Small parcels may be sold to cover B&B Mine costs |

Small parcels may be sold to cover B&B Mine costs

Christine McManus

BRECKENRIDGE – County and Breckenridge planners who are working on the largest open space acquisition ever in Summit County have identified several potentially developable sections of the $9 million plus, 1,840-acre B&B Mines property.As one of the possible ways to defray the big price tag, the parcels could be sold for development.The backcountry protection purchase – located southwest of Breckenridge off County Road 3 – is scheduled to close June 30.Since December 2001, officials have been scraping together ideas to raise more money for the purchase and cleanup of the historic, trail-laden open space.Summit County has saved up for a portion of its $4.5 million share. Breckenridge Town Council is considering raising its share by placing a bond issue before voters in April.One section of the B&B Mine that could be resold for development would be up to 10 acres on the Peabody Placer near Gold Run Gulch, near the town limits, for up to three homes.Another section that might be sold for development would be 15 acres on the western end of the Williams Placer for two homes.Once the B&B Mine deal goes through, another section that planners recommended for resale and development is 80 acres for four homes in French Gulch between the Wellington Oro mine and Lincoln townsite.Summit County Commissioners said they did not want that site resold.In addition to the $9 million purchase price split by Summit County and the town of Breckenridge, planners must figure out how much it will cost to clean up the Golden Horseshoe.Mine waste from the Wellington Oro Mine is polluting parts of French Creek.Clean-up cost estimates will be ready at the end of the month, said assistant county manager Sue Boyd.Preliminary estimates show it would cost at least $2 million in order for wildlife and aquatic life to thrive again. That number is being viewed as an upper limit cost.Local open space planners are working with state and federal officials to slightly ease the clean-up requirements because the property will be officially declared as open space.Much of the waste dates back decades. Clean-up requirements might be more stringent if the lands were developed.Other old mines facing clean-up action are the Royal Tiger and the Jessie.A number of residents have lived a rural life in rented cabins on the B&B property.Their days of simple living in shacks will come to an end in April. Many have said they know where they will go at the end of the winter, Boyd said.The lottery-funded Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) awarded a $500,000 grant to Summit County Open Space and Trails to help with the purchase.The grant will cover 70 percent of the cost to buy 156 acres in Upper French Gulch, northeast of Breckenridge.”This is the last pristine mountain river system in an area that was destroyed by dredge boat mining operations,” said Todd Robertson, county open space director. “The dredge boats stopped before they got that far.”The natural ecosystem provides habitat for the Colorado River cutthroat trout, a state special concern species.Ironically, once the tainted water coming from the Wellington Oro Mine is treated, a physical barrier will have to be put in French Creek to protect the cutthroats from other predating trout species.Currently, the polluted water protects other trout from swimming up stream.

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