CDLT not responsible for B&B trouble
Please allow me to clarify what Continental Divide Land Trust really said when we were asked by Summit County Government to hold a conservation easement on the entire B&B Mines property. We said we would strongly consider it, if it was deemed appropriate by the other entities. One might infer from reading the recent article, “B&B deal on the rocks,” that CDLT is somehow partially responsible for the open space purchase being in trouble, because our organization wouldn’t accept a conservation easement donation on the property. That is not true.It is also a mistake to infer that the deal might fall through because CDLT wouldn’t or couldn’t “manage” the property. Land Trusts which hold conservation easements don’t “manage” the property.Conservation easements are complicated and technical legal documents that forever protect conservation values on a piece of property. These will vary since each property is unique, but might include scenic views, wildlife habitat, wetlands, water rights, agricultural use, unique natural features, passive recreation, or some combination of the above. When CDLT agrees to accept the donation of a conservation easement, we accept the responsibility to ensure that those conservation values are protected and upheld – forever. If there are changes to the property that are detrimental to the conservation values, then the Land Trust must compel the landowner to correct the problem, including seeking court action as a last resort. The public entrusts the Land Trust to protect those conservation values that we all benefit from.It is important to note that CDLT has already agreed to accept a conservation easement on a portion of the B&B Mines land, the 134 acre Cobb and Ebert Placer, which is the most ecologically sensitive and pristine part of the B&B lands.CDLT agrees with Summit County and the Town of Breckenridge that a conservation easement over the entire B&B land is not appropriate. With the extensive public use on the land, including motorized trails, and potential uses such as groomed Nordic trails, warming huts, ski huts, water treatment plants, and reclamation sites, the potential exists for conflict between protecting the conservation values of the land and the community’s desire to utilize the B&B property for a wide variety of activities.As advocates and stewards for the preservation of natural lands in our community, CDLT is very interested in seeing the B&B open space protection effort come to a successful conclusion.
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