Just because something is recognized as "open space" does not mean it is permanently protected from development.
That was the case with a 32-acre parcel east of the Miller Ranch neighborhood in Edwards until Tuesday.
"A conservation easement on the property was donated to the Eagle Valley Land Trust, which seals the deal," said Eagle County Open Space Director Toby Sprunk.
The parcel, now known as the Miller Ranch Open Space, was first acquired by the county in 2002 through a development agreement, which stipulated that the land be set aside. The land is located immediately to the southeast of the Miller Ranch neighborhood, bordered on the west by the "blue bridge," on the south and east by the Eagle River, and on the north by the railroad tracks. Boasting more than 100 feet of Eagle River frontage, the land is used by fishermen, bicyclists and foot traffic.
"We've been actively prodding the county and citizens to get this protected and it never was until today," said Jason Denhart, director of communications and development for EVLT, on Tuesday. "This has been a major goal for us. It took a long time but it's finally finished."
According to the EVLT, residents of Edwards and Arrowhead have rallied for years to get permanent protection for the land. The parcel is the last remaining undisturbed portion of the former Miller Family Ranch. The new conservation easement was once a much larger parcel of open space but hundreds of acres were lost to recent housing development.
"The third time was a charm," said Kara Heide, EVLT's director.
A community ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony for the Miller Ranch Open Space will take place in the spring.
"It's now protected forever, no matter who holds title to the land," Sprunk said.
The EVLT will make sure that it is.
More than 10,000 acres of land have been saved by the EVLT by using conservation easements to protect, guard and defend land from future development. For more information regarding this project or the Eagle Valley Land Trust, contact Denhart at (970) 748-7654 or firstname.lastname@example.org.