Town Jewel Protected Forever

Once slated as the site for a high rise hotel, The Bluff Park is now protected forever thanks to a conservation easement donated by San Isabel Land Protection Trust to Colorado Open Lands.

 

Bluff Photo - credit Bill Gillete

 Photo courtesy of Bill Gillette

In a historic moment, the deed of conservation easement was signed on August 28th by both organizations. “This is a significant milestone for Colorado conservation, for our land trust, and for the town of Westcliffe”, stated Larry Vickerman, Board President of San Isabel Land Protection Trust. “San Isabel is the first land trust in Colorado to donate a conservation easement and receive the financial benefit of the Colorado Conservation Easement Tax credit since an amendment to the Colorado Tax Credit regulations was made and passed in July. Now, one of the most treasured lands and views in Custer County is protected, forever.”

larry and tony

Tony Caligiuri of Colorado Open Lands (left) and Larry Vickerman, San Isabel Land Protection Trust (right) sign the deed of conservation easement on the Bluff Park

Proceeds from the sale of the tax credits will go toward the future expansion of San Isabel’s parks and trails program and their ranchland conservation program.

In June 2014, the Bluff Park was donated to San Isabel by Richard and Audrey Stermer, whose vision for The Bluff was to preserve it as a public park with open views across the Wet Mountain Valley forever. Following the donation, San Isabel began the process of donating a conservation easement to Colorado Open Lands who is one of Colorado’s largest land trusts, having protected nearly 400,000 acres across the state.

“The Bluff Park”, said Colorado Open Lands President Tony Caligiuri, “is a terrific property that provides a spectacular view and public benefit for the town of Westcliffe, which made it particularly important to protect for residents and visitors alike.  Colorado Open Lands is delighted to partner with San Isabel Land Protection Trust to advance our shared goals of permanent protection of Colorado’s treasured landscapes such as this one.”

 MG 2158

Photo courtesy of Preservation Photography

Providing an unobstructed window into one of the most beautiful valley’s in Colorado, The Bluff Park is located at the west end of Main Street in Westcliffe, Colorado, and is one block west from the heart of the downtown district. The Bluff Park hosts the annual High Mountain Hay Fever Bluegrass Festival, weddings, and other recreational activities throughout the year.

The Bluff Park is a partnership between San Isabel and the Town of Westcliffe. The Town maintains the park as well as owns the parcels adjoining to the north and south. All together, the Bluff Park covers about 10 acres.

Formed in 1981, Colorado Open Lands (COL) has helped conserve over 400,000 acres in Colorado. COL’s commitment is to conserve the state’s open lands forever through creative conservation techniques and statewide conservation leadership. Today, COL stewards 297 conservation easements and by 2025, is committed to conserving 800,000 acres encompassing substantial wetlands, water, habitat and agriculture.

San Isabel Land Protection Trust is a nationally accredited 501(c)3 non-profit, non-political conservation organization working with landowners to protect their land and water in Custer, Fremont, Pueblo, and Huerfano Counties. Since 1995, San Isabel has protected nearly 40,000 acres including 174 water rights, and approximately 61 miles of stream frontage with 129 conservation easements that permanently protect precious land, water, and wildlife.

To join San Isabel or to learn more, please visit: www.sanisabel.org

 

Kristie Nackord

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  • “Placing a conservation easement on our family ranch assures us of what WON'T happen to the land and water when we're gone.”

    – Bill Donley, fourth-generation rancher