Eagle County Open Space and Eagle Valley Land Trust receive GOCO funding for local inholding project
by Bergen Tjossem
Dec. 11, 2019- Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) released its latest round of funding through their Open Space grant program this week. A local project spearheaded by Eagle County Open Space and the Eagle Valley Land Trust was selected for $700,000 of funding. The grant will facilitate the acquisition and conservation of The Ridgway Ranch in Eagle along Brush Creek Road, adding approximately 129 acres to the recently conserved Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space. The Ridgway Ranch includes roughly one mile of Brush Creek frontage and boasts local ecological highlights, such as an approximately 200-year-old stand of Gambrel Oaks and high quality wetlands. The full purchase price of the parcel is anticipated at $2,225,000.
“Ridgway Ranch is the heart of the Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space,” said Eagle Valley Land Trust Communications and Development Manager Bergen Tjossem. “Protecting this parcel for our community and wildlife is the realization of a conservation vision that has been in the works for decades.”
The successful application was a joint effort by Eagle County Open Space and the Eagle Valley Land Trust, with local support from other groups such as Colorado Parks and Wildlife and that organization’s Habitat Partnership Program, The Eagle Ranch Wildlife Committee, The Eagle County Historical Society, Eagle River Watershed Council, Eagle Valley Outdoor Movement, American Rivers, Haymeadow, Colorado State Extension Service, and the local chapter of Mule Deer Foundation. Colorado State Representative Dylan Roberts and the Town of Eagle also supported the joint application, as did the local Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office in Silt.
“Having thoughtful, generous, engaged partners and residents of Eagle County is what allowed this successful conservation project to come to fruition,” said Peter Suneson, Outreach and Education Specialist for Eagle County Open Space.
In addition to the grant, Eagle County Open Space was also a recipient of a Colorado Youth Corp Association grant for $15,200 for Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space. The grant will provide the funding for a crew of Colorado youth to spend two weeks on the ranch replacing barbed wire fence with wildlife-friendly fencing and creating trails to the adjacent public lands. Funds for this project were awarded by Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), which receives a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds, to the Colorado Youth Corps Association for use by accredited youth corps. The goal of the program is to employ youth and young adults throughout the state on critical outdoor recreation and land conservation projects in partnership with local governments and open space agencies.
To learn more about Eagle County Open Space programs and projects, visit www.eaglecounty.us/openspace or follow @ECopenspace on social media. To learn more about the Eagle Valley Land Trust, visit www.evlt.org or follow @eaglevalleylandtrust. Photos by Todd Winslow Pierce.