Recreational Hobby Farm in the Beautiful Nicola Valley – Merritt, BC
- Select Property type: Sold
- DESCRIPTION: Rare opportunity to own a historical hobby farm 2 kilometers from downtown Merritt and less than 3 hours from Vancouver. This 180-acre property resides on an elevated bench overlooking the Nicola Valley and possesses a residence and 31 acres in hay meadow.
- LISTING NUMBER : 18041
- PRICE: $1,099,000
- SIZE: 179 acres
Known as “Gilbert Blair’s Pre Emption” this unique 180-acre property was originally homesteaded in 1892. Since its inception, each sequential owner has meticulously maintained and improved the property to help enhance the beauty and utility the property now possesses.
Consisting of two separate titles, this property is the perfect amalgamation of convenience, ruggedness and privacy. With its proximity to downtown Merritt, all the conveniences associated with urban living may be attained in mere minutes. However, the property’s size and topographical structure ensure that this modern convenience does not retract from the privacy and recreational opportunity the property affords.
The southernmost title (District Lot 1923, PID: 011-222-824) contains the residence, guest cabin, utility sheds, a 31-acre hay meadow and rock quarry. Each separate entity has been thoughtfully implemented to ensure the utmost in functionality and practicality. This southern title consists of 112.2 acres upon which rests the 1168 sqft manufactured home. The residence is outfitted with a fully operative septic system, registered well and electricity. In addition to the residence is a guest cabin, which also possesses a full array of services. The guest cabin is an ideal structure to house relatives or friends who come to visit.
The utility shed on this southern parcel houses the property’s water system and doubles as a large storage area. With a concrete floor, the new owner may house their tools and toys in this utility shed with and feel confident of their security in their absence. Attached to the utility shed is a covered storage port, which provides additional storage for larger items and mechanized vehicles.
Despite the highway frontage of District Lot 1923, the topographical bench upon which the property rests, serves as a measure of privacy and as protection against any highway traffic/noise. The property sits 20+ feet above the highway thus, eliminating all such annoyances associated with traffic.
As a bonus, due to the south facing orientation of this parcel, it is blessed with a superior growing season compared to those properties lower in the Nicola Valley. This will permit a landowner to grow a wide array of fruits and vegetables not achievable in other areas of the valley. Combine these ideal climatic growing conditions with the property’s elevation at 1985 feet above sea level and we get an ideal location for grapes to be grown and harvested. Imagine making your own wine!
District Lot 1923 ascends up into the hills, as it stretches northward. A landowner can make use of the immaculately maintained trail systems to ascend into the privacy and solitude of the wooded hills. Upon reaching the pinnacle of the first set of hills, an expansive view of the Nicola Valley may be attained and is ideal for watching both the sunrise and sunset. A bird’s eye view of your very own hayfields and farm yard may be attained upon achieving these heights. No other property in the Nicola Valley will afford you such a spectacle.
Proceeding northward and leaving the southern parcel behind we reach the northern lot (District Lot 183, PID: 011-222-808). This lot provides vast quantities of recreational opportunity. The majority of the parcel is enveloped in Douglas Fir and a grassy under growth, which may be explored via an intricate trail system. The trail system extends from the southern lot and snakes through this northern parcel before spider webbing out into the hundreds of miles of trail systems on the crownland surrounding the property. There is no limit to your adventure and many days will pass before you find another soul recreating in the crownland adjacent to the property.
At every corner of the trail system, an individual is greeted by a new and unique view of the Nicola Valley below. Large populations of Mule Deer, California Bighorns, Whitetail Deer, Black Bear, Cougar, Owls, Hawks, Eagles, Rabbits, Squirrels and the occasional Moose rummage about the forest floor below the Douglas Fir canopy. Such animal sightings provide nature lovers with unlimited photo opportunities.
All original survey monuments on both titles have been identified and clearly marked with their associated GPS coordinates recorded. There is no mistaking the exact boundaries of both titles.
The farming operations on District Lot 1923 are sufficient to warrant farm taxation benefits. Thus, greatly reducing the carrying costs associated with such an investment. District Lot 183 no longer receives farm taxation status, due to the landowner’s preference to maintain the natural beauty of the surrounding forests by not grazing cattle in amongst the trees. A reassessment of the parcel’s taxation status may be applied for if a new landowner would prefer to open up the northern parcel to livestock grazing.
