The Van Trump Report

Three Springs Ranch… Where the Deer and the Dinosaur Roamed

In 1979, 12-year-old India Wood discovered part of an allosaurus skeleton on a property known as “Three Springs Ranch”, located just east of the aptly named town of Dinosaur, in northwest Colorado. For the first time in 50 years, the cattle ranch is now being listed for sale. 

Jack Foster, a New-Orleans based investor, has owned Three Springs Ranch since the 1970s. As Foster sets to retire, the ranch which consists of 21,033 deeded acres and additional grazing permits on adjacent BLM and State of Colorado lands totaling over 87,000 acres is being priced at $15.5 million. But the story that comes with it is priceless.

India Wood turns out to be somewhat of an interesting character as she spent her time digging in the rocky hills when she could in order to keep clear of her mother who suffered from bipolar and had divorced her father when Wood was only three. Because her mom had no money, she would often take her two girls to friends’ ranches for some cheap entertainment.

One day in 1979, when India was 12 years old, they were visiting the Three Springs Ranch and India saw a little piece of bone sticking out of the hillside. By the time she was finished digging, she had uncovered an extremely large hip bone.

For the next couple of years when she could get back to the ranch, India would continue to take home the bones of some type of animal she nicknamed Alice. She continued to keep digging and the collection of bones she kept in her closet continued to grow. She remembered telling herself, “I’m just a kid, I’m a girl, I couldn’t have found anything important, so I kept digging it up by myself.”  

In 1982 her mother decided to rent out their home, so she took the 18 large bones Woods had stored in her bedroom closet to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science which confirmed that they belonged to a prehistoric Allosaurus that lived 155 to 145 million years ago during the Late Jurassic epoch.  

India would eventually be written up in People Magazine and was admitted into several Ivy League colleges on the strength of her allosaurus research and her exceptional grades. India eventually settled in Boston with her husband Paul. One day she received a call out of the blue from Richard Stuckey who had been hired by the museum in 1989 and charged with revitalizing the paleontology department. He planned to build a new fossil hall and when he came across India’s allosaurus scattered around in dusty cabinets he was stunned, saying that the allosaurus was in the top 1% of the best-preserved dinosaur specimens that had ever seen discovered. He wanted to make “Alice” the centerpiece of the new dinosaur hall and he wanted India’s story to be a part of it. In 1995, the fully mounted allosaurus would become part of the Prehistoric Journey exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

India Wood never did officially become a paleontologist, but rather, she majored in English literature at Dartmouth and earned her MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and would go on to found a business research firm that produced wildly successful industry studies. But the day she saw “Alice” on display, she recalls the surrealness of the moment, and the fantasies of her 12-year-old-self coming to fruition. 

As far as the property is concerned, I’m told the ranch stretches 18 miles from its northern boundary with Dinosaur National Monument to the White River Valley to the south. I should mention that the ranch benefits from a variety of water sources including Wolf Creek, springs, reservoirs, stock ponds, and wells, both domestic and livestock. Three Springs currently supports a year-round cattle operation and has had functional improvements over the years, consisting of two owner’s homes, a hunting cabin, a manager’s home, and an employee house, plus a shop and all the requisite agricultural improvements. 

If you’re a hunter, Three Springs offers trophy big game boasting bulls that are commonly over 300 inches, and many mature to the 350 to 400-inch range. The ranch is also notable for its unique combination of multiple allocated hunting tags in a trophy area where tags are difficult to draw. Fortunately, Three Springs Ranch offers the best of both a high-quality hunt with a private tag allocation achieved through the Colorados Ranching for Wildlife program. The result is a unique ranch with exceptional big game hunting complemented by a well-run livestock program and an attractive western landscape. You can learn more about the property HERE. (Source:

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