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Taylor City

Eagle Valley Land Trust often has the opportunity to visit remarkable open space properties in the more remote parts of Eagle County. Even with our commitment to conservation, our county-wide reach usually means that we don’t get a chance to observe a specific piece of property on a daily basis. One lucky person who has had that chance is Eagle County resident Marjorie Westermann. In the following, she describes the land around her home as only someone who has spent hundreds of hours interacting with the land could do.

In 2000, the future of the property was in doubt. Bogged down by litigation, Marjorie created her vision for the land and set about turning it into a reality. She wanted to live in the same house she’d lived in for over 20 years, protect the property from development, and ensure that the parcel did not end up with multiple owners. To meet those goals, she approached Eagle Valley Land Trust with the idea of selling a conservation easement at fair market value. The land trust partnered with Eagle River Watershed Council to raise $262,500 to put a conservation easement on the entire 62 acres. Great Outdoors Colorado, Natural Resource Damage Funds, and private funds all contributed financially.

The Westermann property has strong conservation values. Because the property borders Highway 24, Colorado residents and visitors are able to enjoy its natural beauty on a daily basis. As an in-holding (private property surrounded by national forest), potential development of this parcel would negatively affect the surrounding public lands. The permanent protection of this property helps ensure that development takes place in appropriate areas near existing towns.

The property serves to protect more than thirty acres of wetlands at the headwaters of the Eagle River, including several springs. The eastern portion of the parcel contains the historic remains of Taylor City, a 19th century mining town, and several spacious meadows interspersed among deep forest.

The property also provides excellent wildlife habitat. Over 50 bird species and 75 different wildflowers have been documented here, along with the usual complement of Rocky Mountain mammals.

The land remains in private ownership, and a stewardship fund has been created to ensure that the conservation values of the property remain undiminished.

I have lived on Tennessee Pass since 1978. I now have the opportunity to fulfill a dream by placing the entirety of Taylor Hill Placer under a conservation easement. I asked the Eagle Valley Land Trust to spearhead this preservation. The wetlands are a riparian paradise – home to busy beaver, muskrat, pine marten, ermine, mink and a host of birds including mallards, green-winged teal, lesser scaup, red-tail hawk, ptarmigan and owl. Until the ponds are snow-covered and frozen, brook trout look like a hailstorm at day’s end, catching bugs until dark when the bats take over. German brown trout swim gracefully in the ever-changing channels and chest-deep holes of pure streams. This is a watery landscape and feeding ground for elk and deer, where black bears are irregular visitors but still enjoy a drink. Coyotes howl from the abandoned railroad tracks across the meadow and fox are often seen playing, catching mice or looking in our windows.
— Marjorie Westermann

Read more about Taylor City in board president Dan Godec’s Trust Our Land column.

Things to do here:

Species you may see:

Elk
Black Bear
Pine Marten
Coyote
Waterfowl
Pine Marten
Beaver
Fox
Mule Deer

Photo Gallery

Conservation Easement Signed:
2003

Sustaining Council Level Underwriter:

Lands Protected:
61.72 acres

Conservation Values:
Scenic open space, wildife habitat

Public Access:
Not Permitted

Owner:
Marjorie Westermann

Click here to get an interactive look at our conserved land portfolio.