Three rural sites gain protection |

Three rural sites gain protection

The Pitkin County commissioners gave final approval yesterday to a complex purchasing agreement that will eventually lead to three locations in the county being reserved as open space.The easements are a joint venture between Pitkin County and the Aspen Valley Land Trust, a nonprofit organization that works to protect rural land against private development. Through the joint venture, a conservation easement will be placed on the four-acre Roush property adjacent to the Northstar preserve east of Aspen, the 102-acre Danciger working ranch off Prince Creek Road above Carbondale and the 170-acre Nieslanik property on East Mesa above Carbondale.The Aspen Valley Land Trust owns the Roush site. In a complicated agreement, the trust will take the revenue from the county’s easement of the property to secure the easement of the Nieslanik property.Pitkin County Open Space director Dale Will said the Roush property is crucial to the county due to its proximity to the county’s Northstar conservation easement.”Four acres doesn’t sound like a lot but it’s critical because the Northstar property was jointly acquired by the county and the city of Aspen in the form of a $6 million conservation easement. So it’s a crucial aspect to an effort which as been going on for years,” Will said.The county will purchase the Roush property for $500,000, well below the property’s estimated $1.8 million free-market price. The Danciger easement will cost the county $140,000 and the Nieslanik property costs $1 million, $750,000 of which will be supplied by the Aspen Valley Land Trust. The remaining $250,000 will come from money from the Roush easement.Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is

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