Telluride to Purchase 100 Acres of Open Space Near Bear Creek Preserve
by Gus Jarvis
Feb 09, 2012 | 1212 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TELLURIDE – The Town of Telluride broadened its open space on Jan. 31 when members of Town Council unanimously approved the purchase of 13 mining claims equaling just over 100 acres of land located on the west side of Ballard Mountain, adjacent to the eastern boundary of the Bear Creek Preserve. The land includes the remnants of the historic Ballard House.

A closing date has ben set for April 30. The town is purchasing the claims from the San Miguel Conservation Foundation for $92,911. The SMCF acquired the properties from the Cooper Family Trust on Dec. 29, 2011 and offered them to the town for same price it paid.

Town of Telluride Program Manager Lance McDonald said the San Miguel County Assessor’s appraisal record states the valuation of the properties at $150,000. Funding for the purchase will come from the town’s Open Space Set Aside account, which currently has a fund balance of $632,071. McDonald also said the purchase price could be reduced to the town if San Miguel County approves a donation of $15,000 for the acquisition as well. (That donation has not yet been discussed in a public hearing before the San Miguel Board of County Commissioners.)

SMCF’s offer does not require Telluride to include the properties into the Bear Creek Conservation Easement, McDonald said, as placing an easement on the property could impede future boundary adjustments with the U.S. Forest Service. McDonald and town staff do, however, recommend the property be included in the Bear Creek Preserve at a later date and be managed as a “Zone 2” area, which is the most restrictive designation in the Bear Creek Preserve.

Including the properties into the Bear Creek Preserve would increase its overall size to 531 acres. For comparison purposes, the Valley Floor Open Space is 560 acres.

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