Brush Creek open space poised to increase by 129 acres in 2020
Great Outdoors Colorado has allocated $700,000 toward Ridgway Ranch purchase
EAGLE — The Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space property is poised to grow by 129 acres following the Eagle County Open Space program’s planned acquisition of the Ridgway Ranch south of Eagle.
This week, that effort got a big boost following a grant announcement from Great Outdoors Colorado.
An April 2020 closing is anticipated for the Ridgway parcel and funding sources have been identified for the $2.225 million purchase. This week, Great Outdoors Colorado allocated $700,000 toward the Ridgway Ranch purchase.
“The Ridgway parcel is an inholding of the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space that has long been targeted for acquisition,” said Eagle County Special Projects Manager Abby Dallmann. “The current owners own a total of approximately 231 acres and are interested in selling approximately 129 acres along Brush Creek Road with Brush Creek frontage, to Eagle County Open Space.”
The Ridgway Ranch open space parcel includes roughly one mile of Brush Creek frontage and boasts local ecological highlights including an approximately 200-year-old stand of Gambel Oaks and high-quality wetlands.
“Ridgway Ranch is the heart of the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space,” said Bergen Tjossem, the communications and development manager for Eagle Valley Land Trust. “Protecting this parcel for our community and wildlife is the realization of a conservation vision that has been in the works for decades.”
Dallmann said the successful Ridgway Ranch GOCO application was a joint effort by Eagle County Open Space and the Eagle Valley Land Trust, with local support from other groups such as Colorado Parks and Wildlife and that organization’s Habitat Partnership Program, The Eagle Ranch Wildlife Committee, The Eagle County Historical Society, Eagle River Watershed Council, Eagle Valley Outdoor Movement, American Rivers, Colorado State Extension Service, and the local chapter of Mule Deer Foundation. Colorado State Rep. Dylan Roberts and the town of Eagle also supported the joint application, as did the local Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office in Silt.
With the GOCO announcement, the funding sources for the $2.225 million Ridgway Ranch purchase have been identified:
- $1,310,000 plus transition costs — Eagle County Open Space Fund
- $700,000 — GOCO
- $200,000 —Eagle Ranch Wildlife Committee
- $10,000 — Town of Eagle
- $5,000 — Eagle Valley Land Trust
“Having thoughtful, generous, engaged partners and residents of Eagle County is what allowed this successful conservation project to come to fruition,” said Peter Suneson, Outreach and Education Specialist for Eagle County Open Space.
Once the purchase has been finalized, Dallmann said a management plan for the Ridgway Ranch property will be developed. That plan will consider easements, access and uses for the property as it is incorporated into the 1,540-acre Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space parcel.
Youth Corps funding
In addition to the Ridgway Ranch grant, this week GOCO allocated a $15,200 Colorado Youth Corp Association grant to Eagle County Open Space.
The award will provide funding for a crew of Colorado youth to spend two weeks at Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space replacing barbed wire fence with wildlife-friendly fencing and creating trails to the adjacent public lands.
For downvalley humans, it’s pretty cool when elk decide to hunker down around Eagle for the winter. For the elk, it’s more of a lesser-of-two-evils situation.