5 Great Feats of Jeffco Preservation

There are many ways to celebrate Earth Day on April 22. One way is to savor the land preservation achievements of Jeffco Open Space.

From the many preservation feats in our 42 years, we mark five that are each great in their own way. Our first acquisition was completed a little more than 3 years after Earth Day’s debut on April 22, 1970. In total, we’ve preserved 53,617 acres, including land that has been conveyed to cities, and park and recreation districts for their management. Today Jeffco Open Space manages 43,675 acres—about the same land area as Washington, D.C. With the support of residents who want us to continue preserving land, we will continue to work with willing sellers and donors of properties that meet the criteria of our Master Plan.

  1. First Acquisition – Nelson Hogback

Dinosaur Ridge 3We acquired this 69-acre parcel for $155,000 in 1973, the first year of our agency. The property is where Alameda Parkway crosses present-day C-470 near Dinosaur Ridge. After the Nelson property purchase we acquired 1,490 acres on Mount Falcon west of Morrison, and Hiwan Homestead, a historic estate in Evergreen. The Nelson property acquisition was the genesis of today’s highly popular, 2,363-acre Matthews/Winters Park.

  1. Most Recent Acquisition – Blue Mountain and Deer Creek Parcels

Golden Gate Canyon State Park 2Our latest acquisition, from the State Land Board of Land Commissioners, brought two properties into our fold. On April 2, 2014, we acquired 800 acres for $3 million in sales tax revenue. The two properties include Blue Mountain, a scenic, rugged parcel of 640 acres adjacent to Golden Gate Canyon State Park and existing conservation easements; and 160 acres bordered by Hildebrand Ranch Park and the Lockheed Martin campus in the Deer Creek area.

  1. Largest Acquisition – Goltra Property, present-day Centennial Cone Park

Centennial Cone Park, Travois TrailIn Spring 1999, Jeffco Open Space purchased 2,899 acres from Mountain Ridge, LLC for $18.8 million, marking the largest acquisition in our history and the biggest stride in opening the Centennial Cone Park. The park area was once a magnet for early hunter-gatherers traveling through the Clear Creek Canyon corridor. Today it’s a magnet for recreation, appreciated for its wide-open views and a trail system that allows for a 12.1-mile loop.

  1. The Power of Partnership – Rocky Flats Section 16

Rocky FlatsThe Rocky Flats Plant was a United States nuclear weapons production facility north of Golden that operated from 1952 to 1992. The facility was shuttered for violations of environmental law, and the property became an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund cleanup site. In July 2012, we sealed a deal with the City of Boulder and Boulder County governments to acquire 617 acres of Rocky Flats land, known as Section 16, and turn it over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for inclusion in an expanded Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge. The land, in northern Jefferson County near the intersection of State Highways 93 and 72, provides a critical link for wildlife, connecting the grasslands, shrublands and wetlands of the Refuge with the foothills.

  1. A Park From Many Parts – North Table Mountain

North Table overviewThe creation of a park that visitors can enjoy for generations is rarely the result of one stroke of the pen. We typically piece parks together over time from land chunks and wedges that border each other. The evolution of North Table Mountain Park is a great example. Because of eight transactions from 1998 to 2002, a mesa once largely owned by mining corporations and Coors Brewing Company became 1,969 acres of parkland with a trail system of 15 miles.


for more information, contact Thea Rock, Communications Manager, Jefferson County Open Space

trock@jeffco.us or 303-271-5902

About the author /

Michelle Poolet

PLAN Jeffco Board Member. Michelle Poolet is a relative new-comer to PLAN Jeffco, but not to the world of volunteer work. She has been on the Board of PLAN Jeffco since 2008, and in that time has worked hard to ensure the success of various PJ conferences and events. She is part of the PLAN Jeffco web content subcommittee, and liaisons between the PLAN Jeffco Board and the Open Space Advisory Committee. Her “day job” is as President and Chief Enterprise Architect of Mount Vernon Data Systems, a BBB A+ accredited database consulting company. Michelle lives on Lookout Mountain, in unincorporated JeffCo, with her best pal, TessaRose the collie, with whom she enjoys daily trekking in the forests.

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