Future Public Access
Adams Open Space, El Paso County/City of Fountain, 50 acres
Thanks to a unique public/private partnership, a 50-acre parcel along Jimmy Camp Creek in the City of Fountain is permanently protected for the public. The property was initially protected with a conservation easement donated by Patric and Christi LeHouillier and then was sold to the City of Fountain. Colorado Open Lands facilitated the transaction on behalf of the City. The property is adjacent to the City of Fountain’s new library and contains extensive wetlands, ponds, meadows, and high quality wildlife habitat.
The Adams Open Space property lies in an area that is growing rapidly and experiencing tremendous development pressure. However, protection of this property will serve as an anchor for additional conservation activity on Jimmy Camp and Fountain Creeks; for example, the property has been identified as a key connection between Metcalfe Park further north along Jimmy Camp Creek and the Fountain Creek Regional Trail System.
This critical acquisition was funded through an Open Space Grant from the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund Board and the City of Fountain. The property provides scenic open space, wildlife habitat, and recreation for residents and visitors.
Camp Rollandet, Denver County, 7 acres
Located along Sheridan Boulevard in suburban Denver, these seven acres are an enclave of upland prairie open space and wooded areas within an otherwise-heavily urbanized area. A wooded ravine on the property provides natural habitat and a corridor for several small mammals and birds including fox, deer, rabbits, raccoons, and coyote.
After extensive negotiations and general worrying, the City and County of Denver successfully negotiated the purchase of this historic property owned by Camp Fire Girls USA. A grant from Great Outdoors Colorado made the purchase possible for Denver, and a conservation easement donated to Colorado Open Lands ensures that the land will remain forever open and protected. The City of Denver is continuing the property’s use for environmental education, along with its historic name, and is in a years-long process to restore the property’s wildlife habitat and native plant biodiversity.
Public access to the property is permitted but controlled to assure that passive recreational and educational uses are low impact. Programs and activities are conducted so as to preserve and protect the natural conditions on the property and to showcase a sustainable ecosystem within an urban environment.
Elaine T. Valente Open Space (previously called the Bromley property), Adams County, 124 acres
This park contains three lakes, access to the South Platte River Trail, wildlife viewing, and 2.1 miles of trail (both concrete ADA-accessible and natural surface). Two handicapped-accessible fishing piers are also available. With the South Platte River running through the eastern portion of the park, the Elaine T. Valente Open Space protects wetlands, riparian habitat, wildlife movement corridors, and significant natural and scenic areas, and provides natural flood management for the county.
Gateway Mesa, Douglas County, 202 acres
Chuck and Janice Hewitt had hoped to spend their retirement years on 202 acres they owned overlooking the Castlewood Canyon in Douglas County. When that dream could not be realized, they made sure the land they loved would be protected as a nature preserve and available for public educational opportunities. The Hewitts also wanted to preserve this unique landscape and valuable viewshed from intense development in the area, and ensure that the wide variety of wildlife could still call this place home. Thanks to their foresight, Gateway Mesa now provides permanent habitat for raptors, migratory birds, wild turkey, mule deer, elk, fox, coyote, bobcats, mountain lion and rattlesnakes.
To assure the permanent protection of their special property, the Hewitts donated a conservation easement to Colorado Open Lands and, with support from Douglas County and Great Outdoors Colorado, sold the property below market value to the Town of Castle Rock. You can access the property’s 1.8 mile loop from the east side of Hwy 86 or from the Mitchell Creek Canyon Trail.
Heil Valley Ranch, Boulder County, 1,240 acres
When the voters of Boulder County approved a sales tax to purchase open space in November 1993, one of the most sought-after properties was Heil Valley Ranch. Located north of Boulder and west of the North Foothills Parkway (SH 36), this property, as well as neighboring properties, has long been recognized for its significant scenic beauty, natural resources, and cultural values.
