Open Space

Contact Us

  • Phone: 970-328-8698
    Fax: 970-328-7185

    Open Space
    P.O. Box 179
    500 Broadway
    Eagle, Colorado 81631


     


FAQ

Selecting the desired question will link you to the corresponding answer (or scroll down to view all frequently asked questions and answers).

1. What is the Eagle County Open Space Fund?

2. How does the Open Space Department decide what to purchase?

3. How many acres has the Open Space Department purchased or helped to preserve?

4. How big is the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space property and where is it?

5. How much did the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space property cost?

6. Why did Eagle County purchase the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space property?

7. What is a conservation easement?

8. What is the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space Conservation Easement?

9. What is a management plan?

10. What does the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space conservation easement limit?

11. What does the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space conservation easement allow?

12. Will the property be open in 2019?

13 Who leases the property?

14.Will the property be leased in the future?

16. Can I board my horses or obtain a grazing lease on the property?

17. Who is responsible for the horses and cattle?

18. Who can I contact if I have questions?

1. What is the Eagle County Open Space Fund? The Eagle County Open Space Fund was established in 2002 and reauthorized by the voters in 2018. The voters authorized an ad valorem (property) tax mill levy not in excess of 1.5 mills for the purpose of acquiring, maintaining and permanently preserving open space in Eagle County. The tax generates approximately $4.5 million annually. Eagle County is forecasting approximately $4.6 million in property tax revenue to the Open Space Fund in 2018. The tax is scheduled to sunset in 2040  
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2. How does the Open Space Department decide what to purchase? The Open Space Department coordinates its work with the Open Space Advisory Committee (OSAC), a committee of seven citizens appointed by the Board of County Commissioners from throughout Eagle County. Proposed acquisitions are brought to OSAC for discussion and consideration. OSAC makes a recommendation concerning each acquisition and related expenditure of Open Space Funds to the Board of County Commissioners, who make the final decision. Established criteria are used to evaluate and prioritize potential projects.     
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3. How many acres has the Open Space Department purchased or helped to preserve? To date, Eagle County through its Open Space Program has helped to purchase and/or preserve approximately 13,000 acres at a total cost of about $91 million, of which approximately $56 million was funded through the Open Space Fund. The balance of the funding is the result of important partnerships including towns, metropolitan districts, home owners associations, Great Outdoors Colorado, and private donations. The Open Space Fund has also funded improvements to its various properties, such as boat ramps, parking and restrooms.
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4. How big is the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space property and where is it? The 1540-acre Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space property is located just south of the Town of Eagle, Colorado, along Brush Creek Road.
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5. How much did the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space property cost? The total purchase price was $15.5 million. Many other partners contributed toward the purchase, including Great Outdoors Colorado, Town of Eagle, Eagle Ranch Wildlife Committee, Eagle Valley Land Trust and private donors. The property is protected by a conservation easement held by the Eagle Valley Land Trust.
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6. Why did Eagle County purchase the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space property? The purchase of the Ranch is the culmination of many years of effort to preserve the Brush Creek valley. The land was once included in the plan to develop the Adam’s Rib ski area. Today, the Ranch is the last undeveloped piece of the original Adam’s Rib development plan, and the last property of its kind in the Brush Creek valley. The Ranch is visible from both sides of Brush Creek Road for just over 3 miles and includes approximately 2.5 miles of Brush and Salt Creeks. Ownership of the Ranch will help to preserve movement corridors and habitat for big game, help to preserve our agricultural heritage and will create opportunities for defined access to high quality recreation.
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7. What is a conservation easement? A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a property owner and a third party (typically a land trust) that places restrictions on a piece of property with a goal of permanently preserving the property. For example, conservation easements can restrict the amount of future development or building that may occur on a piece of property. Land trusts are required to monitor the property annually to ensure that the easement is being complied with.
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8. What is the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space conservation easement? This conservation easement is held by the Eagle Valley Land Trust. The conservation easement protects the land forever. This conservation easement is intended to protect the following values:
Public Recreation or Education
Relatively Natural Habitat
Open Space /Scenic Enjoyment
Agriculture 

These concepts are often referred to as the “Conservation Values.”
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9. What is a management plan? A management plan is a tool that will ultimately assist the land owner, in this case Eagle County, to effectively manage the day to day operation of the property. The management plan includes basic rules and detail concerning the operation of the property and coordination of various potential uses. Eagle County involved the public in the planning process to help identify how the property could be best utilized while also protecting the land for its natural resources.

The conservation easement and the grant from Great Outdoors Colorado required that a management plan be put in place. The plan is reviewed regularly and can be updated by the County and the Land Trust as needed.
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10. What does the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space conservation easement limit?  In general, this easement  prohibits subdivision, mining, commercial and industrial activities. The easement for the Ranch property also limits the amount of paving and development that can occur.

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11. What does the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space conservation easement allow? Agricultural operations, education, recreation activities and scenic enjoyment are permitted by the easement, in a manner that is consistent with the Conservation Values.
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12. Will the property be open in 2019? Yes, portions of the property will be open in 2019 and we will continue to open more of the Ranch as trail heads and other improvements are installed. In the meantime,the existing paved recreation path and Trail Gulch are each open to non-motorized users. Fishing access to Brush Creek from the paved recreation path is open to non-commercial anglers.  The ranch headquarters and working ranch property, as well as fishing on Brush Creek accessed via Brush Creek Road remains closed to the public.  See the map illustrating public access for 2018. 

Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space Public Access Map 2018

13.  Who leases the property? The County has leased the property to I-Hay LLC. I-Hay LLC was the manager of the Ranch before Eagle County acquired the property.
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15. Will the property be leased in the future? Eagle County has now established long term goals for agricultural operations at the Ranch.  The County plans to develop a Request For Proposals (RFP) for a future agricultural lease of the property.
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16. Can I board my horses or obtain a grazing lease on the property? Formal stables are not located on the property. Grazing sub-leases may be available through the current tenant, I-Hay LLC.
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17. Who is responsible for the horses and cattle? The current tenant and its sub-tenants are responsible for any horses and cattle located on the property.     
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 18. Who can I contact if I have questions? Peter Suneson, Open Space Outreach and Education Specialist, 970-328-8637, peter.suneson@eaglecounty.us, Phil Kirkman, Open Space Ranger, 970-328-8701, Philip.Kirkman@eaglecounty.us.
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