Upgrades coming to Minturn’s Boneyard
August 15, 2016
MINTURN — It took years of collaboration to acquire the 4.4 acres of open space known as the Boneyard in the south part of town, and years after the purchase, collaboration is now helping to improve the land — at minimal cost to the town.
Fencing will be installed soon, creating a more defined space, and future plans include a new restroom facility, parking lot, river access, trails and possibly a pavilion and bridge to cross the river.
All of the planned upgrades require funding, but former Minturn Town Councilmember George Brodin is working with county officials and local groups to minimize the costs to the town.
"When you work with a small entity and have limited staff, you have to prioritize," said Toby Sprunk, Eagle County Open Space director, "and George has really taken it upon himself to be the champion of making some improvements to the Boneyard and making it more of a destination."
The town of Minturn listed the Boneyard as a priority for open space and spent years trying to purchase it from the U.S. Forest Service. In 2013, the land was purchased from auction for $2.3 million — $2 million coming from the Eagle County Open Space Fund, leaving the town to pay the rest.
"Nobody wanted to see that property developed," Sprunk said. "This was the town's no. 1 acquisition priority, and we got it done, and we're going to continue to help."
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Currently, the Boneyard is open to the public, but it's lacking basic maintenance and has potential for much more benefit to locals of Minturn, and the county as a whole.
Brodin, who was on the council's Open Space Advisory Committee at the time of the land purchase, has been out mowing tall grass and conceptualizing what's next for the Boneyard, with the help of the county and volunteers.
"I see all of the components put together and completed in a two-year period, and I see a lot of community and volunteer involvement in getting it there," Brodin said. "I want us all to have the benefit of using the Boneyard property that the county commissioners bought."
With town resources being spent on other projects, including the downtown project, sidewalk project as well as concerts and events, the new activity at the Boneyard is something the new council is excited to help get moving.
"We want to keep it as much as a natural environment as possible, but we're also creating something that's going to be a lot more user friendly for guests and citizens," said Earle Bidez, Minturn Town Councilmember. "I think it will be a nice little place for people to get away."
The Boneyard maintains pristine views of the south-facing mountains and, with a bridge, could provide access to Two Elk Trail and other recreation, including Little Beach Amphitheater and the shooting range.
Before switching hands, the Boneyard used to be a storage area, kind of a junkyard, for the Forest Service, Bidez said, and after a town poll, residents voted to name it the Boneyard.
Brodin, owner of Leadfoot Linda's, spent more than 10 years on Minturn Town Council but wasn't reelected in April.
"He's a great American," Bidez said. "He has responded so well after the last election, showing up and sharing perspectives with the new council."
Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.