GOCO awards Summit County $860,000 to conserve the Knorr Ranch | SummitDaily.com

GOCO awards Summit County $860,000 to conserve the Knorr Ranch

Summit Daily staff report

View of Green Mountain Reservoir on the Knorr Lakeside Ranch Wednesday, Aug. 15, near Heeney. The county worked to conserve 1,125 acres of the ranch bordering the Arapaho National Forest.

The Great Outdoors Colorado Board announced this week that Summit County is the recipient of a grant worth more than $860,000 to permanently conserve the Knorr Ranch.

The grant is part of GOCO's open space grant program, which funds both private and public land conservation projects meant to protect wildlife habitats, safeguard the state's water supply and watersheds, sustain local agriculture and provide recreationists places to play.

Summit County and Colorado Cattlemen's Agricultural Land Trust partnered with neighboring landowners from the Knorr Ranch Conservation Partnership, and placed 1,123 acres of lakefront ranchland into a conservation easement. Knorr Ranch, located in the Lower Blue River Valley near Green Mountain Reservoir, was one of the largest remaining private landholdings in the country.

The property makes up a significant portion of the reservoir's shoreline, and is composed primarily of irrigated hay meadows, sagebrush uplands and 50 acres of wetlands. Summit County will lease 505 acres of the land for grazing and hay production, in keeping with the agricultural heritage of the area. The land's potential for future public access and recreation hasn't yet been determined.

Great Outdoors Colorado has invested $7.6 million in Summit County projects and has conserved more than 1,600 acres of land within the county. Funding from GOCO has supported Dillon Valley Elementary School's playground, the Golden Horseshoe and Blue River trails, Peabody Nordic and Backcountry Recreation Area, and the Doig Homestead Open Space and Cow Camp Open Space among others.

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