- County: Uvalde
- Zip: 78884
- Type: Hunting Land, Ranches, Recreational Property
- City: Utopia
- Price: $11,652,000
- Acres: 2,913
- State/Zip: Texas 78884
- Status: Available
This exclusive offering features approximately 2,913 acres of diverse beauty and generational stewardship. The ranch has been in the same family dating back to 1885 and has a rich history of conservation and land stewardship. The book and screenplay for the Robert Duvall movie, Seven Days in Utopia, was written and inspired from this ranch. This incredible ranch has a unique spiritual quality that will soothe the soul. The size and beauty of Seco will captivate you with its overwhelming, forever views and lush landscapes. You can experience the essence of history and rich natural beauty through the diverse offerings of this ranch.
Location: Seco Ranch is located a short 5 miles Southeast of Utopia, Texas on paved Seco Road (County Road 354). This area sits in the far Northeast corner of Uvalde County and near the conversion of Bandera and Medina Counties. This unique area of the Texas Hill Country is know for aesthetic beauty with large ranges of hills and valleys that offer giant views and flowing water to the beautiful streams and rivers in the area. The Sabinal, Frio, and Medina Rivers are beautiful natural attractions that invite visitors from all over to enjoy their beauty. Local attractions within reach of the ranch are abundant and include Lost Maples State Natural Area, Garner State Park, the famed Utopia Golf Course, and Lost Maples Caf. Seco Ranch is approximately 85 miles from the San Antonio International Airport.
Topography: Seco Ranch offers a wildly diverse topography with over 600ft of elevation relief. The ranch features some of the highest elevations in the area offering unique, giant views in multiple directions looking over both the Sabinal and Seco Valleys. Between the peaks lie lush canyons with intermittent springs and fertile meadows offering scenery from all aspects. The ranch is basically surrounded by its own range of sprawling and elevated plateaus, rock bluffs, and rolling hills flowing down to creeks and meadows that create a bowl effect offering unique privacy and seclusion to the heart of the ranch.
Rangeland/Habitat: Native vegetation is abundant and diverse with many hardwoods including Lacey (Blue) Oak, Madrone, Cedar Elm, Wild Cherry, Walnut, and some very impressive Live Oaks over a century old. The canyon beds are lined with Texas Mountain Laurels providing a sweet aroma in the spring. Much of the higher elevations and outcrop areas hold dense cedar offering excellent cover for animals while many lower areas offer gentle meadows with fertile deep soils and excellent deep rooted native grasses. These fertile areas provide excellent grazing for cattle or exotics and could be used for improved grasses or food plots. There is an abundance and variety of smaller brushy plants providing excellent browse feeding for deer.
Wildlife/Hunting: Seco Ranch is perimeter game fenced and has been under MLDP (Managed Lands Deer Permit) program with Texas Parks and Wildlife for whitetail management. There has been minimal hunting pressure with good stewardship and feeding for decades. Other wildlife includes Aoudad, known to roam the hills and canyons, and also turkey, hogs, and dove hunting are plentiful. The existing blinds and feeders on the main ranch will convey. (Not on the 103ac across Seco Road)
Water: During the 1980s Texas A&M conducted a targeted study on the removal of juniper on a small area of the ranch which opened up a spring that has not stopped flowing since. There is a spring box and pipe that channel the water into the creek bottom. Seco Creek is a wet weather creek but during wet periods after abundant rain there are springs/seeps and creeks that flow for extended periods with beautiful waterfalls and pools. (As shown in the photographs). There are multiple opportunities to create water features and lake sites. There is a small lake near the front of the ranch that holds water during wet periods but drains down during dryer times that could be re-lined to better hold water. There are a couple of other smaller ponds around the ranch.
Improvements: There are no vertical improvements to encumber your dreams so you can build it the way you want it. There is abundant groundwater with a recently dug water well reportedly capable of producing over 100GPM. There are also two solar wells in the pastures providing water for livestock and wildlife. As mentioned, the perimeter is game fenced. The road system around the ranch is adequate for ATV.
History: The Seco Ranch is one of the longest held family ranches in Uvalde and Bandera counties. The genesis of the Seco Ranch began with an inauspicious purchase of 200 acres by Charles Harper in 1885. Charlie and his family cast their lot in the hill country near the tiny outpost of Utopia established by Captain William Ware just 32 years earlier in 1853.
Charlie Harpers daughter, Lois, married an ambitious young entrepreneur, Clarence Kelley, who had started a grocery distribution business in Sabinal, consisting of one horse and a single cart. As Kelleys business grew, he purchased the 200 acres from Harper, his father-in-law, in 1930 for just $4 per acre.
Over the ensuing decades, Kelley increased his distribution business to Beaumont/Port Arthur and also increased the boundaries of the Seco Ranch. He purchased 1,300 acres from the Porter family, followed by approximately 1,400 from the Hicks. His good relationship with the McCulloughs resulted in an additional acquisition of 1,500 acres. The final purchase was close to 1,000 acres on the south end from the Donoho family, bringing the Seco Ranch to a little more than 5,400 acres.
The Seco Ranch was actually one of two ranches owned by Kelley. The other is on FM 187 about five miles outside of Utopia and still in the family. Kelley raised Brahma cattle and Angora goats on this other ranch while the more secluded Seco remained relatively wild and undeveloped.
In the late 1970s, Kelley passed away followed by his wife in 1982. At that time, the two ranches passed to his daughters, Eloise and Lois. Lois and her husband Richard Freeman inherited the Seco Ranch. Freeman, a pastor in Waco, began developing the ranch on a very limited budget. Freemans vision was to make the ranch profitable, but beyond that, to create a hunting environment where fathers could create lasting memories with their children.
Over the next 35 years, Rev. Freeman developed the Seco Ranch into a Level 3 Managed Land Deer Permit program. More importantly, Freeman created a culture in which his three children with their families and many others have had an opportunity to develop both strong character and a love of responsible hunting on this beautiful land. During this time, Freeman sold the Porter and Donoho portions of the ranch, reducing the Seco Ranch to 3,423 acres.
At the age of 82, Freeman and his wife, Lois, called their three children together and announced that they had decided to sell the majority of the Seco Ranch. The seasons of life change for every family and so it had for the Freemans after 131 years. The family has never considered themselves the owners of the land, but merely the stewards of Gods land for a window of time. As this window closes, the family looks forward to handing the baton to the next person, who will steward the land in the years to come.
© 2016 Texas Alliance of Land Brokers
© 2016 CoStar Group, Inc.