Colorado Open Lands played a key part in the completion of this cutting-edge Colorado conservation easement. What made the easement on a 1,240-acre portion of Heil Valley Ranch in Boulder County so unique was not just the conservation values it preserved, but also that this easement was one of the first to be placed on property purchased, in part, with funds from Great Outdoors Colorado and owned by a local government. Together, these properties acquired by Boulder County have been designated as the North Foothills Open Space. They are a spectacular scenic and wildlife habitat resource for the public!
Heron Pond, Denver County, 21.07 acres
Heron Pond, once containing environmentally toxic materials, has been remediated and reborn, thanks to extraordinary efforts by the City of Denver. The City has restored the wetland, riparian, and upland communities on the property, built a wildlife viewing area, and provided educational signs about the ecology of the South Platte River floodplain ecosystem. Sitting adjacent to the South Platte River near 54th Avenue and Franklin Street in Denver’s Globeville neighborhood, this sizeable urban property will provide important valuable open space, wildlife habitat, and passive recreation for residents and visitors of Denver for many generations.
Jimmy Camp Creek Confluence, El Paso County, 33 acres
This project adds to the City of Fountain’s Adams Open Space Park by preserving the confluence of Jimmy Camp Creek and Fountain Creek. The City of Fountain plans to extend its trail system to include the new parcel. The property is visible and accessible from Old Pueblo Road and contains riparian habitat, wildlife habitat and a crucial floodplain area.
South Platte Park, Arapahoe County, 19 acres
Thanks to a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado, funds from the City of Littleton, and strong support from the South Metro Land Conservancy, this critical 19-acre property was added to South Platte Park to separate and buffer the park from commercial development to the east. It is one of the first natural flood plain parks in the nation, and is the result of three decades of partnership between the City of Littleton, South Suburban Park and Recreation District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Colorado Water Conservation Board, Littleton citizens, and numerous private property owners.
Extensively gravel-mined for more than 30 years and now reclaimed, the 100-year flood plain park is home to more than 225 species of birds and 23 species of fish. Besides this rich diversity of resident and migratory wildlife, the park also enjoys over 300,000 people visitors a year!
St. Philip-in-the-Field Episcopal Church, Douglas County, 18 acres
After James Rathbone Falck donated 18 acres to Colorado Open Lands, Colorado Open Lands donated the same land to St. Philip in-the-Field Episcopal Church and Bear Cañon Cemetery. As soon as the ink was dry on the deed, St. Philip’s and the Cemetery Association permanently protected the 18 acres with a conservation easement to Colorado Open Lands. Occurring over nearly three years, this series of transactions not only doubled the usable land for the Church and the Cemetery, but also created a buffer of open space between the adjacent Allis Ranch Preserve and the Church and Cemetery. The easement will permit construction of specific Church structures in the future but otherwise prohibits development.
Sugarloaf Mountain, Boulder County, 225 acres
Sugarloaf Mountain is a significant natural landmark, rising 8,917 feet and visible from almost any location in the 750 square miles that comprise Boulder County. Mining on and around Sugarloaf Mountain began in 1860 and continued until the 1930s. Since its mining days, Sugarloaf Mountain has been a popular destination for hikers, tourists, and other recreationists who arrived by the steel rails of the nearby Switzerland Trail. Though the railroad is now gone, these uses continue today.
The top 225 acres of the Mountain were purchased by Boulder County with funds from Boulder County Open Space and Great Outdoors Colorado. Sugarloaf Mountain’s natural, scenic, and open space conservation values made it a logical candidate for acquisition into the Boulder County Open Space System, and at a modest one-mile hike to the summit, the fantastic view from the top is easily accessible.
Andrick State Wildlife Area (formerly Centennial Hunt Club), Morgan County, 710 acres
Located just southwest of Jackson Lake Reservoir, this is a brand new State Wildlife Area. Purchased in August 2009, the Colorado Division of Wildlife lost no time in opening this to the public, and opened portions of the property for limited waterfowl hunting between October 3 and November 30th. Other parts of the property will be opened in the near future. A critical fall and spring migration stopover for waterfowl and other migratory birds, this new Wildlife Area supports breeding and wintering mallards and geese, provides habitat for wildlife such as small game, turkey and deer and includes open water, wetland vegetation, grassland, sand sage and open woodland.
