Minturn Boneyard enters permanent conservation
Five and a half years after Minturn Boneyard was purchased by the town of Minturn with assistance from Eagle County Open Space, the property has been permanently conserved for the benefit of the public. Specifically, a conservation easement, a permanent and legally binding contract requiring the property remain as open space, has been granted to the Eagle Valley Land Trust, protecting the public investment in open space forever.
Additional funds to cover the costs of the permanent conservation of the property were provided by Great Outdoors Colorado, Eagle County Open Space and the town of Minturn.
Before Minturn Boneyard’s purchase from the U.S. Forest Service, the scenic property southeast of Minturn along U.S. Highway 24 was used for storage of heavy equipment until 2011. When no longer needed by the agency, it was placed on the “disposal” list, meaning it could be sold to nearly any buyer, including developers, to raise money for other projects.
Recognizing the community value of the parcel, which includes nearly half a mile of Eagle River access, the town of Minturn approached the Eagle County Open Space program about purchasing the parcel for the benefit of all Eagle County residents. The purchase was completed in 2013. The town of Minturn, through a grant provided by GOCO, has entered into a conservation easement with the Eagle Valley Land Trust that is now complete, assuring its permanent conservation as open space for recreation and river access.
The Minturn Boneyard will be the town of Minturn’s first permanently protected open space and is consistent with both the town of Minturn Community Plan and the Eagle County Comprehensive Plan. The property is open to all for walking, picnicking, wildlife viewing, snowshoeing and river access throughout its meadows and woodlands adjacent to the Eagle River and national forest lands. The town also anticipates providing accessible ramps (e.g., wheelchair access) to the river for fishing.
The land will also protect riverside habitat utilized by the endangered North American river otter and several species of trout, which depend on the riverbank’s shade, structure and insects for survival. The parcel also provides habitat and corridors for moose, mule deer, elk, black bear, migratory songbirds, raptors, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians including the tiger salamander.
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Are we seeing more bears because there are more bears on the valley floor, or because we’re all spending more time at home? It could be a bit of both.