July 31, 2017

Hardscrabble Ranch Open Space Acquired In Colorado

Eagle County, Col. – Eagle County Open Space is pleased to announce that The Conservation Fund successfully completed the purchase of the 1,540-acre Hardscrabble Ranch today from Brue Capital Partners.

Today’s purchase places the Hardscrabble Ranch on the path to permanent protection through a conservation easement to be held by the Eagle Valley Land Trust, and ultimate ownership by Eagle County's Open Space Program.  

“We’d like to thank everyone who helped get this project across the finish line,” said Commissioner Kathy Chandler-Henry. “Today is an exciting day in Eagle County!”

The acquisition took more than a year to pull together and required significant negotiations, especially with regard to water rights that date back to the 1880s. The Conservation Fund, a national land conservation organization with an office in Boulder, took the lead in negotiating this transaction. 

“We have been involved in the Brush Creek valley for over 20 years,” said Tom Macy, Western Representative for The Conservation Fund. “We acquired the Hardscrabble Ranch because of the overwhelming support from local residents, and the extraordinary leadership of the Eagle County Commissioners, the Town of Eagle and Eagle Ranch.  This is a remarkable example of government and non-profit organizations working collaboratively with the private sector.”

The ranch will be managed for local agricultural production, protection of west slope water rights, critical wildlife habitat and preservation of spectacular scenic vistas.  Public recreation will be added in the coming years, including multiple-use trail connections to adjacent BLM land, a paved trail connection between Salt Creek and the Town of Eagle, and catch and release fishing access to Brush Creek. 

Town of Eagle Mayor Anne McKibbin said the town is very excited to see this once-in-a-lifetime open space acquisition reaching fruition. 

District Wildlife Manager Craig Wescoatt emphasized that “Hardscrabble Ranch Open Space provides a variety of habitats for a diversity of species from aquatic to large mammals.” 

Funding for the project includes a $3.1 million grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO).  The Hardscrabble Project was the only project to receive funding from GOCO in this year’s “Protect Initiative” grant cycle.  

“Protecting Hardscrabble will benefit both the people and wildlife of Colorado into the future, and GOCO is proud to have invested in the conservation of this property,” said GOCO Executive Director Chris Castilian. 

According to Jim Daus, EVLT Executive Director, “Stunning scenery, anticipated public recreation amenities, an important fishery and wildlife habitat, and a vital elk and deer migration route, make this project a comprehensive win for all of Colorado.”

Chad Brue of Brue Capital Partners stated, “Like all of our Brush Creek neighbors and people who love the rural charm of the area, there is a great satisfaction in knowing that Hardscrabble Ranch won’t be developed, rather preserved in perpetuity as beautiful and historic open space."

Toby Sprunk | Eagle County | 970-328-8698 | toby.sprunk@eaglecounty.us
Ann Simonelli | The Conservation Fund | 703-908-5809 | asimonelli@conservationfund.org