Opening ceremony held at Eagle River Preserve | VailDaily.com

Opening ceremony held at Eagle River Preserve

Chris Outcaltcoutcalt@vaildaily.com
There was an opening ceremony for Eagle River Preserve on Wednesday. From left are Ellen Eaton, Jen Wright, Peter Runyon, Tom Edwards, Ceil Folz and Sara Fisher.
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EDWARDS, Colorado – “It’s beautiful down there,” said Kathleen Barron, of the riverside walking trail at the Eagle River Preserve.Barron stopped by the preserve, which is just west of the main intersection in Edwards, Tuesday afternoon to take a look at the newly opened 30 acres of open space. She was impressed and said it’s nice that the spot is so close to where she lives. “I think this will be great for taking walks,” said Barron, who lives in Wildridge. “It’s nice to be able to get to this without driving 20 or 30 minutes.”The park has been a work in progress for the last couple years and finally opened to the public a few weeks ago. The county commissioners and members of the Vail Valley Foundation and Eagle Valley Land Trust held an official opening ceremony Wednesday. The preserve land was purchased in 2005 for $12 million in a joint effort between Eagle County, the Vail Valley Foundation and the Land Trust. More than 1,200 individuals wrote checks to help buy the land, too, officials said.The land was owned by the Eaton family, and in the past it was used as ranch land, then a gravel pit operated by B&B Excavating.”It’s a fabulous place,” Commissioner Peter Runyon said. “People said it could never be done, and here it is.” The land has a walking trail, some wooden benches scattered along the river, a fenced area for dogs to run, access to the Eagle River for fishermen and a small pond.The second half of the preserve is still being developed and will eventually include wetlands and trails. The land is under a conservation easement held by the Land Trust. “This is going to be a real gem in our community,” Commissioner Sara Fisher. Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or coutcalt@vaildaily.com.