Preserve opens to Vail Valley public | VailDaily.com

Preserve opens to Vail Valley public

Chris Outcaltcoutcalt@vaildaily.comVail, CO Colorado
Chris Outcalt/Vail DailyEagle County planner Cliff Simonton, left, and project manager Karen Reid remove some rope that was marking a trail at the Eagle River Preserve. Simonton and Reid walked the preserve Friday to make sure it was to open to the public Saturday.
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VAIL VALLEY, Colorado The Eagle River Preserve in Edwards opens to the public Saturday. Its been a long time in the making. Weve been planning and talking and dreaming for years, said Karen Reid, project manager with the county. Reid and county planner Cliff Simonton walked the preserve Friday to make sure everything was ready before the gates to the 72-acre piece of land in Edwards open Saturday. The first phase of the three-phase project is what will open to public this weekend. The 30-acres opening Saturday are a great spot to enjoy some piece and quiet, Simonton said. The entrance to the preserve is on Highway 6 just west of the main Edwards intersection. 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. Its devoted to quiet, Simonton said. Officials talked about opening the preserve earlier but decided to wait until some of the trees grew in and the area looked a little more vibrant. We really wanted to have something for people to experience, Simonton said. The park will be open from dawn to dusk.The second half of the preserve is still being developed and will eventually include wetlands and trails. Because the land is under a conservation easement, the uses are restricted: buildings are limited and while paved trails and parking spaces are allowed and no public functions can be held on the land.The preserve land was purchased in 2005 for $12 million in a joint effort between Eagle County, the Vail Valley Foundation and the Eagle Valley Land Trust. Also, more than 1,200 individuals wrote checks to help buy the land, 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.Were delighted to be at this point in the evolution in the Eagle River Preserve as a community resource, said Cindy Cohagen, executive director of the Eagle Valley Land Trust. A formal ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the park is scheduled for June 10.Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or coutcalt@vaildaily.com.