We are happy to announce that 322 new acres of publicly accessible land has been conserved for our community! These four new conservation easements are located in Homestead and Lake Creek. The conservation of this new publicly accessible land is the culmination of a year-long project led by your local Land Trust to save land for the people of our community and provide front door access points from local neighborhoods into the great outdoors. This successful project saves these lands from further subdivision development and conserves 322 acres in the mid-valley region that are now available to the public for passive recreation opportunities. Hooray for local land conservation in Eagle County!
The centerpiece of this conservation effort is a 166 acre parcel that has come to be known as the “Homestead L” due to its shape. The “L” parcel was already master planned for up to 150-homes when Eagle County purchased it in September 2011. Eagle County and the Eagle Valley Land Trust then began work on a conservation easement to separate the development rights from the land and permanently preserve the property as a publicly accessible recreation area for our community.
This alone was a big achievement for local land conservation, but the Land Trust and citizen conservationists thought they could go further. Two private homeowners associations – Homestead and Creamery Ranch – own land adjacent to the “L” which was designated as open space. During the process to conserve the “L”, the Eagle Valley Land Trust also secured commitments to put these private parcels of land into conservation easement along with the “L”, which created the momentous conservation victory announced today.
“This really demonstrates how much more powerful an outcome can be when you have collaboration between public and private entities.” said Kara Heide, Executive Director of the Land Trust. As a result of these efforts, three additional conservation easements and over 156 acres were permanently saved along with the original 166 acres of the “L”. Now, any person can walk from Highway 6 into these lands south of Edwards on trails located on publicly accessible conservation easements with 322 acres that are protected forever. Public use will be restricted to designated trails on the Homestead and Creamery Ranch properties, while on-trail, as well as other uses will be permitted on the “L”.
The Eagle Valley Land Trust worked with several community partners to permanently conserve and protect this property. Eagle County’s Open Space Program purchased the “L” with $3.25 million of dedicated open space funds. The project partners included the Land Trust, Eagle County, Edwards Metropolitan District, Creamery Ranch Homeowners Association, Homestead Homeowners Association and numerous individual investors from the surrounding neighborhoods. “Preservation of these 322 acres at such a phenomenal price is something we never thought would be possible. But the really unique aspect is this acquisition provides useable open space and trail connectivity all the way from the Eagle River Preserve to the US Forest Service ridgeline. Edwards has been excited to be a participant in this great accomplishment.” said Todd Williams, President of Edwards Metropolitan District.
Your local Land Trust continues to focus on land conservation efforts in the Lake Creek Valley to preserve the area in its natural state. This recently completed effort to permanently protect the Homestead “L” and the surrounding private property is part of the Land Trusts’ “We Like Lake Creek!” campaign. “The interconnectivity of these parcels really sets this project apart from other conservation efforts.” noted Jason Denhart, Director of Development and Communications for Eagle Valley Land Trust. “Our goal is to create a mosaic of conservation in the Lake Creek Valley, and these four new conservation easements represent the front door access for this overall effort. These 322 newly conserved acres will now join the 1,015 acres previously conserved as wilderness buffers and wildlife habitat in Lake Creek.”
A community event and ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate this local conservation achievement will occur later this summer. For more information about this specific project or any of the land conservation efforts organized by the Eagle Valley Land Trust, please visit www.evlt.org or follow us on Facebook at profile name: EVLandTrust.