Eagle County launches Hardscrabble public access planning process
EAGLE— Ever since Eagle County announced its purchase of the 1,540-acre Hardscrabble Ranch south of Eagle, people have been itching to access the former Adam’s Rib Ranch site that is largely bordered by U.S. Bureau of Land Management property.
Now the county is ready to launch the planning process to determine exactly how they will do that.
Last week, Eagle County Open Space, together with partners ERO Resources Corp. and Take Aim Marketing, unveiled the plan for the Hardscrabble property. The management planning process itself will begin in April.
“It (the management planning process) is really to find out what the desires for the property are,” said Eagle County Open Space Director Diane Mauriello. “There will be a good number of opportunities to the public to participate.”
Mauriello acknowledged that there are also a good number of interests to address at the Hardscrabble site. She noted mountain biking, fishing, hunting and agriculture are just some of the uses proposed at the property.
Bill Mangle, a natural resource planner, will lead the ERO Resources team for the Hardscrabble plan.
Mauriello said ERO Resources has statewide experience in open space management planning. The company worked on the Telluride Valley management and trails plans, the VanTuyl Ranch Management Plan in Gunnison, the Carbondale to Crested Butte Trail Study in Pitkin County and the Stratton Open Space management plan in Colorado Springs. The company’s areas of expertise include wildlife biology, plant ecology, hydrology and public land management.
Take Aim Marketing owner Amy Cassidy will be charged with community outreach and communications for the planning project.
The management plan will identify clear land-use strategies for the property that will address long-term stewardship, ecological conservation, heritage preservation and recreation access.
“We are hoping all the different user groups will engage in the process,” Mauriello said.
That process will begin by reaching out to specific groups next month, followed by public open house events in May. Mauriello said the dates and the locations for the public meetings have yet to be determined, but once they are scheduled, Eagle County will do a comprehensive outreach to make sure members of the public are aware of the events.
Ultimately, the goal is to have a draft Hardscrabble Ranch Management Plan completed by August of this year, with a finalized version adopted by the end of 2018.
The valley’s commercial and residential property markets are similar in some ways — availability is tight and nothing is what you’d call “cheap.”