Ultimately, this property is a combination of raw beauty, rural recreation, hobby farming and urban convenience. The property’s close proximity to the urban centers of Vancouver, Kamloops, and Kelowna make this property a viable capital investment. The property may be reached by vehicle in less than three hours from the Vancouver airport.
701 Merritt-Spences Bridge Highway (2 road KMs west of Merritt)
From downtown Merritt, head westward on Highway 8 (Merritt-Spences Bridge Highway) for 3 KMs. Property and driveway will be on the north side of the road opposite the Highway’s intersection with Billwiller Road.
Nestled in the heart of the Nicola Valley, Merritt (population: 7,000) offers an active and unique lifestyle amid the incredible scenery of British Columbia’s southern interior. Wind erosion has created unique formations in the walls of Windy Canyon near Merritt and ancient shorelines of 10,000-year old glacial lakes are visible in the surrounding grasslands where cattle graze undisturbed. Located 278 KM (168 miles) from Vancouver, Merritt’s rolling hills, cattle ranches, resort lodgings and fishing lakes combine a rich culture and history with outdoor adventure.
Whilst visiting, you can stay at a ranch that preserves the cowboy culture, which transcends Merritt and the surrounding Thompson-Okanagan region. Douglas Lake Ranch is a working cattle ranch in the immediate area, and Canada’s largest. The ranch offers fishing on their 11 private lakes. The A-P Guest Ranch is home to historical ranch buildings that date back to their original 1911 homestead. Meanwhile the Quilchena Hotel offers unique accommodation in a period-style house overlooking Nicola Lake.
The Nicola Valley and surrounding regions are rich in bio-diversity and ecosystems. The area consists of both moist and dry forests, grasslands, sage brush, alpine meadows and various wetlands.
The town of Merritt lies in British Columbia’s Interior Plateau region, which occupies the majority of the southern and central portions of the province. This entire plateau resides in the rain shadow of the coastal mountains thus, Merritt receives on average only about 245mm of rainfall annually with June typically serving as the wettest month. The town is blessed with 2,050 hours of annual sunshine assisting in the production of very large crop/hay yields. The large quantities of sunshine and mild climate make the town of Merritt and the Nicola Valley a gardener’s paradise.
This property offers infinite recreational opportunities to adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts. Below are some of those activities:
This property is a hunter’s dream. It sits in Management Unit 3-19 and offers multiple general big game tags. General tags for Mule Deer bucks, Whitetail bucks, spike horn bull Moose, Black Bear and Game Bird species are all available on an annual basis. There is ample tree cover and terrain undulations to permit bucks to reach maturity. The alfalfa field provides a robust food source for the resident big game species and it is not unusual to see 50-70 Whitetail Deer browsing in the alfalfa field during the winter months. The topography of the property creates a series of funnel points perfect for setting up a bow hunting stand.
In addition to hunting, there is plenty of opportunity to try your hand at skeet shooting or plinking in one of the many safe locations on the property. Shots well past 100 yards are possible.
This property possesses an intricate manmade trail network that allows you to explore the entirety of the property under your own locomotive power. The current landowners have affectionately named their favorite hiking trail “Cardiac Hill,” which consists of a 1.4 KM loop and an 800 foot vertical climb. This is a perfect hike to accomplish first thing in the morning or late at night in order to view the sunrise or sunset.
The trail affectionately known as Little Loop Trail is 4.8 KMs return and is entirely situated on private property. In addition to the trails located on the two titles, is the hundreds of miles of trails stretching out onto the adjacent crownland. Essentially, there is no limit to your exploration possibilities.
Off-roading – Dirt Biking, Mountain Biking, Side-by-Side and ATVing
The very same aforementioned trail network may also be utilized by off-road enthusiasts for a variety of motor sports. The trails are well constructed and more than wide enough to access via a full size pickup truck. Again, these trail networks extend into the surrounding crownland providing unlimited off-road recreation.
