Edwards puts open spaces on wish list | VailDaily.com

Edwards puts open spaces on wish list

Melanie WongVail, CO Colorado

EDWARDS, Colorado If you could preserve any land you wanted, what would you preserve?A handful of almost 30 residents milled around a room full of county maps Tuesday night, pondering that question. Everyone was holding a small blue sticker to mark the spot they believed to be most important to preserve and protect.Edwards resident Lisa Cheesman placed her sticker squarely on the land between Homestead and Lake Creek in Edwards.Its a big, flat space. Its beautiful, and they could put so many houses out there, she said of the land. Plus, I cant even imagine what the traffic would be like if they built houses out there.Homestead resident Will Darken said he also put his sticker there.I voted for open space near our home because its the only undeveloped land that we can take our dogs out on, he said.

The meeting was part of a series of workshops held by the Eagle Valley Land Trust to get public input on where it and public officials should focus their preservation efforts. Similar meetings have also been held in Eagle and Avon, and meetings in other parts of the county will be held in the next month.Eagle Valley Land Trust President Cindy Cohagen said the meetings are also to inform residents about the Land Trusts work and the importance of protecting open space.Open space is the sizzle that sells the steak. Its what draws people here, she said.Many residents said they would like to preserve the Scudder-Webster ranch lands, a 2,000-acre property up Lake Creek. The land is owned by two families, and cannot be sold without the consent of both parties.Its one of our top priorities, along with that entire Lake Creek area, Cohagen said of the land.However, preserving land requires willing property owners and funding, which often requires the partnership of private donors, governments and grants, she said.For example, preserving land in Eagle that is now part of Sylvan Lake State Park took collaborative funding from several nonprofits, Eagle County and the town of Eagle.I think a lot of people dont really understand what it took to preserve that little gem out by Brush Creek, Cohagen said.

The 105-acre property owned by B&B Excavating Co. was also a hot topic. The land is undeveloped right now, but the county commissioners have shown interest in land banking the property for future development.You can see cattle graze there. Its one of the only places this side of the valley you can see that, Edwards resident Kevin Roach said. Its one of the true green areas.Brett Ranch resident Wendy Stanley said she is concerned for wildlife that live on the property.You can watch a lot of cattle, elk and other animals grazing there. Also, the birds are returning there now. Its really quite beautiful, she said.Eagle resident Rod Denning said he wants to preserve the privately owned Calhoun Ranch property just down the road from the B&B site.Its at the entrance of Lake Creek, and its really in the core and heart of the Edwards area, he said of the ranch.But not everyones ideas were Edwards-focused. Vail resident Eric Eves said he wants to see the riverfront across from the Eagle River Station site in Eagle preserved.That land is prime for development. Any riverfront property is prime in this county, and we should try to keep what we have, he said.Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.

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