Open Space Planning Process

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Eagle County Open Space and Natural Resources is undergoing a planning process to develop the program's first Open Space Plan. The Plan will summarize the existing Eagle County Open Space program, consider current and future challenges, define a vision for the next ten years + of land acquisition, protection and management, and outline a suite of tools and decision-making strategies for Eagle County for the creation of a desired vision of the future for protection and management of open space in Eagle County.  Additionally, the core of the plan will act as the foundation for the Eagle County Open Space and Natural Resource Department’s future strategy and policy for the acquisition, restoration, long-term stewardship, and capital project prioritization.

The purpose of the Open Space Plan is to ensure a long-term vision for the County’s Open Space and the Open Space Fund. As human pressures increase, more stress is placed on open spaces and the benefits they provide. The stakes are higher now, and things like real estate transactions are more complex, creating the need for thoughtful and strategic conservation of open spaces. The Open Space Plan is an opportunity to think consciously about the long-term vision of open space in Eagle County. Public involvement is critical to this process and there will be ample opportunities for the public to help determine that long-term vision.

Below is a general timeline for the planning process. Please note that this is an iterative process and this timeline should not be considered definitive. The timing of different phases may change depending on different factors or opportunities. 

Winter/Spring 2023 - Drafted and released the Request for Proposals, reviewed four proposals from Colorado-based consulting firms and conducted interviews, and selected a contractor. 

Summer 2023 - Finalized project scope of work and contract, submitted final contract to Attorney’s Office and then to Board of County Commissioners for approval. Held project kickoff meeting with OSNR staff and consultant team.

Fall 2023 - Assessment and Discovery - during this phase, the team will gather a baseline understanding of stakeholders’ key issues and range of perspectives and will be able to identify focus areas for deeper engagement in subsequent phases. This phase will include: 
-Field-based excursions 
-Data collection and initial GIS analysis
-Targeted stakeholder engagement, including interviews with selected Eagle County partners and focus group meetings with municipal staff and local recreation and conservation groups. 

Winter/Spring 2024 - Strategy Definition - the team will build off of findings from the Assessment and Discovery phase to inform broader community engagement during the Strategy Definition phase. This phase will likely include activities such as:
Direct outreach to targeted community groups
-In-person and virtual community meetings/events
-Community survey and interactive website
-Continued mapping analysis
-Initial internal draft plan

Summer/Fall 2024 - Framework for the Future -  team will focus on defining and communicating a consensus-based draft plan that is iteratively shared with leadership, stakeholders, and the public.
-Continued public and stakeholder engagement as necessary
-Additional needed field analysis based on winter data review
-Initial public draft plan and opportunities for public comment
-OSAC and BoCC review

The final plan is intended to be delivered by year end 2024. For more information, please contact Peter Suneson, Open Space Manager, 970-328-8637. 


Open Space Plan RFP Notice of Selection
Open Space Plan RFP


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