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Whitney Land Company
101 SE Third
P.O. Box 1614
Pendleton, Oregon 97801
Phone: 541-278-4444

Maurer Ranch

Clarno, Oregon

Price  $ 19,750,000.00


The Maurer Ranch, in eastern Oregon, consists of approximately 47,120 +/- acres, at Clarno. Of these 47,120 +/- acres, just over 29,279 +/- acres are deeded, with an additional 11,000 acres of BLM and 7,000 acres of USFS leased lands. This property has been in the same family for over 90 years. The business operation has been in cattle, sheep, grain, hay, and recreation. With over 8 miles of deeded river frontage on the lower John Day River, fishing for bass, trout, and steelhead is exceptional.
Within the deeded acreage are 9 large pastures. Each of the pastures is fenced and has good stock water. The stock water is provided from springs that have been developed throughout the ranch. 
The balance of the ranch is native range land. The topography on the range land provides good shelter from the elements. The ground cover is a mixture of native grasses, shrubs, and juniper trees. 


The ranch is about 70 miles southeast of The Dalles, Oregon, which is 75 miles east of Portland, Oregon. There is a paved state highway all the way to the ranch, which is located within the counties of Gilliam, Sherman, Wasco, and Wheeler.

Total Acres:

47,120+/- acres deeded and leased.

Deeded Acreage:

Total acres deeded        29,279 +/- acres
Irrigated acres                   311.8 acres
Rangeland                      28,947 +/- acres
Homesites                             20 acres 

BLM Acres Leased:

As part of the Maurer ranching operation, the family leases additional contiguous BLM lands consisting of 11,000+/- acres. This includes about three additional miles of John Day River frontage.

Forest Service Grazing Lease:

Historically, the ranch utilizes/grazes on 7,000+/- acres known as the Ochoco Crystal Springs Allotment. The permit allows for 188 pair, 3 pastures, May 17th – September 17th.

Identification of Subject Property:

The legal description is lengthy and is available upon request.

Annual Rainfall:



There is a paved state highway to the ranch headquarters.


  • At the river – 1,200’
  • The upper range – 4,000’
  • Typically 160 frost-free days per year


There are 311 acres with water rights certificates from the John Day River. Of the 311 acres, 270 acres are meadow lands located along the John Day River. The meadows along the John Day River have irrigated crop land that is suitable for producing a wide variety of crops including hay crops for winter feed and aftermath grazing. The irrigated lands along the river have been sprinkler irrigated and wheelines are present. However, the wheelines have not been used for a number of years. The owners have not maximized the irrigation opportunity and it is in need of improvement. There are five water diversion points, known as “points of diversion” (POD) for irrigation water from the John Day River, all with working pumps.

Other Water:

There are good springs in the canyons and draws of the ranch that prove adequate for cattle and wildlife.


The property’s exterior boundary fences appear to be in adequate condition. There are also interior fenced pastures. Some of that fencing needs additional maintenance. Parts of the west boundaries are not fenced except by natural high rock geographic boundaries.


The ranch is run as a cow/calf operation, making use of deeded and federal grazing allotments. The reported carrying capacity is 1,000 pair, with winter feed being purchased. The ranch does remain open to graze during many winters. However, if feeding is required, the cattle will require 1-1.5 TNS of hay per head. The ranch does fall within an “open range” area. 


At this time there are 9 separate pastures within the ranch.

Ranch Carrying Capacity:

Including both BLM, USFS permits, and the deeded acres, the owners indicate the ranch should carry around 650-700 pair year-round and more with optimal spring rains.


The primary residence is located in Wasco County along Hwy. 218. It provides 2,317 square feet of living space and 780 square feet of unfinished basement. The home contains 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, and forced air oil heat. The garage is detached, 3-car, and 912 square feet.
The second home and remaining outbuildings are located in Wheeler County on the River Ranch, 5 miles east of the primary residence. Manufactured in 1999, this home provides 1,232 square feet, 3 bedrooms, and 2 bathrooms.
Barn #1 – 3,360 square feet
Barn #2 – 2,080 square feet
Shed – 990 square feet
Cabin – 648 square feet

Domestic Water For:

Primary residence – spring fed
2nd home – well, new pump

Mineral Rights:

The owner does not warrant that there are any mineral rights available. However, any mineral or geothermal rights owned by the seller are included as part of the property being offered for sale.  

Recreation and Wildlife:

Located in the Biggs and Fossil Units, the ranch qualifies for eight (8) Landowner Preference tags (LOP) under the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife guidelines. Within this area resides excellent populations of mule deer, elk, antelope, and big horn sheep. Private access to the John Day River also offers numerous recreational opportunities. A nearly year-round fishery, the river includes steelhead, bass, and trout, and provides world-class angling for smallmouth bass. The river canyon also produces a significant upland bird population of chukar, quail, pheasant, and partridge.           
Historically, the ranch has allowed some limited access for hunting, fishing, swiming, rafting, hiking, and launching, that does not interefere with the ranching activities. Launching rafts and boats at Clarno is very popular. The boat inputs are on BLM lands.

