State seeks big picture on open space |

State seeks big picture on open space

Julie Sutor
Brad Odekirk/Special to the DailyThe lottery-funded Greater Outdoors Colorado, at the request of Gov. Bill Owens, has agreed to coordinate an effort to inventory and map all the state's protected open space, including national forest land like this near Loveland Pass.

DENVER – Little else embodies Colorado like its open spaces.Yet for all its forests, mountains, rivers, canyons and prairies, no one has a real handle on how much protected land there is, nor how the various pieces and parcels match up.

So, the lottery-funded Great Outdoors Colorado, at the request of Governor Bill Owens, has agreed to inventory and map all the state’s protected open space.The project will provide a depth of information not previously gathered by any single entity, including: data about the ownership and management of protected lands from federal and state agencies, local governments and conservation organizations.

“People on all levels of conservation in the state really see the value of this,” said Todd Robertson, Summit County’s open space and trails director. “Say you want to protect the Blue River from the headwater to the confluence of the Colorado. Right now, I don’t have an easy way to access what’s been protected in Grand County. Most political boundaries don’t follow hydrological boundaries.” Great Outdoors Colorado will contract with Colorado State University’s Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory to coordinate the project. Officials expect the mapping to take two years and cost between $200,000 and $350,000.

Great Outdoors Colorado has awarded more than $236 million in lottery proceeds for the protection of open space since 1994.Vail, Colorado

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