Open Space boss chosen |

Open Space boss chosen

Jeremy Heiman

A new director has been selected for the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails program.

Dale Will, an attorney for the California Department of Natural Resources, will fill the position vacated with the resignation of Jane Ellen Hamilton last November.

Assistant County Manager Hilary Smith has assisted the Open Space Board in the absence of a director. Smith said Will, who has not yet signed a contract with the county, plans to move to the area to take the position some time in the first half of May.

Via a speaker telephone, Will participated in a board discussion Thursday about going to county voters to reauthorize the mil levy that supports the program.

Hamilton, who had led the department since 1995, resigned after the department went through a stormy period in which the county commissioners attempted to bring the director’s job more directly under the county manager’s control. Hamilton’s annual salary was $65,000.

Since its inception, the program has protected more than 6,000 acres of open space, either through easements or outright purchase, under Hamilton’s direction. It has acquired more than 15 miles of trail easements and a number of river access points and public lands access points.

Open Space money was essential in purchasing a trail easement on the former Rio Grande Railroad right of way within the county for the Roaring Fork Railroad Holding Authority. The Open Space Board hopes to start work on a trail in the rail corridor this year.

County officials said more information on Will’s appointment will be released next week, when a contract is in place.

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