Summit County protected 136 acres of new open space in 2019 |

Summit County protected 136 acres of new open space in 2019

A mountain biker riders though Aspen Alley in Breckenridge. In 2019, Summit County protected open space and mitigated impacts from avalanches.
Callie Horwath / Special to the Daily

FRISCO — On Friday, Jan. 17, the Summit County Open Space and Trails Department reported that the county protected 136 acres of new open space, acquired trail easements and mitigated the effects of a historic avalanche cycle in 2019.

“We faced some highly unusual challenges in 2019 in the Open Space & Trails arena,” County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said in a statement. “Nevertheless, we had some great victories for natural resource conservation, outdoor recreation and river restoration.”

The county acquired five backcountry mining claims in the Snake River Basin, purchased 65 acres of land with the town of Breckenridge on the front side of Baldy Mountain, built a new 1.5 mile trail between Silverthorne and the Wildernest and Mesa Cortina neighborhoods along with the town of Silverthorne and the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. The county also completed a forest health and hazardous fuels reduction project on the Mesa Cortina Open Space and with the help of the Colorado State Forest Service, removed or stacked trees on 32 acres to reduce fuels adjacent to residential neighborhoods. 

Spring posed unique snow challenges as March avalanches deposited 23 debris piles on the Tenmile Canyon recpath. Debris clearing, cleanup and river bank stabilization cost a total of $80,000, with funds being contributed by the town of Frisco, the U.S. Forest Service and Copper Mountain Resort. Due to avalanche danger the Tenmile Canyon recpath is now closed all winter and the Swan Mountain Road recpath is closed to protect wildlife. 

In 2019, 261 volunteers donated 1,315 hours of time to the Summit County Open Space program to assist with these projects. 

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