Saving the Slate River Valley

Saving the Slate River Valley

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Photo: Xavier Fane

Thanks to a $406,000 grant from the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) board awarded in June, the Crested Butte Land Trust was able to purchase 100 acres in the Slate River Valley.

Situated near the towns of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte, the Slate River Valley parcel stretches from the top of Smith Hill towards Gunsight Bridge and the valley floor below, affording breathtaking views of Paradise Divide. The property also serves as important grazing lands for a local ranching operation.

Hikers, bikers and equestrians will be able to access the property via a new trail connecting Lupine and Lower Loop trails.  The new trail will be designed and managed for the protection of wildlife habitat, historic grazing needs, and for enhanced public recreational access.

“This is an incredible amenity for our community and for the state of Colorado,” said Kiley Flint, Land Trust Board Vice-President.  “We are thankful for everyone who came together and generously helped us accomplish this acquisition.”

The Crested Butte Land Trust worked with Coralhouse to preserve the property, with assistance from other funding partners including many generous individuals, the Town of Crested Butte, The Conservation Fund, and the Gunnison Valley Land Preservation Fund.

Resplendent with large stands of aspen, the land is particularly significant because it links the Gunsight Bridge natural area with the Kochevar open space.  Additionally, this 100-acre property is home to several seeps and springs, critically important for wildlife in arid Western Colorado.

“The bridge loan to the Crested Butte Land Trust is the first use of our Land Trust Loan Program in Colorado. We are thrilled to help the Land Trust complete the latest in a string of impressive projects in the Slate River Valley,” said Christine Quinlan of The Conservation Fund’s Colorado office.

GOCO invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers and open spaces. GOCO’s independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts, and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created by voters in 1992, GOCO has funded more than 3,500 projects in all 64 counties without any tax dollar support. Gunnison County projects have received more than $30.2 million in GOCO grants. Visit goco.org for more information.

Photo: Xavier Fane
Photo: Xavier Fane