County to add 60 acres to open space portfolio |

County to add 60 acres to open space portfolio

Jane Stebbins

BRECKENRIDGE – Summit County hopes to add another 60 acres to its open space portfolio with the acquisition of four parcels of land in three of the county’s three basins.

The largest of the parcels is a joint acquisition with the town of Breckenridge of five mining claims totalling 25.82 acres northeast of Mt. Guyot in the Upper Blue Basin. The purchase price is $38,730, or $1,500 per acre.

According to Todd Robertson, county director of open space, these parcels are the second-to-last piece of property in the South Fork of the Swan River to come under some kind of protection from development. Less than 10 years ago, several hundred acres of land in that valley was in the hands of private citizens. But U.S. Forest Service land exchanges, open space purchases and lands on which people defaulted on their taxes have conveyed the parcels to the county and Forest Service.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Robertson said. “We’re starting to see entire swaths of the backcountry being protected.”

The property is surrounded by national forest land, including land previously owned by Summit County and traded to the U.S. Forest Service as part of the Summit Land Exchange.

The second, 18.97-acre parcel is comprised of four mining claims between the summits of Peak 1 and Tenmile Peak in the Tenmile Basin. It’s surrounded by national forest land and county-owned mining claims. The county purchased the property for $15,176, or $800 an acre.

“There used to be about 1,200 to 1,400 acres of mining claims in Tenmile Canyon, a few of which stretched up toward Peak 1,” Robertson said. “Now, less than 100 acres in private claims remain. We’re starting to see the light at end of tunnel.”

A third acquisition involved the donation of 10.24 acres, included two mining claims in the Snake River. One is located northwest of Cooper Mountain in the Ruby Gulch watershed, and the second on the west side of Glacier Mountain south of Sts. John Creek. The Cooper Mountain property is surrounded by national forest land; the Glacier Mountain parcel is surrounded by national forest lands and county-owned mining tracts.

The fourth parcel is a 5.16-acre mining claim on the west side of Teller Mountain in the Deer Creek watershed of the Snake River Basin. The county negotiated the sale for $5,160, or $1,000 an acre.

The property, which is surrounded by national forest land and other county-owned mining claims, will be conserved as open space and might be conveyed to the Forest Service in a trade in the future.

Robertson said it was one of the more difficult pieces to acquire because, although the owners were willing to sell it, there were gaps in the documentation proving they owned it. Eventually, the county conducted a “quiet title action,” in which both parties met with a judge to conduct the transaction.

Jane Stebbins can be reached at 668-3998 ext. 228 or

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