Breckenridge secures 17 acres near Cucumber Gulch for wildlife |

Breckenridge secures 17 acres near Cucumber Gulch for wildlife

Summit Daily/Eric Drummond

the Town of Breckenridge recently added 17 acres of protected open space to the Cucumber Gulch Preserve with the purchase of the MBJ land parcel for $1.65 million, town officials announced Tuesday.

“Our intent is to preserve (the parcel) as a wildlife movement corridor,” Breckenridge spokeswoman Kim DiLallo said.

With the addition of the MBJ parcel near the base of Peak 7, Breckenridge has now acquired more than 121 acres around the Cucumber Gulch Wetlands – an ecologically sensitive area and key wildlife habitat.

The purchase is part of an ongoing effort to dedicate the land around Cucumber Gulch as open space, protecting it from development.

“We are pleased to acquire this property and preserve this important wildlife corridor,” Mayor John Warner stated in a release from the town. “Preserving Cucumber Gulch is very important to protecting the local wildlife and Breckenridge’s unique character.”

Breckenridge bought the MBJ parcel in partnership with the Summit County Open Space and Trails Department, which covered $200,000 of the total cost of the parcel.

Cucumber Gulch has been one of the main focus areas of the Breckenridge Open Space Program, which provides funding for land purchases from a .5 percent sales tax approved by voters in the mid-1990s.

The 77-acre wetland area sits between downtown Breckenridge and the base of Peak 8 at the Breckenridge Ski Resort. The area, designated an Aquatic Resource of National Importance by the Environmental Protection Agency, is both a key source of pure water for Cucumber Creek and habitat for local wildlife, including moose, beaver and nearly 50 different bird species.

Its location, so close to town and the ski area and surrounded by a network of popular hiking, biking and Nordic trails, makes the Gulch particularly vulnerable to human interference.

The protected open space in and around the wetlands, which includes 56 acres dedicated by Vail Resorts, was dubbed “Cucumber Gulch Preserve” in 2007.

Breckenridge officials hope to eventually annex the area as part of the town, DiLallo said.

The MBJ parcel, purchased from a private party, is home to an important passageway for wildlife between the Gulch preserve and the Ten Mile Range.

The land is not currently used for recreational activities.

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