Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why have Red Canyon Company’s properties become so popular?
The Wilderness Preservation Community™ (WPC) concept is sensible way to protect the land and preserve wildlife habitat. The concept began when Jim Farmer, as a concerned neighbor, wanted to protect the area around his Black Hills home from overdevelopment. Aside from parks, WPC properties represent the best hope for preserving wildlife habitat and the natural beauty of the Black Hills.
WPC properties combine extremely low population density (90 percent of the land is preserved) with covenants that are designed and enforced to forever protect the land, privacy and views. To that end, Red Canyon Company pioneered a new land-planning approach in the Hills. When considering a potential homesite, we tether a helium balloon to the maximum roof height of 22 feet allowed by community covenants. If the balloon is visible from another lot, we relocate the homesite.
Red Canyon Company started Wilderness Preservation Community™ properties in the Black Hills and it is still the only company in the area today forgoing profits for the sake of preservation. There are no better examples than Canyon Rim Ranch, Lakota Lake Encampment and The Rim at Red Canyon.
Q: How does ownership at a WPC differ from other properties?
Buying a lot within any of Red Canyon Company’s various WPC properties is not much different than purchasing any other property, except that a Homeowner’s Association (HOA) manages a large portion of the acreage. With your purchase, you own a deed for your homesite and you agree to land use and building covenants, which ensure that all of the land will remain pristine. Lot purchases can range from 1 to 40 acres to be used as a building site and membership in a Homeowners Association.
All purchases include a no-cost custom home design by renowned home designers along with underground power to your lot, community road system and other amenities unique to each WPC. In addition to the cost of the building site (or lot), all owners pay an association fee ranging from $75 to $235/month. This fee covers the cost of common acreage taxes and maintenance of communal property such as roads, equestrian center, community clubhouse and guest cabins, etc.
Q: Are there any restrictions to selling a home or lot?
Since your property is deeded, you may sell to anyone at any time. The only restrictions are that the purchaser must agree to pay the Homeowners Association (HOA) fees and abide by all of the covenants governing the land. The majority of the covenants that preserve the common acreage along with other critical restrictions are perpetual while some of the covenants may be changed with a majority vote of the HOA membership.
Q: Who are the typical buyers? Where do they come from?
The vast majority of owners range in age from 45-55 years old. Most are planning for a recreational second home with the idea of using their property for retirement. A few owners are planning for immediate retirement. The current owners hail from Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and from as far away as London, England. They are academicians, business managers, doctors and other licensed professionals, entrepreneurs, a forest ranger, investment advisors, realtors and more. All share a commitment to land preservation and wildlife.
Q: How do the remaining homesites differ from those sold so far?
Typically, the acreages, which make up our WPC properties, are so large that land tours allow prospective buyers to only see a representative sample of the available homesites. Very few current owners ever see more than 4 or 5 homesites before purchasing. These provide a good representation of the views that are offered at various price points. With a few exceptions, once these 4 or 5 sell, they are replaced by another group of homesites that offer approximately the same views. So the same great views that were offered first are still available.
Q: What does it cost to maintain a WPC property? What are taxes?
The current monthly HOA dues cover all the anticipated costs of running and maintaining any specific WPC property. Property taxes are paid in two parts. First, each owner is responsible for property taxes associated with their own deeded homesite and home. If the owner is a full-time resident, the assessment rate is slightly less than 1.5% of its valuation. (Valuations are not reflective of market pricing but rather are based on a county formula which is most often below selling and market pricing.)
If the owner is a non-resident, the assessment rate is approximately 2.2%. Second, property taxes for the common acreage, or between 70-85% of the land within each WPC, are generally taxed at an agricultural rate significantly below the rate for homesteads.
Q: What are the major covenants that relate to life at a WPC?
The covenants are designed to protect the land forever and to preserve the lifestyle afforded by the land. They not only prevent additional subdivision and construction. They promote responsible use of the land. For example, owners may not use motorized vehicles such as ATVs, motorcycles or four-wheel vehicles on the preserved acreage. Outside lights must be shielded, directed downward and amber in color. This is to preserve views of the star-filled skies.
There are also covenants regarding the size and type of homes that may be built. (In other words, don’t plan on building a 5-story English Tudor style home.) In short, the covenants are designed to preserve the natural beauty of the land for all owners. We know of no prospective buyer who has declined to purchase because of our covenants. In fact, from post-purchase surveys, the owners routinely state that the covenants were one of the major factors supporting their purchase.
Q: What’s it like building at a WPC?
Building at any of the WPCs is easy. There are many competent builders, craftsmen and tradesmen in the Hills. But homeowners are encouraged to choose from our pre-screened contractors and well-established builders who have demonstrated quality workmanship and ethical business practices. (Red Canyon Company does not profit in any way from this arrangement.) However, owners are allowed to use any reputable builder of their choice. Red Canyon Company can assist with the bidding process or manage the project for you.
Q: Is building required within a certain period?
No. You can purchase the lot now and take your time deciding all the details for the home you will eventually build. Before building, you may use the property for camping provided that all of your camping gear, trailer and any other items used are removed following each stay. If you choose to wait longer than five years from your closing date, a utility access fee may apply. Of course, if you do build within five years, no utility access fee will be assessed.
Q: What is the climate like in this part of South Dakota?
This may be our best-kept secret. Temperatures in the southern Hills are more like Northern California than the rest of South Dakota. During our coldest months (January and February), the average high temp is 39 degrees. Currently, all of the communities are located in the central or southern Black Hills where there’s very little snow or accumulation during the winter months. In fact, snowmobiling or cross country skiing is really only possible in the northern Black Hills. During the summer, spring and fall, the Hills offer very mild, dry weather. And pesky bugs are at a minimum! What’s not to love!