1800 Homes or 1600 acres of Open Space and a Great Trail for 50+'rs?
Our county (Douglas County, CO) has, over the past few years been either the fastest growing county (in population) or near the top in the entire US of A. As a result there has been a tremendous building boom and pressure on open lands within the primarily agricultural, national forest and cattle county.
Several years ago, the voters in the county imposed upon themselves an "open space" tax, as did the voters in the various small cities within the county. In addition, all of the profits from the Colorado Lottery have been designated for open space and similar projects. So, literally 10's of thousands of acres of open space have been preserved through land purchases, agricultural easements and nature conservancy trusts.
Recently, there was a 1,500 acre area near my home which was to have been developed with 1,800 houses. However, the city of Castle Rock and Douglas County were able to purchase the land for 11 million dollars, and got an additional 100 acres donated from a neighboring development.
So, it is now called the Hidden Mesa Open Space, and it just opened 2 weeks ago.
There is a wonderful mtn bike trail which I took for the first time today. This trail has a number of "technical" sections on it, and some very steep parts. It took me almost 2 hours to go the first 3 miles, but, then , I am not much of a mtn biker.
But, WOW! What a high. I was the only person I saw for 3 hours. My own $11,000,000.00 estate for that 3 hours! Loved that mtn biking.
From the mesa, you can see Pikes Peak 30 miles southwest, Devil's Head and Mt. Evans 25 miles to the west and Long's Peak 70 miles northwest.
The area is home to deer and pronghorn antelope. I saw only tracks. There are about 4 million prairie "dogs" and they have erected telephone pole like devices to provide perches for raptors to see and consume the prairie dogs. I saw one raptor sitting surveying the mid-morning's meal. And I saw one lizard, and a lot of bunnies.
Here are is a map and some pictures from my little jaunt today - which amounted to 8 miles, but seemed like 30.
The mesa I biked up is in the background. This is the trailhead.
DOUGLAS COUNTY OPEN SPACE MAP