before the snow piled deep. Equipment on aging electricity poles needed replacing. Cattle needed feeding. Hay fields needed tending.

Lots of things need doing on his family’s 20,000-acre ranch outside Burns, a remote outpost in northern Eagle County.

No time for vacations. The 77-year-old has never had one. Certainly no time for slumbering past sunrise. Ranching is a 24-hour-a-day job as lawyer, accountant, engineer, veterinarian, horticulturist, mechanic, weather forecaster and, at times, garage-door installer.

"It’s a lifestyle," Nottingham says from the modest home with stunning views he shares with his wife, Neva. "We will ranch as long as the money and our backs hold out."

By Jason Blevins
Denver Post Staff Writer

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