The property was formerly a privately owned hunt club, and was purchased using Habitat Stamp and Great Outdoors Colorado funds. “There's a lot of things we want to do to get it ready, put up signs, fencing, establish parking lots and do some habitat development,” said Tom Kroening, area wildlife manager for the Colorado Division of Wildlife who supervises six counties, including much of northern Colorado and Morgan.
The DOW will take a look at what other activities could be developed, including wildlife watching, fishing and other hunting, including small game and deer seasons. Hunters wishing to make reservations for waterfowl hunting can call the Division’s hunting reservation system at (800) 846-9453.
Cheyenne Mountain State Park,El Paso County, 925 acres
With a visitor center, 20 miles of hiking and biking trails, environmental education programs, camping, and year-round recreation opportunities, Cheyenne Mountain State Park is a tremendous community and state asset. Already 1,680 acres in size, this newest State Park recently got even bigger with the purchase of nearly 1,000 acres from three landowners committed to seeing the top of Cheyenne Mountain remain undeveloped, available to wildlife and the public.
Myra Benjamin, PJ Anderson and Bert Reissig had tried for years to negotiate the sale of their adjacent parcels to Colorado Springs or Colorado State Parks rather than develop it. With the possibility of collectively locating more than 25 homes on prime real estate atop Cheyenne Mountain, it also made their land financially out of reach of a public purchase. The solution came when PJ, Myra, Burt and Colorado Open Lands negotiated a series of conservation easement donations, which, along with a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado, lowered the property value to an affordable purchase price for Colorado Springs and State Parks. Now, nearly 1,000 acres atop the region’s recreational jewel is permanently protected!
Although this new addition is not open to the public yet, the planning process is well underway. The end result will guide the stewardship, use and preservation of the mountain top, including how to best incorporate public access. Colorado State Parks has created a separate webpage to keep the public apprised of the planning process, including maps of the mountain top.
Waggener Community Park, Larimer County, 74 acres
A deed restriction on half of this park and a conservation easement on the other half ensures that this former farm ground will be an invaluable recreational asset to Berthoud far into the future. Berthoud, located just off the busy I-25 corridor, is in the center of the rapidly growing Northern Front Range and until this purchase, was on the verge of having insufficient park resources for its residents.
Four generations of Waggeners grew corn, Coors barley, forage sorghum, pinto beans and sugar beets on this land, but close proximity to Berthoud meant the farm eventually was constricted on three sides by an elementary school, residential neighborhoods and a major subdivision and planned commercial development. A desire to preserve the land’s idyllic nature, yet with recognition of the Town’s growing size, Mike Waggener protected the land permanently from residential and commercial development, then sold the same parcel to the Town of Berthoud for future use as a community park. This park has not been developed yet, and so is not currently accessible to the public.
Once completed, the conservation easement half will be used for passive recreation only, such as walking and bike riding, with interpretive information for public education purposes. The other half complements its neighboring conservation easement by permitting active recreation uses such as ball fields, an amphitheater, recreation center, basketball courts and more. Already, a running track has been built on part of this land for the adjacent elementary school.
Nestled against the conservation easement land on the north and west sides, the two collectively ensure that Berthoud can meet one of the widest ranges of recreation and educational activities possible for many decades to come. Thanks to Mike’s vision for the future, Berthoud has dramatically raised its residents’ quality of life, and Mike Waggener has left a true legacy to his community.
We have assisted on additional public-access properties that are not yet open to the public and are still too early in their planning stages to list. Please check back for updates on new publically accessible conservation easement projects!
Did you know that ninety-eight percent of our revenue goes directly to our land conservation programs!