Open Space Protection Program

The Summit County Open Space and Trails Department acquires lands to protect the scenic beauty, natural habitat, backcountry character and recreational opportunities of Summit County. Properties acquired by Summit County as open space are managed to protect their natural resource values while allowing for sustainable access and use.

Open Space Acquisitions

The open space program has protected close to 16,000 acres of land through acquisitions, conservation easement donations, access easements and partnerships with other agencies.

The open space protection program is funded through property tax mill levies approved by Summit County voters in 1993, 1999, 2003 and 2008. The Summit County Open Space Protection Plan - the guiding document for the program - was approved in late 1996.

The program has leveraged its funds at a 3:1 ratio with contributions from Great Outdoors Colorado, partnerships with towns and donations from private landowners. In other words, every $1 of open space funding has protected $3 worth of land. Landowners are paid fair market value for their properties, ensuring efficient use of public funds and fair compensation to property owners.

The Summit County Open Space Advisory Council (OSAC) provides oversight to the program and makes recommendations to the Summit Board of County Commissioners on open space purchases and management plans.

View a complete list of open space acquisitions (pdf) Summit County has completed since 1985.
Picture of wildflower meadow
Picture of aspen trees in fall