John Day River

The John Day River, at just over 280 mles long, is the second longest free-flowing river in the 48 contiguous states. It drains nearly 8,100 square miles from its headwaters in the Strawberry Mountains (elevation 9,000 feet) to its confluence with the Columbia River (elevation 265 feet).
With scenic canyons in its upper course and several significant paleontological sites along its banks, the four branches of the river have joined together before reaching Kimberly in northwestern Grant County. The river flows west across Wheeler County and turns north at the Jefferson County line. The course meanders increasingly as the river forms the boundary between Sherman and Gilliam Counties.
The National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and the Oregon Scenic Waterways Act protect the natural, scenic and recreational values of the river. Congress designated 147.5 miles of the river from Service Creek to Tumwater Falls as the John Day Wild and Scenic River, part of the national Wild and Scenic River program. In addition, the river provides habitat for wild salmon, bass, redband trout, bull trout, and west slope cutthroat trout.
The Wildlife Conservancy has established a preserve named for the Dunstan family that homesteaded the site in 1888. The conservancy works with Oregon Fish and Wildlife, Malheur National Forest, the Umatilla and Warm Springs Confederated Tribes, and others to restore natural flows and vegetation to the river floodplain. Ecologists have developed a forestry plan to restore the uplands.
Recreation opportunities include hunting, fishing, sightseeing, horseback riding, hiking, snowmobiling, skiing, camping, and whitewater rafting. The John Day is navigable by small craft and raft. 
Designated a national monument in 1974, more than 14,000 acres of the John Day Fossil Beds have been studied since the late 1800s for ancient life preserved in volcanic ash.
Formerly known as the Mau Mau River, it took on the name of “John Day” after Day and his companion Ramsay Crooks were attacked by Indians near its mouth in 1812.
The two men were robbed and left naked. Having stayed behind because Day was ill, the men had been members of the Wilson Price Hunt or “Overland Party” of the Pacific Fur Company (funded by John Jacob Astor) headed for Astoria. They were rescued by Robert Stuart’s party headed for Astoria. Day was later assigned to accompany Stuart back across the plains to St. Louis with messages for Astor, when Day reportedly went insane and attempted suicide.
Day is reported to have died four times. One story says that after Day became deranged and attempted suicide, he ran away and wandered in the forest until he died. A second story reports Day returned to Astoria and died within the year. A third report claims Day died at a hunter’s cabin above Tongue Point on the Columbia River. The fourth, and most likely correct, report of his death is in Alex Ross’s (Hudson Bay Company Snake River Country) journal, “Went up the Headwaters of the river. This is the defile where in 1819 died John Day.”
Day likely never visited the two towns and fossil bed that bear his name.
The McDonald Ford, a short distance south of the river’s mouth, was named for a man who also was reported to have been attacked and left naked by Indians during the winter of 1812. Indians apparently traversed the area frequently, leaving trails (still visible today in rangeland) to reach fishing, hunting, foraging, and trading areas.

Wasco County:

Wasco County is located in north Central Oregon along the Columbia River, with The Dalles being the largest city and the county seat. The population of Wasco County, which has been increasing recently, is approximately 23,800. Except for The Dalles, the communities in Wasco County are rural and land use is predominantly agricultural. The county’s principal industries are agriculture, lumber, manufacturing, electric power generation, transportation, and aluminum manufacturing.

Wheeler County:

Wheeler County was created on February 17, 1899, from parts of Grant, Gilliam, and Crook Counties. With a population of approximately 1,441, Wheeler is the least populous county in Oregon. The county seat is Fossil and principal industries are agriculture, livestock, and lumber.

Sherman County:

Sherman County was created on February 25, 1889 out of the northeast corner of Wasco County. The county seat is Moro and the largest city is Wasco. With a population of approximately 1,765, Sherman County is the second least populous county in Oregon.  Sherman County is predominantly an agricultural county, its economy receiving some aid from ranching and tourism. Its farms primarily produce wheat and barley. It is also home to the Biglow Canyon Wind Farm, the largest project of its kind in Oregon

Gilliam County:

Gilliam County is located in the heart of Eastern Oregon, along the Columbia River. Established in 1885, Gilliam County has a population of approximately 1,871. The county seat is Condon. Situated in the Columbia River Plateau wheat-growing region, the economy is largely based on agriculture, with wheat, barley, and beef cattle as the principal products. Hunting, fishing and tourism are secondary industries, and transportation contributes to the local economy as well.

Fossil History:

Several years ago, the family sold off several hundred acres on the east side of the ranch, now known as part of the John Day River Fossil Beds at Clarno.
The ranch still contains additional fossils in some areas, according OMSI at Camp Hancock, which is located in the Clarno Unit of the J.D. Fossil Beds National Monument. Evidence exists showing life, carbon dated to 50 million years ago. There are many fossils in this area dated to 15,000 years ago, including 4-toed horses and a bear-like predator. Those animals are on display at the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center near Dayville, Oregon.
Few places in North America offer such a unique look into the distant past of animals and plants, dated from 40-54 million years ago.


The ranch is zoned Exclusive Farm Use (EFU). 

Distances to other cities:

Bend, OR – 89.1 miles
Portland, OR – 182.3 miles
Seattle, WA – 303 miles

Related Resources:

Oregon Department Fish Wildlife: http://www.dfw.state.or.us./
Wasco County: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wasco_County,_Oregon
Wheeler County: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheeler_County,_Oregon
Sherman County: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherman_County,_Oregon
Gilliam County: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilliam_County,_Oregon

Offered by:
The Whitney Land Company

Todd Longgood, Broker
 Email Todd

Jim Whitney, CCIM, Broker

Please contact The Whitney Land Company office to schedule a showing.  A listing agent must be present at all times to tour the property.

All of the information within this sales package has been gathered from State, County and City records and officials as well as others who are deemed reliable; however, the broker and agents can not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information herein contained. It is also subject to change, prior sale or withdrawal.