Open Space Protection

Open Space and Trails 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.

Acquisitions


To date, close to 16,000 acres of open space are protected through land acquisitions, conservation easement donations, access easements, and in partnerships with other agencies. Since 1995, Open Space and Trails has made 288 property acquisitions and worked with over 200 landowners to preserve their properties as a legacy for present and future generations.

View a complete list of open space acquisitions (pdf) the Open Space and Trails Department has completed since 1985.

OSAC

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

Funding


Open space acquisitions are 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.


Picture of wildflower meadow
For inquiries and information about acquisitions, contact:
Katherine King, Open Space & Trails
970-668-4061, Katherine.King@SummitCountyCO.gov
Picture of aspen trees in fall