County OKs $3 million easement for Harvey
Aspen Times Staff Writer
The Pitkin County commissioners unanimously agreed yesterday to approve the purchase of a $3 million conservation easement on the Harvey Ranch in the Snowmass-Capitol Creek area.
On Oct. 6, Connie Harvey, a longtime Pitkin County resident and outspoken environmentalist, signed a contract with the county open space board for the sale of an 1,840-acre conservation easement on her land.
The board yesterday agreed to fund the sale, which, if it goes through, will ensure that the vast majority of the Harvey Ranch will remain undeveloped as habitat, agricultural land and scenic open space.
As part of the agreement, the county will allow Harvey six new building lots, in addition to an existing two, on a 524-acre section. The lots can be used or sold at Harvey’s discretion.
The agreement follows the groundbreaking purchase of a conservation easement on the adjacent Child ranch, potentially establishing a total of 3,320 contiguously protected acres in the Snowmass-Capitol Creek area.
After the meeting, a jubilant Harvey said she took inspiration from the easement of the Child ranch.
“We’ve been trying to do this for years,” she said. “After the county approved the Child ranch we felt much better about pushing on. They had a good model, and so did we, so this gave me confidence.”
Dale Will, county open space director, presented the agreement to the commissioners. He said the county’s approval indicates the Child easement was a crucial first step in a larger conservation effort.
“This is a huge deal for the open space program,” Will said. “We’ve been dreaming of preserving the large parcels in Snowmass-Capitol Creek since our inception in 1990. We hope this is the second step in the process of the conservation of the entire area.”
The two remaining parcels in the area belong to Jim McBride and the St. Benedict’s Monastery.
McBride attended the meeting. “I am excited about the overall concept of preservation,” he told the commissioners. “This easement is compatible with the important work the [county] has been doing for a long time.”
[Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org]
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