Pitkin Co. receives $5M for open space | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin Co. receives $5M for open space

PITKIN COUNTY ” Great Outdoors Colorado, a conservation agency funded by state lottery coffers, on Monday awarded $5 million to Pitkin County Open Space and Trails.

The grant is part of more than $130 million Gov. Bill Ritter awarded to some 15 projects in the state.

“This is five times larger than any grant we’ve gotten to date,” said Dale Will, the county’s open space and trails director.

The money will go to six conservation efforts in the Crystal River Valley. About $2 million will go toward building a kayak access in Carbondale and paving the first five miles of the Crystal River bike trail out of Carbondale.

Other funds will go to open space purchases of conservation easements on two larger ranches along the Crystal River. The rest will help open space officials close the deal on two open space parcels near Redstone, including a historic hydroelectric plant and some 35 acres surrounding an ice-climbing route called “the Drool.”

Open space officials pursued the grant in conjunction with the Aspen Valley Land Trust and the town of Carbondale, with support from neighboring counties, Will said.

“It’s the result of extraordinary work by the staff,” Tim McFlynn, Pitkin County Open Space and Trails board chairman, said.

In his address, Ritter specifically mentioned his concern for protecting the rivers in Colorado, Will said. The governor also praised efforts to protect scenic areas, habitat and public recreation areas along the Crystal River corridor.

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