The region surrounding Merritt is famous for its trophy trout lakes. The fishing opportunities are endless and anglers can be catching salmon within a short commute from the property. Try towing an aluminum fishing boat to one of the region’s many lakes and try Fly Fishing with chronomids for guaranteed success.
The town of Merritt has acquired quite the reputation for hosting music festivals in the summer. Specifically, there is the Rockin’ River Music Festival, which is hosted in Merritt each August. This festival brings in famous country stars each and every year to perform under the summer sun. Because of the close proximity of the property to the festival grounds, you can take in all the action of the day and retreat to your quiet, private sanctuary following the festivities.
Shopping and Dining
Because of the property’s close proximity to Merritt, if you do not feel like making dinner one evening, a short commute into town will present you with a wide array of meal options. Again, this is the ultimate amalgamation of rural privacy with urban convenience. Whether it is breakfast at the “Kekuli Café” or dinner at the “Game On Sports Bar and Grill” you have many options to satisfy the most particular of tastes.
Merritt and the immediate vicinity offer ideal growing conditions for garden enthusiasts. With its low elevation, Merritt general experiences mild winters with little snow fall and warm, dry, sunny summers. The average growing season is approximately five months with 250 frost free days per annum. The current residents have, for the past two decades, been growing their very own grape vines adjacent to the house.
This property, specifically, would serve as an excellent equestrian retreat. The 31-acre hayfield and ample space will enable you to enjoy your own self-sustaining equestrian ranch. When augmented with the trail network and surrounding crownland, this property is a horse owner’s paradise. There is ample room to build barns and other infrastructure to further accommodate such pursuits.
For years the Merritt area was used as a gathering place for both local settlers, First Nations groups and as a transportation route by early pioneers. The grasslands eventually drew the attention of settlers interested in ranching, and the first ranches were staked in the mid-19th century.
In the 1880s three ranches, located at the confluence of the Nicola and Coldwater Rivers, owned by William Voght, Jesus Garcia, and the John Charters Estate, became the focus of a farming community knows as “The Forks”. With the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway through British Columbia in 1885, interest increased in the coal deposits south of The Forks.
Part of the ranches owned by Voght, Garcia and Charters were surveyed in 1893 for the town site of Forksdale, but the name did not catch on with locals. Instead, the name was changed in 1906 to honour William Hamilton Merritt, a mining engineer and railway promoter. By 1907, the coal mines were in operation and with the completion of the railway from Spences Bridge, government and business offices started moving to Merritt helping to establish the town, as the major settlement in the Nicola Valley.
This property offers numerous investment features all of which serve a as security blanket and source of revenue should the new landowner choose to utilize them. These are outlined below.
District Lot 1923 (southern parcel) contains a 31-acre hay meadow that yields three cuts/annum equating to 120 tons/year. The hayfield utilizes hand line irrigation with a 40-horsepower electric pump and buried 7-inch mainline to distribute water to the sprinklers.
District Lot 183 (northern parcel) could be utilized to graze livestock and thus, in doing so, reacquire its farm status taxation.
District Lot 183 was selectively logged in 1995. Less than 30% of the Douglas Fir was removed at this juncture, which netted fifty-five thousand dollars ($55,000). The current landowners have also been systematically removing all Yellow Pine from the property, which was attacked and destroyed by the Mountain Pine Beetle. As such, Douglas Fir is the dominant tree species on the property. District Lot 183 still presents blanketed tree cover with enough Fir for domestic use on the property or to net a sizable commercial return if the new owner was so inclined. Because of the forest remediation, which has taken place on the property, the forest cover is breathtaking and provides excellent habitat for all of the property’s wildlife.
District Lot 1923 has an existing rock quarry, which has provided foundation material to Merritt industry for many years. The quarry still possesses robust reserves including large reserves of Rip-Rap. The property also contains a large gravel deposit, visible from Highway 8, which possesses an unquantifiable reserve of gravel. The presence of this gravel deposit was first exposed during the installation of the 7-inch irrigation water line as it proceeded through the hay field.
District Lot 1923 is currently serviced by a 200 amp., 220 volt, single-phase panel located in the utility building on the south side of the property. The single-phase power is distributed via an underground cable to the residence and guest cabin. Three-phase power is made available along Highway 8. The three-phase power, situated along the Highway, is currently utilized to operate the 40-horsepower pump, which is used in irrigation.
