The last undiscovered place in Colorado

  • Evan Melby

    Peter McBride
 

Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story.

Twenty minutes south of San Luis, Colo., large road signs tell you Wild Horse Mesa is nearby. Evan Melby is the owner of 25,000 acres here; his billboards announce you can buy a five-acre lot for $4,990, or $750 down and monthly payments of $75. Melby and his one-room office are not easy to find. His platted development winds through a maze of dead ends and miles of roads made of crushed volcanic rock.

Evan Melby: "It is so fulfilling giving people their dream. I have 3,000 2.5-acre lots and 99 percent are already sold. I have over 300 miles of roads up here, and my latest plan is to put in a two-story restaurant and five-unit hotel up by my runway for "fly-ins."

"The runway is two miles long and I have 75 lots surrounding it. Pilots will be able to fly their planes right to their front door. I don't know of any other place you can do that.

"I have a 30,000-gallon water tank up here that I fill using pumps and then it will gravity-feed the lots. But right now I don't know what I will do with the water system. I don't promote it yet - clients are responsible for their own wells.

"This is the best elk hunting in Colorado: Everybody gets an elk that owns land. I love animals here. I feed the elk grain and salt to keep them around. The customers love it.

"I have probably 50 percent-to-60 percent absentee owners, but some day all these five-acre lots will have homes, and the utilities will come. You know, California was just as empty at some point.

"The county is going to grow. People are going to move. Ninety-five percent of the Hispanic community is all for these new people coming to the valley.

"This is the last undiscovered place in Colorado. Isn't it incredible?"

High Country News Classifieds
  • CAMPAIGN MANAGER
    Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA), a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to protecting, defending and restoring Oregon's high desert, seeks a Campaign Manager to works as...
  • HECHO DEPUTY DIRECTOR
    Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO) was created in 2013 to help fulfill our duty to conserve and protect our public lands for...
  • REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE, COLUMBIA CASCADES
    The Regional Representative serves as PCTA's primary staff on the ground along the trail working closely with staff, volunteers, and nonprofit and agency partners. This...
  • FINANCE AND OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
    The Montana Land Reliance (MLR) seeks a full-time Finance and Operations Director to manage the internal functions of MLR and its nonprofit affiliates. Key areas...
  • DIRECTOR OF CONSERVATION
    The Nature Conservancy is recruiting for a Director of Conservation. Provides strategic leadership and support for all of the Conservancy's conservation work in Arizona. The...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Amargosa Conservancy (AC), a conservation nonprofit dedicated to standing up for water and biodiversity in the Death Valley region, seeks an executive director to...
  • BIG BASIN SENIOR PROJECT PLANNER - CLIMATE ADAPTATION & RESILIENCE
    Parks California Big Basin Senior Project Planner - Climate Adaptation & Resilience ORGANIZATION BACKGROUND Parks California is a new organization working to ensure that our...
  • CUSTOMER SERVICE ASSISTANT - (PART-TIME)
    High Country News, an award-winning media organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a part-time Customer Service Assistant, based at...
  • SCIENCE PROJECT MANAGER
    About Long Live the Kings (LLTK) Our mission is to restore wild salmon and steelhead and support sustainable fishing in the Pacific Northwest. Since 1986,...
  • HUMAN RESOURCES GENERALIST
    Honor the Earth is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on identity. Indigenous people, people of color, Two-Spirit or LGBTQA+ people,...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Colorado Trout Unlimited seeks an individual with successful development experience, strong interpersonal skills, and a deep commitment to coldwater conservation to serve as the organization's...
  • NEW BOOK BY AWARD-WINNING WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST, BRUCE SMITH
    In a perilous place at the roof of the world, an orphaned mountain goat is rescued from certain death by a mysterious raven.This middle-grade novel,...
  • DESCHUTES LAND TRUST VOLUNTEER PROGRAM MANAGER
    The Deschutes Land Trust is seeking an experienced Volunteer Program Manager to join its dedicated team! Deschutes Land Trust conserves and cares for the lands...
  • PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Now hiring a full-time, remote Program Director for the Society for Wilderness Stewardship! Come help us promote excellence in the professional practice of wilderness stewardship,...
  • WYOMING COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS COORDINATOR
    The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is seeking Coordinator to implement public education and advocacy campaigns in the Cowboy State to unite and amplify hunter, angler,...
  • ASSISTANT TOWN ATTORNEY
    Town of Jackson, Wyoming, $66,700 - $88,000 DOQ, full benefits. Law Degree Required. Rental housing options available. For a complete job description and to apply,...
  • MOUNTAIN LOTS FOR SALE
    Multiple lots in gated community only 5 miles from Great Sand Dunes National Park. Seasonal flowing streams. Year round road maintenance.
  • RURAL ACREAGE OUTSIDE SILVER CITY, NM
    Country living just minutes from town! 20 acres with great views makes a perfect spot for your custom home. Nice oaks and juniper. Cassie Carver,...
  • A FIVE STAR FOREST SETTING WITH SECLUSION AND SEPARATENESS
    This home is for a discerning buyer in search of a forest setting of premier seclusion & separateness. Surrounded on all sides by USFS land...
  • CARPENTER WANTED
    CARPENTER WANTED. Come to Ketchikan and check out the Rainforest on the coast, HIke the shorelines, hug the big trees, watch deer in the muskeg...