Commissioners bless leases for Glassier Open Space
Pitkin County commissioners Wednesday approved four of six leases for agriculture use at the Glassier Open Space while agreeing to modify two other leases so they can accommodate parking for horse trailers and other vehicles.
Members of the Roaring Fork Valley Horse Council played a strong role in impacting the commissioners’ decision regarding the parking. While not leaseholders, the horse users — as well as hikers and mountain bikers — would use the open space to access The Crown, which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
But before signing off on the leases, which were approved in two separate motions, commissioners tangled over the process. Commissioner Michael Owsley said that by bowing to the equestrians, the entire process, which has lasted about a year, was being undermined.
“We’re going to rethink a year’s worth of work because of a lobby in front of us that wants more parking,” he said. “That’s not fair to everybody.”
But the three other commissioners in attendance, Steve Child, George Newman and Rachel Richards, said the equestrians’ needs shouldn’t be ignored.
At the end, they hammered out their differences, as commissioners OK’d the leases for Alec Parker, who will operate an area for grazing, hay production and possibly other crops; Rory Cerise, who also will have a grazing and hay production operation; The Glassier Agricultural Cooperative, which will engage in fruit-tree production, vegetables, flowers and other uses; and the Carricarte family, who will do vegetable production, fruit trees and raise small animals.
Those leases will draw anywhere from $18.50 to $25 per acre.
In a separate motion, initiated by Richards, the commissioners approved the leases for two other parcels, with the condition that more parking space could be added to them.
Pitkin and Eagle counties bought the Glassier Open Space for $5.9 million, aided by a $1 million grant by Great Outdoors Colorado. The two counties split the remaining amount, each paying $2.45 million.
Pitkin County is overseeing management of the land. In January, the county adopted a management plan for the 137-acre ranch, located on Hooks Spur Road in the Emma area.
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The blizzards of January and February seem like distant dreams to Colorado water managers. What started as a promising year for water supply — with above-average snowpack as of April 1 — ended Sept. 30 with the entire state in some level of drought.