Land purchase in Gilpin County, Colorado, will reduce fragmentation of National Forest System lands, says US Forest Service; deal with private landowner funded through Land and Water Conservation Fund
February 11, 2014
– The Boulder Ranger District is pleased to announce the purchase of 823 acres near the East Portal and the Rollins Pass Road in Gilpin County. This land was purchased from the Toll family in a transaction negotiated by The Conservation Fund on behalf of the U.S. Forest Service. The purchase was made possible through the use of Land and Water Conservation Funds, America’s premier conservation program.
The purchase of these 823 acres makes possible the conservation of open space and reduces fragmentation of National Forest System lands. It safeguards the James Peak Wilderness by consolidating federal land ownership within 0.25 mile of the wilderness boundary, preventing future adjacent development. It also improves protection of 0.5 mile of South Boulder Creek, offering security to the water conveyance that delivers municipal water to residents of the City of Denver.
“The inclusion of these lands within the National Forest presents us with opportunities to restore and protect natural resource values such as habitat for plant, animal, and aquatic species. Additionally, we will be able to improve management of the recreational opportunities along Rollins Pass Road and adjacent to the James Peak Wilderness,” said Sylvia Clark, Boulder District Ranger.
“This purchase enhances access to the National Forest and wilderness in an area that is enjoyed by thousands of summer and winter recreationists from Boulder, Denver, and from out of state,” said Christine Quinlan, Western Field Representative for The Conservation Fund. “We’re extremely grateful to members of the Colorado Congressional Delegation for their support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and to the Toll family for their good stewardship of this land for four generations.”
The property includes riparian and fish habitat as well as habitat for threatened Canada lynx and the Northern American wolverine, a candidate species for federal listing. Other species that stand to benefit include American marten, pygmy shrew, a variety of birds and several rare plant species.