Pitco set to buy 249 acres for $5.3 million
Pitkin County today approved a contract with the Milvenan Family First Limited Partnership to purchase 249 acres of critical elk habitat on the Seven Star Ranch.The Milvenan Family Partnership has agreed to sell the land at its assessed valuation of $5.34 million. Pitkin County wildlife officer Jonathan Lowsky said the purchase “will benefit songbirds, mule deer, raptors and mountain lions as well as ensure the long-term integrity of one of the most critical elk migration corridors in the upper Roaring Fork watershed.”To date, Pitkin County and Snowmass Village have invested significant sums to preserve the property surrounding Brush Creek.In 1995, the county paid $1.6 million for 205 acres of the Seven Star property. In 1996, the county spent $500,000 to preserve 99 acres of the Droste property. Most recently, in 1999, the county and town jointly paid $7.5 million to the Droste family for a 504-acre conservation easement.If the deal approved yesterday goes through, a total of 1,057 acres will have been protected at a cost of $14.94 million. “This deal cements the conservation value of those previous purchases,” said Dale Will, director of the county’s open space and trails program. It connects directly to the low-density Owl Creek subdivision, allowing the Burnt Mountain elk herd to access its winter range in Wildcat.The purchase, which is scheduled for final approval on Aug. 11, is the largest single purchase undertaken solely by the county open space program.”The fact that this land is also exceptionally beautiful and highly visible from Snowmass helped us make the tough decision to allocate the funds necessary to preserve it,” said open space board member Rick NeileyAdded Snowmass Village Mayor T. Michael Manchester, “The Seven Star parcel has always been a critical part of the entrance to Snowmass. We are very excited to preserve additional habitat and open space in this area, as well as the character of our community. “Kudos to the open space program for making this happen.”Unlike much of the Brush Creek conservation lands that are held as easements, this purchase is a full fee interest, allowing the open space program unfettered ability to promote the habitat value of the land.
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