Annually, a landowner can expect pay approximately $2,500 in electrical bills in order to properly irrigate the hay field.
Natural gas is available at the property line near the southwest corner of District Lot 1923. This natural gas transmission line was installed 1996. The presence of the natural gas line, on the southwest fringe of the property, enhances the overall value by creating subdivision potential for the District Lot 1923. Multiple pan handle lots are made possible by the implementation of this natural gas infrastructure.
District Lot 1923 is fortunate in that it is situated over top of an alluvial fan. Typically, alluvial fans have large quantities of water flowing beneath them. The water follows the topography of the landscape and fans out in a downward orientation towards the valley floor directly below the property. As such, there is no shortage of available water.
The domestic water well is drilled to a depth of 100 feet and yields 11 gallons per minute (based on the driller’s estimate). The static water level in the well sits at 80 feet thus, the 100 foot well ensures an ample and secure water supply. 11 gallons per minute is more than sufficient to satisfy all domestic water needs. The water is of high quality and tastes delicious.
Water, utilized for irrigation, is pumped from what is believed to be a class 2 artesian spring at the base of the alluvial fan. Approximately 300 gallons per minute are pumped from this spring to irrigate the 31-acre hay meadow. Water is transported through a 7-inch buried pipeline utilizing the aforementioned 40-horsepower pump.
Cell Phone Reception
Unlike most properties, which offer similar utility and ruggedness, this property has cell phone coverage over its entire area. Parents will enjoy this security, as their children play in the surrounding hills and forest whilst remaining in contact with home. In the event of the unforeseen, a cell phone may be utilized to call back to the primary residence or to emergency services.
Internet and Cable
Both Shaw and Telus are available to the residence due to the property’s proximity to Merritt. The current landowners run Telus to the house at a speed of 6.5 megs/second.
Both the primary residence and the guest cabin are hooked up to their own separate septic systems. The septic systems have been pumped every 5 years and the landowners are looking to pump the system again this year.
- Primary Residence:
- manufactured home (1,168 sqft)
- three separate bedrooms all of fair size
- full four-piece bathroom
- open concept living/dining room
- appliances include dishwasher, fridge, stove, washer/dryer and air conditioning unit
- Guest Cabin
- Utility Shed
- Covered Storage Port
District Lot 1923: 535.59 (2017)
District Lot 183: 427.03 (2017)
District Lot 1923: RL-1 designation and intersects with the ALR.
District Lot 183: RL-1 designation and does not intersect with the ALR.
RL-1 (Rural Land Zone):
The purpose of this zone is to permit activities associated with agricultural, forestry, recreational, and resource uses, and to provide for a rural environment.
In the RL-1 zone, subject to s.8.1.1, the following uses are permitted on a parcel and all others are prohibited:
(a) one single family dwelling, one two family dwelling, or one manufactured home;
(b) agricultural and horticultural use;
(c) intensive agricultural use;
(d) forestry practice use;
(e) processing of aggregate materials;
(f) open land recreation;
(g) aircraft landing field;
(h) golf course;
(i) cemetery, school, community hall, eco-depot, and waste transfer station;
(j) winery, cidery, and microbrewery; and
(k) storage of explosives.
The following uses are only permitted subject to a principal use existing on the parcel:
(l) home based business;
(m) rustic guest ranch;
(n) riding stable;
(o) pet breeding and kennel use;
(p) accessory building; and
(q) bed and breakfast.
The property’s location on the western edge of Merritt makes this property a “Fringe Property of Merritt.” Thus, the town’s planning department would have input in regards to any rezoning or development application made to the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.
*Both parcels fall under the Rural Resource Zoning Bylaw for the Nicola Valley OCP. Areas designated as Rural Resource may be used for a variety of activities including:
- forestry and grazing,
- resource extraction and onsite-processing,
- parks and public use.
DISTRICT LOT 1923 KAMLOOPS DIVISION YALE DISTRICT
DISTRICT LOT 183 KAMLOOPS DIVISION YALE DISTRICT