1,400 acres get protection near Crystal River
More than 1,400 contiguous acres between the Crystal River and protected lands around Mount Sopris will be preserved, Pitkin County announced Tuesday.The complex dealings, part of a seven-year process, involved the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails program, the Conservation Fund, landowners Richard and Debbie Jelinek and the Aspen Valley Land Trust. In simultaneous closings yesterday, Open Space and Trails and the Aspen Valley Land Trust took control of the entire parcel. The Jelineks granted a conservation easement on 533 acres of their Crystal Island Ranch to Pitkin County and the Aspen Valley Land Trust. Additionally, AVLT conveyed a partial interest in existing Crystal Island Ranch easements on an additional 434 acres to Pitkin County.Meanwhile, the Conservation Fund granted an 84-acre conservation easement to Pitkin County and AVLT, a trail easement along the old Crystal River railroad grade to Pitkin County, and the remainder interest to Crystal Island Ranch. And finally the Conservation Fund conveyed ownership of an additional 87 acres between Highway 133 and the Crystal River to Pitkin County. The closings Tuesday added to several hundred acres of open space preservation that have been secured on the two properties since 1998. The 87-acre parcel from the Conservation Fund has nearly two and a half miles of river frontage and will now become an open space preserve to rival such Pitkin County jewels as North Star on the Roaring Fork River or Filoha Meadows farther up the Crystal River Valley.The cost to the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails program was $4,375,000.
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