More Midvalley Open Space to be Protected

The Town of Basalt and Pitkin County Open Space and Trails Board (OST) are partnering to protect more open space in the midvalley.  Sopris Chase as the property is sometimes called, contains 25 acres and is located just west of the Basalt High School campus.  It also abuts the BLM’s Light Hill and the Grange Family Ranch, which was placed under conservation easements in 2007 and 2008.  The land has been placed under contract with closing scheduled for August of this year.


The northern 6 acres of Sopris Chase includes agricultural land that holds the potential for a community focused agricultural project, such as a community garden or Community Supported Agriculture.  The southern portion reaches up the flanks of Light Hill and provides winter range for Mule Deer and Elk.  An informal hiking trail also crosses the southern reaches of the property. 


Basalt Town Council will consider appropriating $400,000 for this land acquisition at their Regular Meeting on Tuesday June 22nd at 5:00 PM. “ We are pleased to partner with Pitkin County Open Space and Trails  to complete a comprehensive agricultural conservation for this beautiful part of our valley” says Leroy Duroux, Mayor of Basalt.


On Wednesday, the Pitkin County Commissioners will consider their share of the purchase price, $1,100,000 at their regular meeting Wednesday, June 23rd.  The Pitkin County Open Space and Trails Board unanimously recommended funding $1,100,000 from the Open Space fund for this purchase.    “We are thrilled to partner with Basalt again to preserve another important piece of agricultural land in the midvalley”, states Tim McFlynn, chair of the Open Space and Trails Board. 


Basalt and Pitkin County Open Space and Trails enjoy a long history of successful partnership in land conservation.  Other open space and trail projects that these two organization have collaborated on include: the Emma Open Space, Emma Townsite Property (aka the Minney Property), Grange Ranch, Fisherman’s Park (aka Meyers Park) and the Emma Trail.  


If purchased for public open space, the two local governments will collaborate in drafting a management plan for the property, to define future recreational and agricultural uses, and will share the responsibility of managing the property equally.  The Town and County also plan to convey a conservation easement to Aspen Valley Land Trust to further ensure that it will remain open space. 


For further information contact:

Dale Will, Director, Pitkin County Open Space and Trails Program: 970/920-5203

Bill Kane, Basalt Town Manager: 970/927-4701

Posted on Monday, June 21, 2010