Land trusts, Crested Butte preserve open space | AspenTimes.com

Land trusts, Crested Butte preserve open space

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. – A national land trust has closed a deal on one of the largest conservation transactions in Crested Butte’s history, acquiring 313 acres of open space near the western Colorado town.

The Trust for Public Land completed the deal Wednesday on land owned by the Kochevar family since 1905. The family will retain 70 acres and protect the property through a conservation easement, which will prevent it from being developed.

The acquisition was financed in part by a $2 million grant from Great Outdoors Colorado, which uses revenue from the Colorado Lottery. The town of Crested Butte contributed another $1 million.

The conservation group and town said protection of the property will preserve views from the town, provide recreation and protect wildlife habitat.

“Preservation of this spectacular parcel will be recognized as a prudent decision for generations,” Mayor Leah Williams said.

The Trust for Public Land turned over 166 acres of the property to the town and will hold on to the other 147 acres until the town and Crested Butte Land Trust raise the money to buy them.

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Ann Johnson of the Crested Butte Land Trust said the Kochevar property adds to more than 1,000 acres the group has protected in the Slate River Valley and will provide hiking, skiing and biking trails.

The land trusts and town plan to apply for another $1 million state grant to acquire the rest of the family’s property. The partners have received a commitment of $100,000 from the Gunnison Land Preservation Board.

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