Open Space

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

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


Eagle County Open Space acquires 1,200 acres along Colorado River

Toby Sprunk, Eagle County Open Space Director, 970-328-8698 or

Emily Davies, Great Outdoors Colorado, 303-226-4531 or  

  Colorado River Ranch John Fielder   Red Dirt Creek John Fielder
Colorado River Ranch
Photo by John Fielder
Red Dirt Creek Open Space
Photo by John Fielder

Residents and visitors in Eagle County will soon have more places to get their feet wet in the Colorado River thanks to the county’s acquisition of two new properties, part of a larger effort to increase river recreation and conservation. Eagle County Open Space partnered with The Conservation Fund on the Upper Colorado River Conservation and Recreation Project, which received a $3.9 million grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) in June.

Working with The Conservation Fund, Eagle County purchased a conservation easement on the 1,000-acre Colorado River Ranch, a working ranch that straddles the upper Colorado River 12 miles north of Dotsero. The easement allows the county to construct a boat launch and provides public access to the historic schoolhouse.  The Colorado River Ranch contains two miles of river frontage, wildlife habitat and scenic views.

Additionally, the county has purchased the 230-acre Red Dirt Creek parcel upstream of the Colorado River Ranch and plans to use the property for primitive camping and added public river access. Both properties are protected by conservation easements held by Colorado Open Lands, a statewide non-profit land trust. Closings on both projects occurred this week.

Combined, these two acquisitions permanently protect 3.7 miles of Colorado River frontage, as well as an important wildlife movement corridor between the Flat Tops Wilderness and the Bull Gulch Wilderness Study Area. Eagle County will utilize dedicated Open Space Funds for public access improvements on both properties in 2013.

The Upper Colorado River Conservation and Recreation Project is one of eight projects awarded $29.5 million in lottery grants by the GOCO Board in June as part of the organization’s River Corridor Initiative. GOCO developed the initiative to provide close-to-home recreation opportunities for Coloradans to get outdoors and experience the state’s waterways. 

GOCO is the result of a citizens’ initiative passed by the voters in 1992. As the recipient of approximately half of Colorado Lottery proceeds―$57 million in fiscal year 2012―GOCO awards grants to local governments and land trusts, and makes investments through the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife. Since 1994, nearly 3,500 projects in all 64 counties have received GOCO funding. Eagle County projects have received $14.9 million in GOCO grants.

For more information on the Eagle County Open Space Program, contact Toby Sprunk at 970-328-8698.