A Rock Springs, Wyo., resident has purchased the Mantle Ranch, a private holding within Dinosaur National Monument, for $6 million.
Jim Carollo finalized the deal with the Mantle Ranch on Monday, said Tim Mantle, who, along with his wife, has taken care of the historic 520-acre ranch for the past 40 years.
"The beauty of it is the federal government don't own it," Mantle said.
The historic use of the ranch will continue under Carollo's ownership, said Carollo's real estate agent, Brent Romick of Romick and Associates Inc., in Steamboat Springs.
"It will be maintained as a working ranch ... and there is no other intention other than what's been going on there for years," Romick said.
The Mantle's grazing rights will be transferred to Carollo, who intends to run livestock on the ranch, Romick said.
The Mantle family has been trying to sell the ranch, located in the Hell's Canyon area of the monument, for the past 15 years, he said. The National Park Service previously offered the Mantles $3 million for the property, said Chas Cartwright, monument superintendent.
That offer was rejected because the family deemed it far below market value, Mantle said.
Park Service employees have not yet met with the property's new owner, Cartwright said.
"It is our hope the gentleman who purchased it purchased it for personal use and not for residential development," Cartwright said.
The Moffat County Commissioners approved an 80-lot subdivision for the property in 2002. Tim Mantle said his family was planning to begin selling the lots when Carollo offered to buy everything.
Because there is a considerable amount of value associated with the subdivision rights, Carolla will retain those rights, Romick said.
Mantle said he was glad to sell it to a private individual because it will avoid a net loss in property value for Moffat County.
He said he believed Carollo was proud to own the property and would be a good steward of it.
The Moffat County Commissioners always favored whatever was best for the landowner, and recognized it was the Mantles' right to sell to the Park Service if they so desired, said Commis-sioner Marianna Raftopoulos.
"But we would like to keep it in private ownership if we can," she said.
Charlie Mantle established the cattle ranch in 1919. At that time, the monument covered only 80 acres near Jenson, Utah. The monument later was expanded by 200,000 acres, and it then encompassed the Mantle Ranch.
The property is comprised of two parcels -- a 360-acre plot near Red Rock and a 160-acre plot near Castle Rock.