GOCO assists with county open space buy
SUMMIT COUNTY ” The Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board has awarded $171,450 to Summit County to assist with acquisition of the 27-acre Bashores parcel along Wildernest Road.
The Summit County Open Space and Trails program bought the property this spring for $335,000.
The GOCO funds will be used to replenish the county’s open space treasury.
The property maintains an undeveloped separator between Silverthorne and the Wildernest and Mesa Cortina neighborhoods.
It also protects view corridors and connects to two other properties to enhance wildlife habitat and migration corridors.
The Bashores property adjoins a 69-acre buffer of open space property owned by Summit County and a 26-acre open space property owned by Silverthorne.
Additionally, it enhances two significant trail systems. The parcel is visible from Interstate 70 and is the foreground for views of Buffalo Mountain and the Gore Range as people drive the westbound lanes on the Silverthorne Hill.
It includes riverine wetland habitat as well as a dense conifer-spruce forests, a lodgepole pine forest, sage and grass meadow and aspen forest.
A trail that provides a connection from the Wildernest area to Wildernest Road crosses the southeast corner of the property.
Summit County and other local entities attempted to acquire the property in 1999 when it was first listed for sale.
In February 2005, the owner agreed to sell the parcel at a reduced price if the closing could occur quickly.
With this significant drop in price, the property was susceptible to development interests, and the county had to act fast, Open Space and Trails manager Todd Robertson said at the time.
GOCO board members were impressed by the partnership that made the project a reality.
County Open Space resource manager Brian Lorch said Silverthorne, the Buffalo Mountain Metro District, the Mesa Cortina Property Owners Association, the Mesa Cortina Water and Sanitation District and the Cortina Ridge homeowners association contributed $63,000 toward the purchase.
The grant is from $8.2 million the GOCO Board awarded on Wednesday that will help protect more than 7,000 acres of open space and provide outdoor recreation projects in 31 counties across the state.
Fiscal year 2005, which ends this month, was a record grant year for GOCO with $97 million in awards.
The record spending plan was the result of the board providing $60 million for large-scale, multiyear projects with a focus on land preservation.
In all, this year’s grants will help preserve more than 91,000 acres. Dollars available for grant awards will be significantly less over the next several years because of this large investment, the board said.
A $30 million spending plan was approved for the new fiscal year.
Great Outdoors Colorado is the result of a citizens initiative passed in 1992. It receives up to half of lottery proceeds. Since 1994, GOCO has awarded $4.3 million for projects in Summit County.
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